spirit of the west



Earlier this evening, I attended a celebration of life for a fellow Unitarian Universalist who passed unexpectedly last week. To honor and morn her loss, I feel a goodbye note is necessary.

Dear Melissa,

I felt it impossible to say goodbye to you without putting pen to paper. Your sudden death was a massive shock and loss to many in the community and it showed during the many tears of joy and sorrow shed on your behalf this evening.

To watch your family, friends, peers, congragants, and co-workers paint a picture of your life allowed me the blessing of getting to know you better. Perhaps the greatest treasure, hearing your son speak. He is a handsome, charismatic, and touching young man. How proud you must be.

It is important to me to thank you for all you have done in our fellowship in Central Oregon and in your life as a Unitarian Universalist. Acts of generosity and compassion seemed to flow from you effortlessly, which, to me amounts to the total embodiment of Unitarian Universalism. Pillars, like you, in our congregation have been exceedingly important in paving the way for newbies like me.

I deeply regret not pausing to know you better. I imagine we might share a love for birds of prey as you worked at the High Desert Museum. Perhaps we would enjoy playing a game of cards or maybe you would have provided me with mentorship I so genuinely seek in so many capacities.

Thank you for your inspiring legacy in the church and community. You truly embody the spirit of the west…

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