I wrote this as soon as I found out:
Some of my best moments I've had with Mel. She was just this amazingly cool, calm and collected person. In 1998, Mel and I went to Europe for three weeks - london, paris, madrid and barcelona. She had the best sense of direction and seemed to be soooo capable. I was amazed because I had no idea how the subways worked. If it hadn't been for Mel, I would've ended up in Germany instead of Paris, for sure.
The best part of the trip was watching the musical RENT in London. We lined up 2 hours early to get standby tickets - and managed to get second-row seats. At the time, one of the actors in the show was Jesse L Martin, who was also playing Ally McBeal's boyfriend on TV. We both had huge crushes on him. After the show, we waited outside the cast door for an hour. I was losing hope, but Mel wasn't. And, then suddenly, Jesse was there! We got him to sign our program and take a photo with him. We were on cloud nine for the rest of trip. I loved that Mel had enough gumption to accomplish whatever she wanted. Whether it was doctoring or getting an actor's autograph, if anyone could do it, she could!
We just had so much fun together. We drank too much together on numerous occasions, talked about guys - or the lack therof, attended slam poetry competitions, took Ju Jitsu together, hung out at Barefoot or the original Coffee, and took trips to her family's Tahoe cabin.
One time, Tiff, Mel and I went to karaoke. I now know I wasn't drunk enough to sing but then I thought, sure why not. We chose Love Shack. But when I got up there I was scared out of my mind. Thank god Mel can carry a tune and can belt out that song like nobody's business! Because she was good. The more I realized how good she was the more my karaoke-ing became lip syncing. At the end, she laughed at us, "Thanks for leaving me hanging!" What could I say besides, "But you were doing so good on your own..."
We really tried to help each other out with our careers too. I read and edited her essay for med school. She hooked me up with an interview at her dad's advertising agency when I was thinking of going into to ad copywriting. And when I went Chile, I begged for Christmas cards, and she actually sent me one. She said it was her only card she sent that year. I was not surprised that it was a picture of her entire family. She loved them. I've never seen someone closer to their family.
In the past few years, it has been such a joy for me to watch her grow into her own. It was so funny because we started to look to her for the truth. Which she gave. It didn't even have to be a medical question. But if there was ever a fact in doubt, all heads would swivel to Mel. "Is that true?" And Mel always had an answer, "Actually, the Dixie Chicks formed in ...." And then the matter would be settled.
It's hard to not be angry about her death. She was just getting to where she wanted to be - back at work being a doctor, losing the weight that had always been a struggle for her, giving up drinking and smoking for a healthier lifestyle. But maybe that's why we needn't be angry - she was doing what she wanted to do, gaining confidence, and really living life.
So now comes the task - where Mel used to occupy this space in my life, I am beginning to fill it with the memories of the joyful times I had with her. And my goodness, there was so many. I feel lucky and grateful to have called her my friend. She was adored and cherished.
In our hearts, she will always be adored and cherished.
I miss you Mel.