Kim, Cami, and I were given the task of doing a tribute for Mel's funeral. We decided we wanted to take a different approach, and not do a "life sketch". We decided to do an acrostic or name poem. We split it up and each took a different section. Here is our tribute to MELANIE:
Mel was known by several names. Mom, aunt Mel, Melly Elly, Miss Melanie, a few I can't say, or just simply Mel. Today, we are going to use the name she was given on Sept. 13, 1977, M-E-L-A-N-I-E. Mel would be disappointed in us today, because we do not have any props to help you with remembering the spelling. So, here is our acrostic poem. (Angie)
M is for Mother.
It is fitting for the first letter to be an "M", because above everything else, Mel's top priority was being a good Mother. Being a mother brought out the best in Mel. It changed her forever. She was Kaden's biggest supporter and cheerleader. She loved watching her boy play sports. If Kaden had a game, Mel was there! No matter what! It was usually with her entourage, umbrellas, chairs, and all. As a single working mom, she never took the easy way out. She worked and educated herself so she could provide a good life for her and Kaden. She taught Kaden how to work, which is still a work in progress. The most important thing for her is that Kaden is respectful, polite, and kind to others. So far, so good. (Cami)
E is for Entertaining.
Mel loved a party and she was the life of the party. She was always planning the next get together. She loved to host cousins parties, neighborhood parties, and holiday parties. Even when she was in the hospital, she kept east 8 lively and fun with her antics and humor. She has quite the collection of board games, which we have all played at some point or another. Many pinochle games have been played at our family table. These games are usually filled with laughter and some fierce competition, especially when Greg would bid Mel up to 52! Mel always bought fireworks for the 4th of July. When it came to parades, being a spectator was not enough for her. She wanted to be on a float waving and throwing candy. After years of begging for us to do a family float, she had her wish come true with her "Be Strong - Thank You Hyde Park" float. She had a blast! (Kim)
L is for Loving.
Melanie made friends everywhere she went. They were usually friends for life. She loved her family, she loved her friends, she loved her students. All of us here have felt her love in some way. She was quick to give, and shared her smiles and hugs freely. She wasn't in teaching for the money. She genuinely loved children. Mel found tremendous joy in seeing the children learn and grow each year. If someone was in need around her, Mel was there to help. If she knew you were feeling down, she was there to lift you up. Mel had a talent of sensing the needs of others. She was the perfect example of the definition of loving. (Angie)
A is for Aunt.
If you were blessed to call Mel your aunt, you had a Valentines day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July party every year. These parties were complete with themed games, treats, prizes, and endless fun. If you were blessed to call Mel your aunt, you were taken on an adventure to find caterpillars each fall. She knew right where to find the milkweed. If you were blessed to call Mel your aunt, your birthday was never forgotten and you were spoiled. If you were blessed to call Mel your aunt, you knew what it meant to pick something out of the treasure box. If your were blessed to call Mel your aunt, you knew all the fun songs and read lots of fun books. If you were blessed to call Mel your aunt, you enjoyed trips to the park, batting cages, and bowling. If you were blessed to call Mel your aunt, you made sugar cookies for just about every holiday. Gingerbread houses or people for Christmas. This last Thanksgiving, she helped the kids make turkeys in several different ways, with all kinds of cookies and candies. Mel hosted her last party on May 4th. She went with my mom and bought all the supplies for a pizza making party. She was tired and struggling to breath, but she still came into the kitchen to cheer the kids on. Above all, if Mel was your aunt, you knew you were loved. (Cami)
N is for Notes (of the musical kind).
This only seemed fitting, as music was such a big part of her life. Some people train for years to play the piano like Mel. She only had one short lesson from our mother. The rest was her natural ability. She loved music. She loved to sing it, play it, watch it, listen to it, teach it, and share it. Melanie had a song for everything. Her life was a musical. You never knew when she was going to break into song. Music was a source of strength for her during some of her darkest hours. Nurses liked going into her room at night, because she would always listen to soothing and uplifting music. I can remember walking around east 8, arm in arm, singing Christmas carols with her. We sang to anyone who would listen. And we all know she loved Tim McGraw. (Kim)
I is for Intelligent.
Mel valued education in all forms. Her love for learning began with her own education. She attended North Park Elementary, Cedar Ridge Middle School, North Cache, and graduated from Sky View High School. As a single mother, she earned her Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. Her love for learning became her career, as she helped little 5 and 6 year olds love to learn. She was a talented teacher! She had a knack for explaining concepts in a clear and fun way. Many don't know that her teaching career began as a child. The Nelson girls and her would get together and play school. Launa said that Mel was always the teacher! Proper grammar was very important to Mel. You also needed to make sure you had proper pronunciation when she was around. You didn't hike in the "mouains", it was the "mountains". You were not in "kinergaren", it was "kindergarten" You aren't "thankful fer", you are "thankful for". It is neat to think that even though she had to leave a lot behind, she took her intelligence and knowledge with her. (Angie)
E is for Enduring to the End.
Melanie endured 14 bone marrow biopsies, 14 lumbar punctures, countless rounds of chemo, 9 days of total body radiation, 2 stem cell transplants, three central line placements, months of ECP treatments, all the side affects of treatments, graft vs. host disease, and months away from home. Yet, she remained positive and rarely complained. When asked how she was doing, her response was always, "I'm alright." She smiled for every picture, even when she felt yucky. Mel has been and inspiration and an example of what it means to endure to the end. She lived longer than originally expected. Drs. have attributed this to her positive attitude. Mel attributed it to her faith. She knew the power of prayer and priesthood blessings. (Cami)
In closing, we would like to share a few of Melanie's most beloved words.
Fart Knockers (Cami)
Okinawa (All Together)
We love you, Melly Elly!