Monday, October 5, 2009

Section A Page 8

My muse, Buck

Two years ago when we celebrated the opening of the Miracle Field, I was unexpectedly asked to say a few words. For those of you who know me, you'll agree that the words "few" and "words" don't go together. Overwhelmed with incredible joy, relief and pride, I took the podium and drew a complete blank. Suddenly, out of my mouth, came this pearl that I now know is my mantra...."For the first half of my adult life, I was busy filling my resume. For the last half, I'm going to fill my obituary." blahblahblahblah......

I remember when I read Jim Loftin, Sr.'s, obituary when he departed this earth for his crimson and white resting place in heaven. It made such an impression on me the lives that he had touched; the hundreds of people that he had mentored, the thousands of hours that he spent working to raise awareness and money for those who had little to none. And there wasn't enough ink at the Dothan Eagle to list all the people that he made smile with his memorable personality. Me included. In between all the many charities and organizations that he had volunteered for over the years, tucked in between the awards and public recognition, there was one line that referenced a career--a job (the one that paid for all those shoes and college educations for all those younguns.) I decided then, that I too wanted a great obituary. I want people to miss me when I'm gone the way we miss Big Jim Loftin.

Now don't think I'm going to get all sappy and gloomy on you. Quite the contrary. Let's just talk about the qualities of said obit:

An old, black and white photograph that all my high school friends will quickly recognize and reminisce

My actual age, minus about 5

No mention of my career

How many loads of laundry that I washed and boo boos that I healed

How many times I attended 3 sporting events, simultaneously, at 3 different ball fields...

That I taught my children not to use the words, "normal," "hate," and "can't"

That I was crazy in love with my husband

That I was an advocate for the underdog

That I helped raise money for breast cancer research and Down syndrome awareness

That I helped special needs children have rights to an exceptional education

That I had awesome parents who loved each other forever

That I loved growing up in a very small house with a very big family

That I cried every time I saw an American flag blowing in the wind

That I tutored children who couldn't read

That I worked at Miss Tina's kitchen on weekends feeding the homeless

That I was a God-fearing woman who didn't deserve His love

That mental illness made me sad

That I treated everyone the same

That I loved politics and hated politicians (sorry Mayor)

That I loved my children more than life

That even though Ted made the living, I made it worth living

That I surely went to heaven and hopefully took a lot of folks with me

And still, that David Johnston entertained the crowd with his rendition of "I Can Only Imagine" and "Amazing Grace."

The irony is we're all faced with our own mortality. Some of us just a little more than others. But this story isn't about dying, it's about living. It's about finding a purpose, something greater than ourselves to invest in. What is your passion? What injustice drives you crazy? Making a difference in the lives of others isn't reserved for the wealthy. Your time and commitment are equally as valuable as any personal check. One day, if it hair-lips Hitler, I'm going to accomplish the things on my obit list above. Because the rewards that we reap when helping others is far greater than the investment. Even if it's an encouraging word and a smile to a total stranger. Make someones day. It could be your last.



Leaving for B'ham Tuesday morning. Romantic dinner with my sweetheart and day of tests and doctors appointments Wednesday @ UAB. I'll update you all when we get home.


  1. Hey Melinda!!! Sending lots of prayers and hugs your way!! After all this is over, in all your spare time(HAHA), you should write a book!! You are an awesome writer! Love you girl!!

  2. I came about your blog, because I am an Andy Andrews fan. Your blog is fresh and humorous and a very good read. Thank you for sharing.

    I wanted to let you know, as a cancer survivor myself, the road is very bumpy, but because of my encounter with cancer as well as other cancer patients my life has been revolutionalized and transformed in a primarily positive way. The further I am removed from the days of radiation and chemo, the more positive results I can see ... and in some ways cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me. It has totally changed my perspective, priorities and heart. It has also given me numerous opportunities to give to others in the same situation, when some of their friends or loved ones shy away due to fear or discomfort.

    I hope in some way, this rocky road for you can be a blessing in disguise also.

    You can do this ... you are stronger than you think and you are loved by more people than you will ever know.


  3. Melinda,
    I'm not really sure if we know each other but I found your blog through Darby's and then Darby's sis in law. I'm Kendall Callaway Boggs and I believe I went to school with one of the McClendons just not sure which one!!!! Your blog brought back memories. Becky Clark was my best friend and I had the opportunity to speak at her funeral. As I'm sitting here reading your blog I'm sobbing just thinking about her and how much I miss her. I hope that doesn't sound like a "downer" I just have to admit, I miss her terribly and think about her every day. Just remember what a fighter she was and how supportive everyone was with her. You can fight this, I just know it! I will be praying for you and for your family's and friend's support through this. You have mine!
    Good luck and God bless. I LOVE your attitude!
    Kendall Boggs

  4. Melinda, I really think that when you have a free moment ( which I know as a mom will NEVER happen, not to mention all the other things that take up your thoughts during the day)that you need to consider writing a column for the have a gift for writing!!!! The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you!!! Thinking of you daily and hoping I can somehow did get my fb message about using the Delta passes right? At some point you will need a little time to yourself. Think seriously about using them and taking a getaway with Ted. They are here for you just let me know when you need them...even if it is the night before you need to leave. Everything can be done on the phone. All you need to do is pay the taxes with a credit card and show up at the airport for the flight...standby I know, but is worth it if you are a little flexable!! We can talk about that later...give me your phone # in a message on Facebook!