A New Normal

I’ve been wanting to write this post for weeks, but it’s been hard to find the right words and I need to get them just right.

An hour after I published my announcement about Collide getting published with Evernight Teen, I received devastating news. News which two months later still breaks my heart, and will have a lasting effect forever.

My brother passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. At first, I thought what most people would in my shoes. No way. Not possible. There must be some kind of mistake. He was only forty-four, was not ill, and had no health issues that I was aware of. How could something like this happen? It’s not fair that he’s gone. It just isn’t.

My brother was a thoughtful, generous soul, one I wish I appreciated more when he was around. He knew that I loved him, but I regret not having done more for him and with him, and I’ll never get the chance to do that over. Not a day has passed where I haven’t thought of him, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, if ever.

I miss him dearly. It’s odd to no longer get text messages from him, or to hear his voice on the other side of the phone.But, probably the weirdest thing of all is that I can almost deal with missing him. It’s knowing that he’s never coming back that really hurts.

What I’m about to say is totally cliché, but it’s never felt more true to me. Hug your loved ones. Tell them and show them how much they mean to you, because you never know which time will be the last.

When I started sharing the horrible news, I received encouraging words from a writing friend. She had lost her mother two years earlier right around the same time of year, and her insight had comforted me more than she probably knows. She encouraged me to grieve, and to not expect any sort of “normal” until a new normal finds its way past the pain. Thank you, Sharon, for reminding me that, at some point, things will feel okay again.

And, so I go on, searching for my new normal…


  1. says

    I’m glad you’re on the path to that new normal I mentioned. There are no shortcuts along the way, I’m sorry to say. But your friends are here for you…in any way you need.
    AND I’m so excited about your YA novel. Can’t wait to read it. Love to see all the successes with the Pen Sisters.

    • melissa says

      Thanks, Sharon! Your words bring me comfort. And, I’m very excited for my upcoming release, too. It’s nice to have something to squee about amidst all the changes…

  2. says

    Melissa, I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost a very dear friend of mine last Memorial Day. She just died. There is not a day that I don’t miss her or think of her. I’ve even been known to start an email to her, but then kick myself, wondering what I was thinking.

    Sharon was right. Grieve in your own way, at your time, at your pace until the new normal takes over. It will. Eventually. Your brother will never be gone. Just out of site.. Kind of like watching that ship disappear in the sunset. Just because you can’t see it sailing to the other ends of the world, doesn’t mean it’s not there. You’ll see him again someday. Hold his memory close. I’m sure he’s smiling down on you and guiding you in ways you can’t imagine.


    I’m so thrilled for your novel.

    • melissa says

      Jenny, I’m so sorry for your loss as well. Your comment brought tears to my eyes! It’s tough, but we just have to move forward while we remember them fondly. The shock of it all, which you’ve experienced also, doesn’t make it any easier, either.

  3. says

    Wise words, Melissa. I’m so sorry and can see how much you loved him.
    I’m excited for your new book.
    Now I’ll sign this…
    The other Sharon ☺️

    • melissa says

      Hi Sharon, Thank you. I’m excited also, though it feels a little bittersweet. My brother babysat many a Sunday so I could go write this book. I know he would’ve been happy for me, and that helps with the healing a little.