I picked up my phone, I clicked on the Facebook icon, the news feed came up, and my heart skipped a beat. Before I knew it tears were in my eyes and I was overwhelmed with sadness. I just learned the sad news that my friend Melanie Swinden had passed away hours earlier.
Her BFF Barbara Buffington had made the announcement that she has passed away after a coma along with her beloved Aunt Mae. Adding salt to the wound, Barbara also included she died as a result of “a drunk driver, going 80 MPH, on a winding road, in a 40-mile zone, who survived the crash with minimal injury, had caused the accident.”
As I live in Toronto, and Mel lived in California, I had never met her “personally” but what rang in my head as I’ve heard the discussion a thousand times before was how do people get caught up and attached to “virtual friends” and that they are not the same as real flesh and blood ones that you can shake their hand as you have met them face to face. I knew in my heart, once and for all that this was simply not true.
In our world, we live in many plains of understanding, and one of the deepest is connecting on values and in conversations of the intellect. This is where I met Mel over three years ago, as I kept on being inspired by her posts, and apparently mine inspired her as well. She had joined the Positive Imperative Facebook Group, which is really where the community lives and interacts. Over the three years she became one of the key members with one of the highest volumes of posts, but more than that likely inspired and engaged in more conversations than just about any other member, me included.
But this is a positive blog you say? Oh yes that’s right. Holistic Positivity has never ignored negativity in the world (see mass shootings – 3 things must change and 3 ways to respond), but we have said, one of the most important ways to affect positivity is indeed how we respond to negativity. To always ignore it, is simply neutral, especially when it would mean not celebrating the life of one of our most ardent supporters and contributors.
That’s the purpose of this blog. My positive take-a-ways will be, one to carry Mel in my heart and reflect upon her contributions more than ever. Secondly, to be even more vocal on the issue of drinking and driving than I have been in the past. Educate – Educate both cause and effects. Thirdly that life is precious and any one of us can be gone from this planet in an instant, and lastly that and that both myself and many members of the Positive Imperative Community have been blessed by her wit, kindness and love. Those of us who were lucky enough to have had a personal connection with her will be the better for it for the rest of our lives.
As for the drunk driver, I wonder if Mel would have had the courage to forgive him, but only after a severe tongue lashing, but in light of her favorite quote, I wouldn’t put it past her.
Mel’s Fav. quote.
Social Media has a way of changing the world, and one of the strangest ways is that often you can pretty much write your own epitaph.
Here is Mel’s in her own words.
I’m a woman, who is not defined by her job, or career, but by the caring interpersonal relationships she cultivates with others. A positive attitude and a sense of humor, with the ability to laugh at ones self, are essential. A healthy outlook toward the world includes the knowledge that we cannot control all of the forces around us. When we give up control, to the guiding force, with patience and faith we can will ourselves to overcome the obstacles we encounter in our journey. Acknowledging that truth, kindness and love ensure happiness and inner peace, gives us our most important motivation to produce and foster goodness and create harmony throughout our lives. If you believe all that I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, too… Ha, ha, ha! Live, love, be kind to others and express your creativity. That’s what it’s all about….
Ah yes, while every word was her true sentiment, you can also see her clever wit. Thank you Mel. We’ll keep you in our hearts,
Melanie Swinden May 15, 1970 – May 26, 2015. ~ RIP
Big hugs, enjoy each day and count your blessings.
Positive Imperative/Positive Music Imperative founder.