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Missing Melissa

I barely know how to write about this, so forgive me if it comes out ragged. One of my wife’s best childhood friends, Melissa Bessen, died on New Year’s Day. She fell down a flight of stairs and broke her neck. I can barely imagine the pain her parents and brother are going through. Her brother, Matt, called us to tell us the news. What a brave young man for taking on that duty.

We hadn’t seen Melissa in a few years, much to our regret, but we loved her still. She was Ann’s next-door neighbor through her high-school years in Ironwood, Michigan, the little sister she never had. Back when Ann’s parents still lived in Ironwood, we spent many Christmas Eves at Melissa’s house, celebrating with her and her family. She was a bridesmaid in our wedding.

As regular visitors know, my grandfather died a few weeks back. At the age of 92, he’d lived a full life and was ready to go. He left painlessly, in a warm bed, surrounded by family. Melissa was only 35 years old, in the prime of her life, a beautiful and talented young lady who we all hoped had a long, full life ahead of her.

Tragedy is the only word for it.

So, what can we take from this? Grief for her family, for sure. No parents should ever have to bury a child. But also that life is always too short, it can end at any moment, and that we never have as much say in how it ends as we would like.

We loved Melissa, and I only wish we’d said that to her more often, that we’d seen her more often so we could do so in person. I know she knew it, though, and there’s some small comfort in that. Here’s to those who she touched, who will miss her so much. May your love for her mitigate the pain of her passing, even as it amplifies it, and may she stay in our hearts until we all pass on as well.

Comments 14

  1. I am cruched about hearing this….I went to school with Melissa at GCC. Skip was one of my instructors. We had great times there…I’ve thought of her often and wonder how she was doing. We lost contact with each other, but she always brought a smile to my face when thoughts of her would cross my mind. I want the family of Mel to know that my thoughts are with them. She was a very unique individual…and so much fun to be around.

  2. I am cruched about hearing this….I went to school with Melissa at GCC. Skip was one of my instructors. We had great times there…I’ve thought of her often and wonder how she was doing. We lost contact with each other, but she always brought a smile to my face when thoughts of her would cross my mind. I want the family of Mel to know that my thoughts are with them. She was a very unique individual…and so much fun to be around.

  3. Thanks, Marcy. Terry, you should be able to find Skip and Donna in the Hurley phonebook. I’d guess they’d love to hear from you. They’re hurting terribly right now, and good thoughts about Melissa always help.

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    Author

    Thanks, Marcy. Terry, you should be able to find Skip and Donna in the Hurley phonebook. I’d guess they’d love to hear from you. They’re hurting terribly right now, and good thoughts about Melissa always help.

  5. I knew Melissa way back in 1997- 2000 when she lived in Minneapolis and worked at First Avenue. We were very close friends. I’d gone with her to her parent’s house in Ironwood once and met her family. I just recently heard about the tragic accident and want to express my sincere sympathy to her family. I’m so sorry for your loss. Melissa, Mel, as we called her, was a beautiful kind person with an incredible singing voice, and she will be missed by many who loved her.

    1. Thanks for the note, Molly. I know her family still misses her terribly but is soldiering on without her. Her brother Matt has two kids now, and that really lights them all up.

  6. I knew Melissa way back in 1997- 2000 when she lived in Minneapolis and worked at First Avenue. We were very close friends. I’d gone with her to her parent’s house in Ironwood once and met her family. I just recently heard about the tragic accident and want to express my sincere sympathy to her family. I’m so sorry for your loss. Melissa, Mel, as we called her, was a beautiful kind person with an incredible singing voice, and she will be missed by many who loved her.

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      Thanks for the note, Molly. I know her family still misses her terribly but is soldiering on without her. Her brother Matt has two kids now, and that really lights them all up.

  7. Well, I find it really strange that Molly posted this today. I was thinking about Mel the past few weeks and thought about getting in touch with her, so I emailed a friend, and she told me about her death. I am shocked. Mel and I were good friends at First Ave. and lost touch after I left.

    Is there any information as to where she is laid to rest? I would like to visit her someday.

    Thank for having this post,
    Jason “Buckeye”

    1. I believe her funeral was in Ironwood, but I’m not sure at which cemetery. We weren’t able to make it to the ceremony. Her parents live in Hurley now, I believe. You could try calling them. Good luck.

  8. Well, I find it really strange that Molly posted this today. I was thinking about Mel the past few weeks and thought about getting in touch with her, so I emailed a friend, and she told me about her death. I am shocked. Mel and I were good friends at First Ave. and lost touch after I left.

    Is there any information as to where she is laid to rest? I would like to visit her someday.

    Thank for having this post,
    Jason “Buckeye”

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      Author

      I believe her funeral was in Ironwood, but I’m not sure at which cemetery. We weren’t able to make it to the ceremony. Her parents live in Hurley now, I believe. You could try calling them. Good luck.

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