Remembering Melinda.

My twin daughters lost a friend the other day.

She was taken by surprise.

teenagers2My girls are twenty-one. An age when there’s a good chance that everyone you grew up with is still alive. So losing someone a birthday short of your own is a shock and hard to deal with.

The funeral is Saturday and it is easier to plan your presence in the moment than to imagine carrying on afterward. When anticipation gives way to memory, we are changed.

At my age, not so much. Friends are falling around me like flies. I may lament not seeing my pal Pat in Hawaii one more time, but I’m not surprised and quickly over it. There’s a tall stack of stories I can sift through until the next life-time buddy waves goodbye at the exit.

Perhaps more than my kids, I’ve wrestled with this Melinda thing. I’m a bit envious that it is simply shocking to them. Something that wasn’t supposed to happen and did. After all the tears, it is what it is. There is some refuge in knowing how unlikely it was and a reminder of the strength of all that remains.

I, on the other hand, live in a crumbling tower of people, places and things.

And here the wizened philosopher takes over.

I imagine a book left in some unlikely place. On the plane, in the hotel room or wherever. It was the only copy and it promised a good story and the chances are that it won’t appear again.

The book is called Melinda. And my kids won’t get to read past the first chapter.

In my own life, there are many books and if I haven’t finished them all, at least I have the gist of it. I know enough of the story to project the ending and that is enough. It is easier to lose old friends and family when the void is filled by decades of memories and closures.

I think of Melinda as a chapter in many books in progress, without which the endings will not be as happy. For the moment I find comfort in the belief … no, the realization … that Melinda lives on in a great many unfinished stories that will be wonderful to tell over and over again forever.

I look at my daughters, and I see Melinda.

As people leave the church, a single fireworks streaks silently across the sky, exploding into a million bright lights.

We stand for a moment in awe, and get back to writing our lives.

Thank you, Melinda.

11 years ago


  1. Going to my daughter Ash’s best friend’s funeral tomorrow. I too feel as though an unfinished book now sits alone and so many unfinished chapters of people that loved her – such a tragedy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *