On Wednesday 10 June 2020 we lost an incredible woman, Melissa Nielsen. Many of you will know Melissa as a vibrant lawyer from Cairns in the Far North of Queensland. And some of you will know that Melissa has been my closest friend for many years now. We met 17 years ago me having been an admitted solicitor for about a month and her joining the firm where I worked to complete her PLT placement. From the moment we met we just clicked and a deep friendship has since been built and fostered long distance between Brisbane and Cairns.
Losing anyone in life is a terrible thing. Losing Melissa has brought incredible saddness for so many of us. Having been diagnosed unexpectedly with brain cancer only a few weeks ago, it does feel like this past few weeks have been a terrible blur. But Melissa, being the eternal optimist and powerhouse that she is, spent those weeks moving mountains to ensure that her village would come together for many years to come to support her beautiful family.
Over the past week I have found comfort in writing stories and memories about Melissa and today I am sharing just a few of those words with you in part I guess to help me say goodbye and in part to forever remember a person that has left a legacy in this world that anyone would be proud of and that has touched me more than she will ever know.
My Dearest Miss Meliss
How do you sum up a person like you in a few paragraphs. Well, you can’t. And the beautiful thing is that we don’t have to. We don’t have to limit you, your life and your legacy to a few words on a page. The wheels you have put in motion this past few weeks will ensure that your legacy is an eternal one. But I can sum up the core, your heart- the things I loved and will forever hold dear.
Miss Meliss you were my person. The one that for 17 years that has made me laugh, held my hand when I cried (or atleast tried to over the phone!) put up with my weekly ramblings and most importantly, to me anyway, threw your energy, your love and your support behind every crazy idea I ever had. And I know in this, I was not alone- the outpouring of support I have seen these past few weeks confirms what we all knew- that what you did for me, you did for so many and it is that we all love about you. You have always been the eternal champion of so many. You would be the first to say ‘you can do it’ but to then always be there to help along the way. And of course, you ensured that the running man and the splits featured at any possible event (or non event) we attended and I know in that I am not alone.
You talked endlessly of your village and how that made your life everything. And of course at the heart of that village was the love of your life, Rudy, those three amazing children of yours, your beautiful parents and sisters and Grandparents and of course more Aunts, Uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, than I could ever have imagined was possible and that is before we mention the circles and circles of friends and colleagues that you invested your love in every day.
Melissa you have a gift that many will never find- a true understanding of your joy and happiness and you lived your life accordingly every day. And with that came a few simple ‘Melissaisms’ or some might call them values that guided your life each day-
- The first, and I am sure those kids of yours have heard this one a few times- If you’re going to do something then give it your all- we don’t do things by halves kids- (unless it’s the washing… that can wait a few days!)
- If you don’t like something, go and do something to change it and don’t waste your time complaining about it.
- See opportunity in everything- say yes, have a go and trust yourself that you will work it out along the way.
- And be kind. Always.
- And the big one- home baked cake and wine (and in real emergencies, the two together) fix everything.
To Harrison Jas and Eddie- your mum is truely a wonder woman and she will be with you always. She is you and you are her. Never forget that. And that dad of yours- well he really is the super hero in your mum’s life and he will always be that for you too. And all of us- well we are here too. For anything you ever might need. The only thing she feared was being forgotten by you, her 3 little angels. Well on that one I am happy to say- that we will never let happen.
Miss Meliss, you will be with me always. Gorman, chocolate the splits and wine.
I love you. Always. Xx
You can listen to my Podcast from 2017 with Melissa here.