This is John, Melissa’s husband, and I apologize to you for not writing sooner. I think, at the moment, I’m o.k., so I’ll start to tell you some more stories of Melissa. Well, my first step should be an obituary, right, since an obituary, as defined by Merriam-Webster as, “a notice of a person’s death usually with a short biographical account.” On this forum, Erika took care of the first part of that definition very soon after Melissa’s passing. However, the second part of the definition put me in a bit of a quagmire for quite a while. If you knew Melissa either in person or online, you know there is nothing “short” about Melissa’s accomplishments or impact on other people’s lives. So, there will be no obituary since her life was a very colorful, long journey and if you really want to try and get to know her, then take the time to read through her stories posted on this website or countless blog entries or replies to blog inquiries. Reading several paragraphs about Melissa’s life is not only inadequate but really an insult to her ever so impactful life. Her brother Lee, wrote a very beautiful story a little while before Melissa passed and I read it to her. We both balled and I had to pause and catch my breath so many times while reading it to her that she started to get frustrated with me. I even read Melissa the majority of the comments to Lee’s post, and one stands out in my head. The comment was such, to Melissa, that sounded like she had already died. So, Melissa being Melissa, had me post back “I’m not dead yet,” or something close to that. Those were her words and how she lived life. So you can start with Lee’s story and work your way back, if you haven’t already done so. Sorry, I’m not trying to piss anybody off or put obituary writers out of business, it is just the way it has to be. In the near future, I’ll be posting more stories about Melissa, maybe not just her last few weeks, but other memories of her, too.
I do need your feedback though, and although I’m not running a democracy–so majority may not win–but all input will be heart-fully considered. Some of the stories of Melissa’s passing could be somewhat disturbing and graphic, but I am more than willing to put on filters where appropriate or, in other words, turn down the rating. I have two opinions so far and they represent the two extremes, polar opposites. One side is to tell every graphic detail of Melissa’s death and suffering (i.e. like Farrah Fawcett in her final production said to keep filming, don’t stop even while I’m puking, or a fairly recent photo display of a photographer’s Stage IV wife and very candid and graphic pictures were included—so graphic that the photos were taken down). The other extreme represents a more serene approach and it does resonate with me, too. Any cancer patient, especially Stage IV cancer patients, do NOT need to hear these painful details. They are living with their own fears, pain, suffering, doubt, and countless other things a person without such diagnosis cannot fully comprehend and they should only hear and only need to hear hope and inspiration. Melissa knew that, and that’s why she did not write much here during her final few months. In her perspective, there was not much inspirational and hopeful things to write about. And, I want you to know, that she applied that filter to virtually every word she published. So, maybe the answer is somewhere in the middle, but I just want to hear from you if you have an opinion. If you do not, no biggie. Which ever way the pendulum falls, I want these stories to be real for you, but most importantly, be the real Melissa.