I’ll never forget Melanie.

October 27, 2008 at 12:02 am (Family, Friends, GOD, New friends, Places, Religious, Stories, Sylvia) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

By Sylvia

I’ll never forget Melanie. She was a beautiful young woman, taken from this life way too early. Mel was so nonjudgmental… she found the beauty and possibility in everyone, reflected by her genuine smile, and sparkling eyes.

It was October of 2001… a time when we all were still freshly bruised from 9/11. I wanted more than ever to be surrounded by friends for a week at the shore. I rent a place that looks out onto the ocean at 4th street in Ocean City, New Jersey. This would be the first of an annual tradition. Mel was definitely on board, and couldn’t wait to join me there for at least a couple of days.

Days before the beach venture, I got a call from her saying she couldn’t make it. She had developed excruciating back pain and went to see her doctor. She had an appointment to get an MRI, and one night at work, the pain was so intense, she called the same doctor and told him. He instructed her to meet him in the MRI. Hours later, he determined that her liver was four times its normal size. It was then that she was diagnosed with liver cancer. The treatment began immediately.

When I arrived at the beach, I went to the shore line. I thought of Mel, and her demise. I knew she was going through some difficult times, and I bowed my head in thoughts and prayers for her recovery. When I looked up there was a double rainbow. I didn’t move, for fear I would miss it. I just stood there and let it wash over me. I was hoping this was a good sign.

Fast-forward to June of 2002. I finally left my husband of 23 years and was a “traveler” at Johns Hopkins. The agency provided me with a luxury apartment on the water in Fell’s Point. Four women came down to visit me one weekend in June. Mel was one of them. She adorned a black wig, nothing like her own raven hair, but her olive skinned beauty glowed more than ever. Her gleaming white teeth almost mocked me, against her always tanned look. Mel had strong Croatian roots, and she turned heads everywhere. It was 100 degrees in Baltimore that summer day, and we all hoped Mel would just want to hang out in an air conditioned bar, instead, she drug us around the city honing our tourist roles. We laughed and cried all weekend. That was the last time I saw her alive.

I moved to Hershey six weeks later to accept a position at the Med Center. Mel and I had been in touch via emails and phone calls. She was told that no more could be done. In September, I attended her funeral. Mel was only forty-one.

The following January, I had the most vivid dream of my life.

I was at a party. For some reason it was being held at Longwood Gardens. All of my favorite people were there. Over in a corner was Mel in a little girl’s party dress complete with a big blue satin bow. (Was this image because I think of her as being so young?)

“Mel!!” I gasped. “What are you doing here? You died!!”, I said.

With that, she began to float away, and was smiling, but with tears in her eyes, she said,

“I miss you guys!!”

“We miss you too, Mel…we talk about you all of the time!” I cried.

“I know“, she continued, “I hear you guys talking about me, even when it’s not out loud… I hear you ALL of the time….do you know what that is??”

“No” I retorted “what is it?”

“That’s what HEAVEN is”, she explained. “And do you know what HELL is?”, she asked.

“Noooo”, I wasn’t sure whether I was replying or asking… and she simply put it,

“HELL IS HEARING NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT HELL IS”,

“THANK YOU GUYS FOR KEEPING ME IN HEAVEN!!

And with that, she floated away.

A few weeks later I drove home to see my folks. Although it was February, it was unseasonably warm. I loved the feeling of my then, longer hair blowing around with the sunroof open. My mom was employed at Penney’s. She was only to work until about 1pm, and we were going out to lunch, just the two of us. After a four hour drive I managed to pull into the mall parking lot with time enough to put on a little make up and pull back my unruly hair. I didn’t want to look as tired as I felt. I dug through a zipper bag to find anything to tie my locks out and away from my face. After the waitress took our order, mom reached up and fingered the ribbon in my hair.

“What’s this?”, she smiled, “Why, isn’t that the same blue satin ribbon from a party dress you had when you were a little girl?”

I didn’t realize it until that moment, but it was. I smiled up at Mel, keeping her in “HEAVEN”.

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11 Comments

  1. Eydie said,

    Sylvia,

    Good story. And yes, I too remember Mel and “keep her in heaven.” What are you going to write about next?

    Eydie

  2. Brother John said,

    Sylvia,

    It sounds like Melanie was a very special person. Thank you for sharing your story of her with us!

    Brother John (Blog Master)
    Lansdowne, Pennsylvania USA

  3. Psychedelikat said,

    Eydie and Sammy,

    Oh, wow. I have just discovered your site and was moved to tears by Sylvia’s post. Thank you for sharing this!

    Psychedelikat

  4. Brother John said,

    Psychedelikat,
    First off, thank you for visiting Eydie and Sammy’s blog site! We especially enjoy visitors who take the time to send us comments and one (or more) of use will always respond to each personally.

    I’ve seen you on my friend Don Smith’s Creative Endeavors site and I assume that’s how you discovered Eydie and Sammy’s site? As Blog Master to this site, I’m always interested in how people find us.

    I dropped by your Blog Site at: Psychedelikat – A Texan in Chicago and note that you like crafts, recycling and reusing, extending the life of things, and getting more into organics. That’s a big part of what Eydie and Sammy do up on their mountain on Hominy Ridge. It’s what made me realize that others might like to get back to basics and enjoy a simpler kind of lifestyle. And so far, the site has been very popular!

    So thank you for visiting, I hope you become a regular around here!

    Brother John (Blog Master)
    Lansdowne, Pennsylvania USA

  5. Eydie Wight said,

    Psychedelikat,

    Thanks so much for checking out our site! Sylvia and I both shared a part of Melanie’s life and will truly never forget her sweet spirit.

    I see you are interested in “the old ways.” Sammy and I, too, try as best we can to use and pass on knowledge from our families, especially my Granny and his aunts who live in Tennessee. I’m never sure what subject will turn up in the next blog, but these days life revolves around the wood stove, Christmas crafts, and my walks.

    We look forward to hearing from you and please feel free to share experiences and ideas!

    Eydie Wight

  6. Psychedelikat said,

    Thanks for the warm welcome! I will definitely be back!

    I recently got back into sewing and crafting after a long absence, and it is a wonderful feeling to create something completely unique! Writing is also something I enjoy and I do it as a way to relieve frustrations, ruminate, and showcase my creative side!

    Psychedelikat

  7. Psychedelikat said,

    And yes, Brother John, I found this site in a roundabout way….first Margaret and Helen, then Creative Endeavors, and you! 🙂

    Psychedelikat

  8. Brother John said,

    Psychedelikat

    No matter how you found us, we’re glad you did! I haven’t checked your site enough yet to know if you post pictures of your craft work. I do love the creative process and I particularly enjoy anything that’s hand crafted. I’ve been asking Eydie and Sammy to take some detailed photo’s of Eydie’s jewelry and knitting projects so I can replace the low resolution images we feature here now on the site. Hopefully I’ll get them soon.

    I also noticed you have some great craft book suggestions via Amazon.com which I’ll bet are very informative. We’ve been thinking about adding a "store" to this blog for some of Eydie’s projects, but we’d have to move the site from WordPress.com on a free domain, to WordPress.org on a paid domain. That way we could make the site just slightly more commercial.

    We normally post a bit more regularly here then we have of late, primarily because Eydie’s been busy with getting her book of poetry published and I had spent a bit of time in the hospital with my disabled wife Kathy. So we hope to get back on track soon and serve up some fresh adventures!

    Brother John (Blog Master)
    Lansdowne, Pennsylvania USA

  9. Sylvia said,

    Psychedelikat

    Thank you so much for your compliment!! I found my dream about Mel to be quite profound, and I just had to write about it. I enjoy writing as well, for therapy. Second to that, I love reading others’ works. Stay in touch, and do share!

    Sylvia

  10. Carole Nichols said,

    Hey SylviaEydie, you & I should do another dinner and a movie date!

    Knew of Mel’s story and it has been simmering in the back of my mind for some time… Being sometimes sensitive to other planes of existence and their foray into ours, I get the telltale “shiver” when I speak of my beloved who passed 5 years ago… Sometimes when I’m only thinking about him I’ll smell a familiar scent that confirms he is there… Dreams are a big way that he communicates things to me as well… even other peoples dreams!

    Oh, I’m rambling… what I meant to post here was that after my Mom’s and Husband’s deaths one thing became quite clear to me… A lesson I have taught my children… When you die, all that is left of you is your Name… It’s integrity, it’s values and it’s association to things when people speak of you… All your “stuff”, wealth, and any other tangible legacy means nothing… You’re reduced to a box in the basement with your wallet, some photo’s and other paperwork… It’s who you were that is key. Your name will continue on. It is your legacy. A Good one will evoke smiles, inspire decisions and keep you alive in… yes, I imagine the concept of it being “Heaven”. That said, I wonder if the soul of bad, mean or hurtful persons lives in “Hell” as they are remembered badly… Ponderous stuff!

    Carole

  11. Eydie Wight said,

    Hey Carole,

    I just wanted to respond to your comment. You and I have had many conversations about life, and death, and heaven, and hell. Enough to know that there IS something more…

    Eydie

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