Melissa was our niece and our cousin and at Winfrey's, she was our friend, our shining light.
Sweet Melissa, on loan to us from 1980 to 2005. On peritoneal dialysis at 3 months, first kidney transplant - MGH at 9 months, one of the world's youngest transplant patients, second transplant age 11, third kidney/liver transplant age 25. It was the life she knew. She accepted it. She never tried to challenge her world, she accepted it and happily.
If she had to go back into dialysis... well that was the way it was. If she couldn't drink alcohol (or even too many liquids) on her 21st birthday... that was the way it was. She lived her life always with a smile. While people around her defined her approach to life as "strong", she defined it as "busy", when she had dialysis every other day and "fun" when she went to New Hampshire with the girls from the Rowley candy store, or dressed up like a witch on Halloween and "exciting" when she got engaged to Brad the love of her life and "incredible" when she thought of becoming aunt Melissa.
She would always smile and say "Ya, I can do that" whenever I asked her to leave her desk and help wrap chocolate lollipops, or stand at the candy store register to give an extra hand during holiday sales, or put bows on our boxes of chocolates. No job was beneath her or above her. She lived smack dab in the middle of life. She lived every moment like she wouldn't see it again. She accepted every person for who they were without judgment. I am not making this up, honest! The world has a little less light without her but once she gets settled, I think she will be shining down brightly on all of us.
I would like to thank one person from all of us who knew Lissy, Linda. For her courage and commitment for making all those difficult decisions for 25 years. Without them, we never would have known our sweet Melissa.