31 July 2011

A Tribute to Melanie Goodwin

I didn't know Melanie Goodwin, I didn't know her family or friends and quite frankly I don't know that our paths ever would have crossed. But after spending time with her family yesterday, I now know that she was a beautiful spirit full of life and good will and that she made an impact on everyone she came in contact with. She had family and friends that loved her and a boyfriend that wanted to be with her forever. She was 19 and attending UNT majoring in communications and she had her whole life ahead of her.

When we're children our parents tell us not to talk to strangers or not to get in the car with people we don't know. We're raised to think twice about every decision we make and even when we do everything right, sometimes it's still not enough to protect us from the evil that lurks behind every corner. I've always said that there is nothing more horrifying than that which lies within a human being. In fact, people who commit unspeakable crimes against another person really can't even be classified as human beings... they're monsters plain and simple. Because of a monster, no one will ever know what Melanie could've and probably would've been. She was taken way before her time but that isn't stopping her family and friends from doing great things in her honor. Through them, she will live on forever and that is the greatest thing that could've come from such a tragedy. They're giving her the legacy she never had a chance to make for herself.

They conduct their events the way she would've wanted... by making it fun. Before each event, they say a prayer and release balloons, pink ones because it was her favorite color. They embrace all who attend and make them feel like family. If you didn't know Melanie before, you will certainly know her after. Aristotle said "What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies." For that reason and that reason alone, Melanie's memory and soul will live on and on. As we were leaving Peggy, Melanie's mom, approached us and hugged us and thanked us for being there. My friend's teenage daughter was with us and Peggy said to her, (I'd love to quote her but I can't remember her exact words) - Be careful. Melanie did everything right that night. She parked near the door, in a well lit area and still was taken from us. Just be careful. - It was a touching experience that I'll not soon forget. The strength that this family has is inspiring and I look forward to attending future events.

Please visit www.melaniegoodwin.org and read her story. Donate if you can or if you can't, at least help spread the word about Melanie and what her family is doing to help others in her name. It's a great cause and I've never met a more grateful bunch of people.

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