Melissa is my niece, my sister's daughter, and the only child borne to our small family. It is too bad I never had a child, so my sister could experience what a joy it is to have a niece or nephew.
It was love at first sight when my sister had Melissa. I never knew how instantly love could evolve.
Theresa (Tree) and Melissa were always down at my parent's place, so she got to grow up around all of us. Her son now is much like her, able to hang out with adults and not be antsy or wild. We spent so much time together, that I felt like her second mother. But an aunt has a special bond that even mothers don't know about. It is not easy to explain, but I'm sure Melissa would agree with me.
When she was 5 years old, my sister and I brought her along on a bus trip cross country. 63 hours to Durango, CO. She was amazing, enjoying the ride, and never complaining. What an amazing kid.
The love she provides me is unlike any I have ever known.
When Melis was a teenager, we still continued to have great times with her. She loved Bon Jovi, and Skid Row, and so many rockers from back in the day. We went to concerts all the time, and even joined the Bon Jovi fan club when she was 16, so we could go on an adventure where we met the band. Good times, good times.
A while back, Melis was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had a double mastectomy, followed by a grueling course of chemotherapy. To say she triumphed throughout this is an understatement. Her strength and attitude were phenomenal. She kicked cancer's ass.
Today, Melissa is 39 years old, and the mother of Logan, who is 3 and a half. My love for her is vast, as is my love for her son. What joy she has brought to me over the past 39 years. There is nothing to compare to it.
I love you, Melissa.... as big as the sky.