Saturday, June 16, 2007

Good Bye My Good Friend

Our Overlord!
Our dear friend Melissa Loewen was killed yesterday in a car crash. This is the only picture I have of her, she tended to get up tight around cameras. Can't believe how much of an impact she had on Sarah, Kim and I in just a year. Right now, I wish I could convey how much this woman was alive with love and grace.

update: A few people have found this page googling for Melissa Loewen. There was a story in today's Hearld but they don't mention her by name. Not sure how long the story will be available.

update II: The Calgary Sun has a story that adds one bit of information: The car the woman was driving was hit on the passenger door by an eastbound Mercury Sable, said Mounties, who believe she was wearing a seat-belt. I know a number of us had wondered about the seat-belt thing.

update III: Kevin has posted his goodbye to Melissa. Thing is I was thinking today how I'm quite sure it was Melissa who first invited me to tag along to a post Xalt function. I know she was the first to invite Sarah along to something, even if I couldn't go. She had a way of making people feel welcome and at ease.

updte IV: From the Calgary Herald: School Mourns Popular Music Teacher

Last week, Grade 5 Langdon School student Andrew Culver was all set to earn a "yellow belt" in music class.

Popular music teacher Melissa Loewen had come up with the idea of awarding students with different colour belts, like in karate, as an incentive to learn new songs.

All Andrew had to do was play his part in a recorder duet.

"Me and my friend were trying to pass a song to exceed a grade level," Culver said Saturday.

"But my friend couldn't stop laughing in the middle of the song."

That's when Loewen stepped in.

Together, she and Culver piped out the tune Chatter with Angels on their recorders -- earning the youngster his passing grade and earning the favourite teacher another glowing accolade.
The well-liked teacher was known for finding creative ways to make music class fun, teaching everything from recorders and xylophones to musical Jeopardy and new dances for the Christmas play.

News of the accident spread quickly through the hamlet.

"It's very hard on the community," said Anita Wagner, whose two children attend the kindergarten-to Grade 8 school. "It's very sad. The kids did very much like her."

Loewen taught music and art to most of the school's 550 students.

Wagner sat down with her children Saturday to break the devastating news.

"We wanted them to be able to talk about it, and get their feelings in the open and not be presented with it at school," she said. "It's just really harder when this happens in a small community, and when she's so young."

On Friday afternoon, teachers had held a retirement party for the school's outgoing librarian.

Loewen helped organize the event and stayed behind to help clean up. She was heading into Calgary when the crash occurred, Wagner said.

We'd been talking about vocation a couple of weeks ago, and Melissa made it very clear it was the kids that mattered to her. I was glad to see this article captured that.

Update V: Nat posts
It was just last Sunday she sat on our living room couch with us as we enjoyed ice cream sundaes, sharing embarrassing moments and summer plans, and she excitingly talked about her plans to travel to Australia. She was full of life, of heart and plans for the future.
Update VI: Ed and Debbie have blogged their thoughts. I need to add an amen to Debbie's thought about Melissa "you who fit perfectly in all of our lives and who seemed like you had always been there".

Update VII: Melissa's obituary has been published. I'd like to thank everyone who's taken time to share there memories of Melissa, she touched so many lives in such short time. It's been truly beautiful to read your comments.

Upate VIII: From Lisa Smith - Dear Melissa,

It has been several weeks, and some days I still don't believe that you're gone. It is too much of an impossibility that someone so vitally young and alive could somehow not be anymore. And I don't think you'd ever realize how big of a gap you left. I still feel ill at the fact that I didn't do more. In the rush of preparing to rush off to yet another foreign country, all the funeral details passed me by. I couldn't even find a moment to write of how much I'll miss your steady, gentle, organized and hilarious presence in my life. But maybe the seeming unreality of it all kept me from this moment. I think I'm still in shock. However, I'm writing to you now, with apologies for the tardiness.

Click Dear Melissa to read the rest.

- Peace


Rodney Olsen said...

I can't even begin to imagine how you must be feeling right now.

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.

Nat said...

You, your family and all of the dear member from your church I have meet over the past month will definitely be in my prayers and thoughts this week.

Monica Klassen said...

