“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” ― A.A. Milne
Anyone who knows me knows that this is not the usual garb for me to be getting around in. Anyone who had the privilege of knowing my sister Melanie Tamsyn would know this is right up her alley. And so on this day, her birthday, I am channeling my baby sister and remembering her with fond memories.
Melly was always the happiest of people. Her cheeks were the rosiest, her giggle the most infectious. At her funeral, my eulogy for her was all about colour, because that is what she was. Bright, beautiful colour. No greys or pale pastels – just smack-you-in-the-face colour, usually mismatched and with some animal print thrown in for good measure!
Mel never cared what people thought of her, she would zoom around in her little car with music blaring, singing at the top of her lungs with all the windows down. She’d encourage dad to do stupid things, which would embarrass me, but which she loved so much. Her crazy hair was indicative of her crazy nature – the first to line up for the biggest rides, the first to put her hand up to try something different, the first to laugh out loud at things that tickled her fancy.
But Melly also had a considered side to her personality. She was wise beyond her years and I wish I had taken the time to learn more from her, to hear her opinions and listen to her advice.
Mel never really spoke of being scared or being worried about her cancer. After she had died we found journals of hers, where she wrote of her worry for Mum and Dad when Mum was diagnosed. But there was nothing in there about her own illness. Outwardly, she never seemed scared. She once talked about feeling like she was a burden to all of us – I told her then and I hope she really listened, that she could never be a burden, she was the most brave, independent, strong, wonderful person.
None of us thought she’d lose. Right up to the day she died. She had beaten it once before, she’d beat it again, surely?
While we weren’t as lucky second time around, what Melly has left us (besides a hole in all our hearts) is 28 years of wonderful memories and lessons for us to always remember her by. On how to make the most of every moment. On how to raise your hands up in the air and let the rollercoaster take you to that place of fear, so you can reach that place of exhilaration. On how to laugh like there is no tomorrow. On how to love till your heart is full, and then love some more. On how to notice the little things, like a bird dancing on a branch, or a raindrop sliding down the window, or the sweet taste of chocolate icecream, and to not forget how special those little things are.
One of the last things Mel saw was a news report on the catwalk styling for Melbourne’s fashion week when animal prints were all the rage… she could only open one eye, but her smile told us she knew full well what was going on. So, here Kalee and I are today in our Day 8 Animal Print Frocks, in memory of the most wonderful girl.
Melly, four years on, my heart still aches for you, I still can’t hear Izzy’s song without crying, and I’m pretty sure that will never change. We’ll have a Corona for you today and I’ll keep an eye out for the brightest coloured butterfly. I just wish you were still here. Kalee Tamsyn would have loved her Aunty Melly. Happy birthday my darling sister x
“[She] was the colour of someone buying you an ice cream cone for no reason at all.” — When did you see her last? Lemony Snicket.