1952 – 2016

RUMFORD — On Tuesday, June 7, Michele “Mikki” Cosgrove Swift of Poland passed peacefully while being held in the loving arms of her daughter and friend, Amie. Mikki died as she lived, with courage, grace and surrounded by love.

Mikki was born in Lewiston on May 11, 1952, the daughter of Michael V. Cosgrove and Constance (Dube) Cosgrove.

Mikki grew up in the Lewiston-Auburn area and graduated from Edward Little High School. She was the “family comedian” and an adventurous child, who wouldn’t let a small thing like the threat of a ruler-wielding nun get in the way of her fun. One of her sisters remembers a time that she decided to teach herself how to ski. She ended up with a ski pole through her leg, but that didn’t stop her for long.

Mikki learned early on how to get herself up on her feet again. It was a lesson that served her well time and again. Her life was not easy by any standard, but she wasn’t the type to sit around wishing for a fairy godmother — she was a “warrior goddess” who made her own magic. Each bump, and twist, and valley in her path was an opportunity for her to learn and grow, and gather the wisdom that made her an effective and compassionate advocate, an understanding, supportive and absolutely fierce mother, and a loyal and loving daughter, sister, aunt and friend.

Mikki gave her all to every job she ever had — she didn’t know there was any other way. Whether working in a shoe shop, a nursing home, at the Abused Women’s Advocacy Project or, most recently, as a valued case manager with Common Ties, she brought to the table her indomitable spirit, her leadership skills, and her effortless ability to collaborate and connect using empathy, a ready and radiant smile, and an experienced voice that engendered trust. She was a strong ally for women and children who were victims of domestic violence, as well as for people with mental illnesses. One of her former co-workers has a sign that reads, “What Would Mikki Do?” Mikki is remembered as a skilled mentor, a determined advocate, and she “left a lasting impression on every life she touched.”

Mikki always had a passion for helping people in need and giving back to her community, and that passion was only strengthened when she was diagnosed with cancer. When her illness forced her to retire, she continued to give back by volunteering wherever she was needed. She was a regular at The Dempsey Center, learning about self-care and nutrition, practicing yoga with Tish, offering her time, energy, and experience, and inspiring others with her unwavering strength and positivity. She was proud to present at a Dempsey Challenge awards ceremony and to receive a warm greeting and a hug from Patrick Dempsey himself. He remembered her from previous years. Of course he did.

Her illness-imposed retirement also gave her time to develop new passions — Mikki was a “grab life with both hands” kind of gal — such as hiking, snowshoeing, fishing and practicing yoga, as well as to spend precious time making memories with her family and friends.

Mikki was a fighter and an advocate; a daughter and a sister; an aunt and a friend, but, above all, she was a mother. She didn’t limit her mothering to her daughters, Amie and Katie Swift, she mothered the whole neighborhood — and anyone else around who needed mothering. She could see straight through skateboards, shaggy hair and baggy pants to kind and constant hearts like no other. No matter whether she was being called, Mumma, Mom, Ma, or Nana and Auntie Mikk, she was a maternal force to be reckoned with. She could be counted on for big love, big laughs and a big — and loud — talk if one of her brood screwed up, followed by the kind of forgiveness that comes from someone who remembers what it’s like to be young and unstoppable.

Mikki is remembered because she was unstoppable. Still is. She is in Katie’s wisdom and resilience, and Amie’s compassionate and tender heart. She is in Mary Kay’s strength and generosity, and Sheila’s “mama bear” ferocity. She is on Jay’s mountains, and in Maureen’s woods. She is on Mike’s strong shoulders, and in his gravelly voice and raucous laugh. She is in Kathy’s warm and welcoming hugs, and her ability to make any stranger feel like family in 5 seconds flat. She is in Sarah’s name, Emilie’s drive and determination, in Jess and Joshy’s sense of humor, and Jenn’s painting. She is reflected back to us from the eyes of badass women, in the spirits of those whom she has helped to find their own inner strength, confidence, and self-worth, and in the optimistic tail wag of her many furry friends who know a good scratch is coming their way. She is in the memories of all who have been fortunate enough to cross her path, and privileged to travel with her for a while.

Mikki is survived by her two daughters, Amie Swift and partner, Scott Noyes, of Dixfield, and Katie Swift of Auburn; her granddaughter, Emilie Noyes; and “granddog,” Bacon; her many close siblings, Michael Cosgrove (her brother and best friend), Maureen Adams (Bruce), Kathy Peters (Bill), Sheila Rousseau (Roch), Mary Kay Pace (Vinnie), and Jay Dostie; her stepfather, Richard Brackett; her children’s father and her loving friend, Jim Swift; the boys she loved like sons, Greg and Zac Paradis, and Everett Tilton; her “daughter,” Gina Bauer, Amie’s best friend of 20 years; “adopted” grandchildren, Cassidy Hart, Kyle Walters, and Kyle Stilkey; and many nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by both of her parents; her sister, Lynda Dittler; brother, James Cosgrove; nephew, Deryk Peters; and her “granddogs,” Tucker and Creedance.

Mikki’s family would like to thank her beloved family doctor, Dr. Raby, and the staff of the Rumford Community Home, as well as Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, for their compassionate care of Mikki, and the compassion and empathy they showed to her family during her short stay there.

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