Neil’s Announcement

My world has been shattered and will forever have a missing piece. Melanie passed away peacefully yesterday, 11/23/2023 at 11:31am. She was at home, surrounded by family and I think she held on just long enough for my daughter Lauren to get there and say her goodbye. But also so that Lauren could be there to hold me and be there for Brody.

On 10/30, we learned that the cancer had spread to her liver, which meant things would be getting worse. Mel would be starting a new chemo, which would be the last treatment option. After this, she wanted to get some bucket list items checked off… She only got a few of them done, but one was to take Brody to his first concert just a few nights later. I know that will be a core memory for him… and for me as well.

Everything went very quickly since last Monday, 11/13. We learned that the chemo she had just started did not have any effect. Her oncologist told us that hospice was the next step and she likely had weeks left. We tried to plan things as fast as we could but after a week, she had so much trouble breathing that she could no longer get up our stairs and needed a hospital bed.

Anyone that knew Melanie has been forever impacted by her friendliness, her kindness, her bright smile, and her endless positivity and inspiration. I told Brody that there is no one that doesn’t love his mom. I would always joke that she is “Chino Hills Famous” because no matter where we would go, we would run into someone that knew Mel and we’d stop to talk.

I have always known that she never hesitated to make herself available for anyone that needed her, especially when it was someone dealing with cancer. She would give out her phone number to anyone that needed it, for themselves or for anyone that needed help related to cancer. She took all of those calls, regardless of who they were. Countless times she would be in our room behind closed doors giving support on the phone.

Over the years, I frequently heard from people how inspirational she was to them. I never took those stories for granted, as I knew that was just who Melanie was. But more recently, there have been friends explaining to me just how important she was to them during times that they really needed support. That she, specifically, is the main reason they got through hard times… by giving her time and emotional support. She has truly left a legacy of positivity.

Melanie will always be the most amazing mother that I have ever known. She loved Brody with every ounce of her being, and she always will. Nothing got in the way of her being there for him, no matter what he needed. I can only hope to make her proud and continue to do the same for him. Lauren was 2 years old when she first met Melanie… and Mel loved her like her own daughter since that day. She also did anything she could to be there for Lauren for whatever she needed. But Mel didn’t think that she was doing anything special or differently than anyone else should do.

With our grandson, Beckham, entering our lives… her heart was exploding with love for this kid. She lit up whenever that boy was in the room, and this was the same even during her last days.

Melanie captured my heart the first time we spoke. We worked together and went out on a break one day. She asked to see a picture of Lauren, and then wanted to know everything about her. She had my heart from that day on. She had such a passion for fun, which I loved because it was a bit opposite of how I was. She made sure that our family was doing the fun things in life, and she kept me young. She was always there for me to lean on, even while she was dealing with cancer. She made me laugh and was my best friend in life. I felt her love so truly and deeply… I’m not sure what I will do without her.

I am so thankful for the family and friends that have been there for me, Brody, and Lauren over the past few weeks and months. Most of all, my sister-in-law Shannon, who stayed with me overnight Wed-Thu when things were getting much worse. I don’t know how I would have done it without her there with me sitting beside Mel through the night. Just after midnight, as Mel was not communicating much anymore… Mel perked up a bit, looked directly into my eyes and said “I love you” and smiled. I told her the same and she went back to sleeping. This was the last thing she said, and I will hold that gift in my heart for eternity. She gave that to me, and she held on so that I would be comforted when she left.

In my favorite song by one of my favorite musicians, Jeff Buckley… “Lover, you should have come over”, there is a verse that I have been playing in my head for the past few months and it sums up how my heart is feeling.

It’s never over
My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
It’s never over
All my riches for her smiles
When I slept so soft against her
It’s never over
All my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
It’s never over
She is a tear that hangs inside my soul forever





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