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)
…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…