Melissa Hudgins

I’ve been avoiding this post… but I know that I need to write it.

My sister Melissa Hudgins died very unexpectedly on Sunday evening this week. She was 43 years old, and living in Las Vegas at the time. Surviving her in Las Vegas are her husband, her 18 year-old son, and 16 year-old daughter. She had an older brother and an older sister, and me, her baby brother.

I have so many things to say on this topic… About Melissa, about her death, and the future without her. But for now, I just want to talk about my sister as I remember her.

Being 11 years older than me, and growing up in different households (she’s one of the children of my father’s first wife, whereas I’m the child of his second) we didn’t spend a tremendous amount of time together in my formative years. She did live with us in Florida for awhile when I was very young, but I don’t know for how long. Most of what I know about her living with me comes from the stories my parents are fond of telling.

I have one memory of living with my sister Melissa: when I was a little boy, I used to always want to know what time it was. And I distinctly remember tip-toeing into her bedroom one Saturday morning, gingerly waking her up, and asking her what time it was. I remember her groggily looking at the clock, mumbling that it was half-past, and falling back asleep.

And I remember that I hesitantly thanked her and shuffled out of the room, closed the door, and stood next to it for what seemed like an eternity, anxiously debating my next course of action… But finally, I worked up the courage to tip-toe back in, and tentatively woke her up to ask, “Half-past what?”

Several years later, I remember my parents and I went to visit her, though I can’t recall where. I just remember that I discovered then that Melissa and I shared a love for books, and had many of the same favorite authors. (Not surprising, since it was our sister Janet that got me into reading fiction for grown-ups… but the story of Janet and me is a different blog entry altogether.)

Years after that, I remember she came to visit us in Florida. I was around 16 at the time, if my math is right… I just remember that she had a toddler with her, and a baby in her belly. And I didn’t see her again for 14 more years.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2008, Sal and I visited Las Vegas. It just so happens that Melissa and her family were living there at the time, so we had made plans to spend an evening with them. I’ve chronicled that in detail in a blog entry years ago, but the short version is that we enjoyed a bit of time at their home and a lovely dinner together. It was terrific, and we vowed to not let it be another 14 years before we did it again.

For the last two years, Sal and I have both been trying to find a good time to go back and visit. We enjoyed Las Vegas, had a great time seeing my family, and spent quality time with some friends of his as well. It just… didn’t work out. And now, I’m finally going back, but it’s to say goodbye.

Melissa and I were very alike, in a number of ways. I was so happy to be reunited with her two and a half years ago, and was delighted to keep up with her via Facebook, txt msging, and the occasional phone call. I’d even sent her a txt msg as recently as the week before her death, saying that I wanted to check in and see how she was doing, and that we should talk by phone soon.

We didn’t. And now we can’t.

Now the best thing I can do is be out here in Nevada with the family and hope that my presence somehow adds a hint of comfort. I may not see my family often — and I’m practically a stranger to Melissa’s husband, son, and daughter, though I adore them all from the little time I’ve spent with them — but I can’t imagine not being out here to pay my respects.

I’ll miss you, Sissy Missy. Rest in peace.

Visiting Melissa in March, 2008

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14 Responses to Melissa Hudgins

  1. Micki says:

    Kevin, I know you will hear it a dozen times, but I hate this for you and am so sorry for you and your family.

    I know how it is to have family that is not close both physically and emotionally- I never met either of my mom’s brothers until a few days before her death, and don’t think any of them had seen each other for many many years prior to that.

    You need anything, buddy, just call. Food, petsitting, wine, whatever. Hugs to you, take care!

  2. Evie says:

    K – I have never posted to your blogs – but read them always. I couldn’t let this post go by without saying how I am thinking of you, and know what it is like to lose a family member. We never know how quickly a day, turns into a week, then turns into a year, and so on……… I am thinking of you during this time – and I am always here if you need anything!! Love and hugs – Evie~

  3. Ken Mosser says:

    Kevin

    So sorry to hear about Melissa. I think I may have met her once when we were up in the D. D. area. My heart goes out to you and your family. Wanted to let you know that what you had to write about your sister was beautiful and I know that she has read it and says “thanks little brother, I loved you, too”. Take care of yourself and come see us sometime. Ken

  4. Dixie says:

    Kevin, thank you so much for being there this past week. I also want to thank you for the beautibul things you said about Melissa. I am still unable to write or think too much and have no words to cover what needed to be said. Thank you again. Dixie

  5. kyle huffstetler says:

    she was a great person and will be missed by a lot of people. i am so sorry for your loss

  6. Randy Behrends says:

    I’m so sorry Kevin and Dixie. Dixie and Melissa used to work with me at Chesapeake Division at the Navy Yard in DC. I always liked Melissa and she used to wear earrings made out of feathers. I know you and Dixie will miss her deeply.

    Joe Tewes adds his condolences also.

  7. Sherri Baker says:

    Kevin,
    I have to tell you I am stunned about this news. I mentored Melissa when we worked at DFAS here in DC and I watched her bloom. The last I knew was that she had gotten her 13/14 at EPA and I was so proud of her. What happened? I just found out and the tips of my fingers are still numb. Please let me know how this could have happened. Sincerely, Sherri Baker

  8. […] Melissa England Hudgins (350) […]

  9. Nicole Sikora Heschong says:

    Kevin – I am so very, very sorry. My thoughts and hugs are with you and your family.

  10. Micki says:

    As always, big hugs and good thoughts to you.

  11. Clifford Lowrie says:

    Kevin – I’m shocked and saddened to read your post. I worked with your sister at DFAS and lost touch with her when she moved to Las Vegas – she was a good person – a little goofy but a good person – I always knew where she stood and she was honest. My prayers go out to you and your family – very very sad.

  12. […] realized after I typed that sentence that I said virtually the same thing after five years ago when my sister died.) But I’ve resisted writing anything, much less posting anything, out of respect for my […]

  13. […] But some were cards from family members. He actually had some cards from his daughter — my deceased sister Melissa — from many years ago, wishing him a happy Father’s […]

  14. […] realized after I typed that sentence that I said virtually the same thing after five years ago when my sister died.) I’ve resisted writing anything, much less posting anything, out of respect for my […]

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