One of the things I love about music is that no matter what you’re feeling, or what you’re going through, you can find a song, album, band that speaks to you.
This post will come as a bit of change from what’s typically discussed here, and very probably will get longwinded, but I don’t care.
I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately that makes me think of death, mourning, remembering, etc., so I’m going to post a few videos throughout this post of stuff I’ve been listening to of late…
Untimely departures from this world have been discussed before, and I’m going to bring it up again because over the weekend, an old high school friend of mine, Elizabeth (Holman) Melde, passed away.
(The version I wanted I couldn't find...but this one is good, too)
Just to give a bit of a backstory, for those of you still reading, Liz got sick last fall, but it was just assumed to be one of those standard “I’m not feeling too hot, so I’m going to go the doctor” bits, but after a couple trips and numerous tests, she was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. Now, for all intents and purposes, Liz was a healthy 25 years old. She didn't smoke, never really hung around smokers, and to my knowledge wasn’t exposed to anything that we would be believed to lead to lung cancer. So...it came as a complete shock to absolutely everyone.
She passed away this past weekend after a battling the disease for the last few months, but throughout the entire process, she kept up a relentlessly positive spirit. She carried herself as if nothing was going to keep her from beating this, and I think most everyone who’d followed her battle believed she was going to punch cancer in the face and have it scurrying home with its tail between its legs. From the get-go it was a fight the people knew wouldn’t be easy, but we still believed it could be conquered because how she was handling it...all the way to the end.
As I mentioned, Liz and I were pretty good friends in high school, and for a while after I graduated, but as with so many other friendships, you lose touch and are forced to follow each other’s lives from afar. That was the same with her battle. There were two different large benefits organized on her behalf – add it to my list of reasons for supporting nationalized healthcare – that I wasn’t able to attend, and I regret not getting to attend, but just hearing how many people went was amazing.
One thing that’s always bothered me when people die is the way they can be almost canonized. After word spread about Liz’s passing, people were posting on Facebook like crazy. But with all the things people were saying about her, what struck me was that everything that was said was 100% truth. A fellow high school friend mentioned the same sentiment about how he hadn’t kept in touch with her so he felt a little weird mentioning it on Facebook, but that’s what made her so incredible, and her battle and passing even harder a pill to digest. Anyone who was ever lucky enough to know her – even if they wouldn’t have had one more conversation with her in their life – will still miss Liz.
When I die, I’m sure people will glorify what I will have done with my life and the type of person I was, but remember this… I contribute to a blog called Inconsiderate Prick, and that’s not far off what my actual personality is like.
Liz will be remembered because she honestly was such an amazing person (and I don’t throw around statements like that). She was loved by an awesome family, had a loving and devoted husband, and countless friends who are very probably still trying to catch their breath after hearing of her passing.
I’m not a person who really has anything resembling emotions. My wife will attest to the fact that she’s seen me cry twice since we’ve been together (8 years), but Liz’s death has hit close to home.
When I was a freshmen in college, a fellow high school classmate was tragically killed. I took that pretty hard because Randy was such a great guy, and he was the first person I knew relatively well that died too early. Liz is in that same boat. But having been affected by both of their deaths, it’s hurt for different reasons.
Randy was killed in an accident. I can accept that.
One of my best friend’s mom passed away from cancer. As much as I miss Jean (she was like a second mother to me), I could accept her fate because she smoked for years. Liz got pretty much the same disease, but did nothing in her life to lead to that. No Surgeon General warnings…just one big shitty surprise.
Liz died fighting something no one ever would have expected a person like her to have to go through. Accepting that won't come nearly as easily for me.
I’ve been to a number of funerals/memorial services where attendees are told to keep their spirits up because [insert name] wouldn’t want you to be crying and depressed. I think it's safe to say that Liz would want the same. I’m sure she was cracking jokes and smiling up until the end. Because of that, I’ve been trying my best to not get too down about her passing, and deal with the how I think she would want all of us to handle it. But that's not an easy feat for us all.
The last song I’ll post here is “Bookends” because it’s a great song but unfairly short…
You'll be missed Liz...