*(originally posted to Facebook on 7/8/16)
The list of things that you don't think you'll ever need to know is immense. No one ever tells you how to handle the paperwork, schedule the days and weeks after. The questions you are asked don't make sense. Then make sense with a terrifying simplicity.
We have started to make our plans, some of which are posted below. I am learning so much about Melissa that I never knew. I am seeing how many lives she touched in such a short amount of time. It is beautiful and sad, but also uplifting to see and hear your stories.
Melissa was the love of my life and my best friend. Those shoes won't ever be filled again. When I was a freshman in college we were required to go to a life planning workshop. The instructor took a glass jar and started filling it with river rocks, then small stones, and finally sand. The point being, the rocks are the 'big' things in your life, family and loved ones. The stones were 'the things you gotta do (job, etc). The sand was all the stuff that didn't matter. If you put too much sand, you loose room for rocks. No one ever tells you what to do when one of the rocks is taken away. It's just empty space. In time that space will fill with smaller rocks, those smaller rocks will be your love, friendships, and stories.
We will be celebrating Melissa's life on Saturday, 7/16, and 11:00a at All Care at 1541 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014. This service will be open to all those who knew and loved Melissa.
If you are on the east coast and cannot make it for the 16th, we are planning to have a second celebration at her Aunt Jill's house soon. Details to follow.
In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please consider donating to the animal charity of your choice. Some of her favorites were:
Defenders of Wildlife: http://www.defenders.org - dedicated to protecting plants and animals native to North America in their natural habitats. In particular, Melissa was a big supporter of their effort to protect native wolf populations.
Southwest Wildlife Conservation: http://www.southwestwildlife.org - SWCC rescues native wild animals that have lost their homes to development, or are found injured, orphaned, or abandoned. When possible, the animals the there care are rehabilitated and released, healthy and wild, back to where they belong. They are local to Phoenix. This is a charity Melissa knew well and visited personally.
ASPCA: https://www.aspca.org - The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Reservation Animal Rescue: http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageServer… - dedicated to providing resources for care and rescue of homeless animals on American Indian reservations.
Alley Cat Allies: http://www.alleycat.org - Advocating trap/neuter/return as a method of reducing feral cat populations.
US Humane Society: http://www.humanesociety.org - National and local animal protection agency, providing care and services to more than 100,000 animals every year.
Thank you everyone,