Thank you for posting this pic and farewell. Melissa is my cousin. I live in BC and will not beable to travel to be with our family for the funeral. She was such a kind and generous heart, calm and reassuring. I will miss her.

Do you have anymore photos of her that you can post??

The last time I saw her was at our Oma's funeral in December.

Anonymous said...

Melissa worked at McKenzie Lake School right after she finished University. She was a wonderful teacher and a kind and generous person. I still think of her often, and I send my deepest condolences to all her friends and family. She will be missed. Shannon

Regan Tate said...

Melissa was the very first friend I made twenty-six years ago when my family moved into our new house. We grew up together and spent countless days riding our bikes and hanging out in her playhouse. She loved piano and I'm not surprised she became a music teacher. I can't believe this has happened to her. My heart goes out to all friends and especially her family.

Dave King said...

Rodney: I just keep moving from shock, to grief to thankfulness. Sometimes all at once. The community that Melissa helped make me a part of has been wonderful.

Monica, I don't but Xalt will be collecting a set of pictures to give to the family, I think there will be a hard copy and electronic version.

Shannon, Regan thank you so much for sharing.

- Peace

Anonymous said...

I went to school with Melissa. Can you please advise on funeral details so I may attend? Thank you. Sandra

Dave King said...

Hi Sandra,

Internment will be 11 am Friday the 22 at Queen's Park Cemetery. We'll be meeting at the entrance off 4th St NW. The cemetery is just north of 30 th Ave.

At 2:30 we'll be gathering to celebrate Melissa's life at Dalhousie
Community Church.

- Peace

Anonymous said...

I have known Melissa since before i can remember. She baby-sat me, played with me taught me and loved me. Mellis, i miss u more than you know. Thank you for 22 years of memories. I cant wait to dance with you in heaven

Amanda G

Anonymous said...

miss lowen was my fav teacher i loved her very much



p.s.i was her student

Anonymous said...

It just hit me that Melissa Loewen was around my age when she started attending Xalt. I remember in September, after the first service I attended at Xalt you Dave, and Melissa immediately introduced yourselves. That night I went home in awe by the overwhleming sense of community I felt at our church.
Melissa welcomed, she loved, and she shared her gifts. Though I did not realize it at the time, for a brief but powerful moment our spiritual journeys instersected. Someone at Xalt this Sunday said that Melissa was a pillar of our church - I think that is true. I can't imagine what my life here in Calgary would have been like had I not come to Xalt and been welcomed into the community so openly.
In the same way that Melissa invited you to community Dave, she also invited me, Sarah and every other person she touched. Melissa's welcoming and gentle spirit, her vibrant personality and her love for life have inspired me to seek the same fullness and light in which Melissa walked.
Melissa I do not mourn for you, for you are with our Father now. I mourn for your family, your friends, your students, Xalt, and my own loss. I mourn for the world that you never got the chance to be embraced by you. Melissa, thank you for inviting me. Thank you for calling me goat girl. Thank you for your gentle spirit.
The depth of loss that I feel is indescribable but somehow from this feeling of loss comes an overwhleming sense of gratitude for the delicate work of our Creator, appreciation for the hand that guides all things and awe for the mercy of Christ.

Goodbye friend, go in peace.
Melissa Sanesh

Anonymous said...

I attended the same schools as Melissa and I remember her walking in the hallways, she had blonde hair then.. and I always remembered her having a smile on her face!!!! It saddens me to find out she passed!! My heartfelt Condolences go out to her family and to her friends and the young students who had the chance to experince her love for music!

Anonymous said...

Kevin and Dave,

Thank you very much for posting many pics of Melissa. Although Meliss and I have been very close for my whole life, I do not have many pics of her. I guess I always assumed she'd be there..(we also stink at remembering cameras)The scrapbook that you and her other friends made for the funeral was beautiful. Lori, Harold and Steve will love it. it truly captured hor love of God, nature and her friends..she spoke often of her hiking trips. You guys meant alot to her

God Bless,
Amanda Gerlitz

Karl said...

My thoughts and prayers to you Dave and to friends and family.


Alex Henry said...

I was her student before her death, the last time i saw her is when i was 10. I said to her "see you on Monday". but on Monday the students and staff were sad about her death. I was one of the students that were sad :(