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In Memoriam: Melissa Jane Gilcrest

In Memoriam: Melissa Jane Gilcrest

June 24, 1951 – April 1, 2017


Our very dear sister, friend, yogini, and fellow traveler breathed her last yesterday in the comfort of her own home in Franklin Manor. As many of you may know, it was in June 2015 that Melissa was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. She greeted this challenge with an internal force and external shine like no other. Just after her diagnosis, and for many months thereafter, Melissa was regularly coming to class determined to improve and keep her life her own. And, in my opinion, she more than succeeded… (continued below)

Melissa Gilcrest

…I feel like I knew Melissa well, as she had been coming to classes for at least 8 -10 years. She also attended some of the seminars and arrived in full-blown Halloween costumes – along with her partner John. She was extremely open, friendly, and very genuine. Yet when I sit down to write this I realize I really do not know many of the details of her life. And it really doesn’t matter. In this age of mass documentation and over-sharing of one’s own talents and background, where we know “everything” about those whom we don’t really know, it is quite refreshing to offer that I only know Melissa for whom she truly was. And it was always a great pleasure to see her and have her in class.

I cannot ever forget how she came to the “Year-End Seminar” in late December 2015, and she lit up the room with her courage and optimism. We had all been through our yoga practice and meditation and had circled up for some life reflections and projections. This is generally a time when to get things going people often look to others to break the ice. Well, let’s just say Melissa did not just crack the ice, she smashed it to bits, clearing a vast open space for everyone to express themselves. She bravely and courageously told of her recent diagnosis and firmly declared how she was going to meet it head-on, on her own terms. And she did, keeping all dignity and grace.

One of the last times I saw Melissa, she excitedly introduced me to her “spirit daughter” Marnie, who had lived with her years earlier as an exchange student from Germany. The two clearly had a very warm bond that had only grown over the years, and Marnie had crossed the vast ocean to come visit. Not surprisingly, Melissa had near and dear ones the world over.

Melissa’s radiant smile and caring heart will be missed from this world. And I can confidently say that she left us having made this earth a better place.


  •  There will be a service at Galesville Memorial Hall. Please watch for an announcement. Thank you…
6 Comments
  1. Heartbreaking…

  2. I shall miss Melissa terribly, in all the ways that Satyam has captured so beautifully. She was a truly splendid being. But I know that I will see her and feel her every day. Whenever I see red cardinals, for she fed them by hand when they came and called her; whenever I see friends not shy of expressing their love for each other; and in countless other ways. Melissa will always be with me encouraging me to be the best of me; to forge on with great presence and intention, regardless of the magnitude of the challenge, and to bring my loving, genuine me to play each and every day.

  3. Thank you Satyam for this reflection on Melissa and all that you brought to her life. Her yoga practice with you and her friends there at the Galesville Hall, one of her spirit places, were truely the nexus of her life here in south county.

    Peace, John

    • Thank you so much John for checking in here and sharing that – it was always certainly a joy to see her arrive with her many friends for the Saturday morning practice…wishing you the very best…

      Satyam

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this and happy she was able to stay home till she moved onward.

  5. Namaskar & much gratitude for the many, many thoughts folks have shared (above, in private, & in class)…I know Melissa would be pleased to know how she touched your lives and how you will carry on with the many good qualities she brought to life….

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