When Michelle Jones was a child, she was very shy. When her parents dropped her off at kindergarten, she wouldn’t let them leave. They had to wait until she got distracted before they could sneak off.
On another occasion, her father Dave dropped her off one morning. After a few hours, her mother Brenda began to wonder where her husband was so she walked over to the school. There, she found them sitting on the floor, doing a puzzle.
“She was shy for the longest time of her life and she just started to come out of her own shell,” said Dave during my visit to the Jones house Sunday evening. “She started to become a lady, she started to become an adult, mature. All of her life she was never selfish.”
Michelle Jones, 18, died in hospital after the car she was travelling in spun out of control and was struck by another vehicle on Highway 97A, 20 kilometres south of Sicamous on Thursday, Feb. 16 at around 4:30 p.m.
There were four people involved in the crash – two in each vehicle – and all were taken to Shuswap Lake General Hospital with undetermined injuries. All four people involved were from Revelstoke, RCMP said. The driver of the car was released from hospital and the condition of the other two people is not known.
It was in hospital that Jones died from her injuries, but not after fighting for her life for four hours, her mother said. “She died three times and they brought her back.”
Brenda and Dave rushed to hospital to see their daughter. “She was beautiful,” Brenda said. “When we saw her, her face was untouched, her skin was so soft and she was just sleeping and so peaceful. I just knew that was she was going to be with my mum and God wanted an angel.”
Following news of Michelle’s passing a memorial book signing was set up at the community centre Friday evening. A group of her friends were gathered and a book was set up for people to sign messages to Jones.
“Michelle was the most caring person I knew,” said her friend Christina Hui.
“She was always there if you needed to talk or needed someone to listen to you.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re really going to miss her so much.”
Michelle was shy but always had lots of friends, said her parents. She was very active and liked to golf, bike, fish, ski, skate, bowl and do all sorts of water sports. Last summer she bought herself a kayak and would go paddling on the lake listening to music.
She liked to sing and would spend lots of time in her room singing along on her karaoke machine. She was a hard worker who worked two jobs – at La Baguette during the day and at Zala’s in the evening. She bought everything with her own money, including her car.
In between she was getting ready for university and would also mow the neighbours’ lawns and babysit their kids.
“On Valentine’s she went over there and hid paper hearts for them,” said Dave. “Even after she died they were finding candies around the house.”
Added Brenda: “The little girl came over with a card today and she drew a picture on it. She said Michelle was an angel.”
She was recently accepted to Thompson Rivers University and she planned on becoming a pediatric nurse. She was saving up money for school. She also wanted to be a cake decorator on the side and she would make cakes for friends.
Her sister Amanda described Michelle’s personality as “bubbly.” She would burst out into giggles or flash a mischievous grin. Amanda’s memories of Michelle included going camping with her in the Kootenays last summer, despite Amanda’s sprained ankle.
“We would go out to the lake every day, lay on the beach, sun tan and talk about our futures,” Amanda said. “She was basically like my other half, we did everything together.”
The day Michelle died she was on her way to Enderby with a friend in order to keep her company on the drive. Brenda worried about the slippery roads but Michelle said they would be okay.
“She left and we hugged and said, ‘I love you,’” said Brenda. “Anytime she left, even to work, she always said ‘I love you.’ Any time we talked on the phone she would say, ‘I love you.’
“She was a well adjusted girl and she was full of love and knew she was loved by everybody.”
A celebration of Michelle’s life will be held at the community centre on Saturday, Mar. 3, at 1 p.m. The family is setting up a scholarship in her honour and is asking for donations in lieu of gifts or flowers.