remembering my sis, melissa
i don't think that the song "sweet melissa" was written about her specifically, but it very much could have been.
i am grateful that you are here.2
my step-sister melissa died this week. i loved her, and i still do.3
she was kind and strong and beautiful. she helped people. she ran way more marathons than i ever have.4 she called me “brother.”5
after i learned that she was contending with cancer, i asked her essentially “is there anything i can do, aside from asking if there is anything i can do?”
she responded by asking me to send jokes to her. and that is thankfully something that i could indeed do. and so i did, nearly every day from then on.
in fact, this very newsletter was born out of my sending those jokes to her6. i’m glad to be able to share what i can with people who want to receive. jokes. love. more. so i thank you for being here, for receiving and sharing in this love, these jokes, this joke-love which is real love.
thank you melissa. i miss you and i love you, sister.
and now, here are a few related life nuggets:
1) a way i strive to live:
tell people you love them before they die or you die7
2) a thought i had never had until today:
i’ve heard people say things like “she died doing what she loved,”
but i now offer this alternative:
she LIVED doing what she loved.
3) one other piece that i aim to practice as much as i can:
instead of telling someone you don’t like
that you don’t like them and why,
tell someone you DO like
that you DO like them and why.8
and those are they for now.
thank you for receiving all of this.
here are a few additional informational units, if you’d like to receive:
1) if you’d like to contribute, the family asks that you consider a donation to Children’s National Hospital, who treat children in medical need.
2) if you’d like to hear some conversations about death and grief and love, here is my episode of the “where’s the grief” podcast hosted by my friend, comedian and bereaved sibling, jordon ferber, and here is my episode of the “we’re dying here” podcast hosted by my friends micah sherman and jane baker. i remember both conversations being meaningful, fun, serious, and beautiful. enjoy if you wish!
thank you and love to all.
me and my dad and melissa and many cakes that we did not eat9
or listeners, if someone is reading this to you, or both, if you are reading it aloud to yourself, a fun thing to do sometime
always, and especially now
note: i shared some of this on social media this week, so if you follow me (for which i thank you!), some of it may be familiar. and also, there will be some newness as well. thank you for your care and attention!
infinitely as many, really. i have run zero. i believe she did 8. which is sideways infinity. so she definitely did sideways-infinitely more.
and not just like “oh brother” when i make jokes like this
along with a couple other friends who had requested similar joke-care.
after can work also, but i definitely recommend before. i’m glad i told her as much as i did. her last messages to me were “thanks” and “love it” and “love you” and a heart emoji. i very much heart emoji her, and all of you.
example: i like you all for reading all of this, footnotes included! lots of extra fun in the footnotes! like playing footsie-notes? is that something? okay, feel free to head on back up to the headnotes/heartnotes. head towards the heart.
we also didn’t drink most of those sodas i bet