When we found out we were headed into lockdown in 2020, we very quickly decided to invite our good friend Mel to move in with us. She lived in a one-bedroom apartment about 200 metres away so it wasn’t a big move. Each weekday morning, Mel would bravely grit her teeth and trudge up the hill to her flat to teach remotely (otherwise known as sucking the life out of everything redeemable about education) and she would return in the late afternoon.

At first, we sort of thought of it as looking after our friend. The thought of being alone during lockdown was unbearable. But it became obvious that Mel’s presence in our lives was actually benefitting all three of us. For Mel, it was a safety net in a time of potentially dangerous isolation – I think for others in a similar situation, the lockdown was horrific and dangerous. For Chris, Mel’s presence was a buffer to my unpredictable irritability and moodiness, a nightly conversation about COVID statistics, and a shared amusement for my tantrums and impulsive behaviours (see: cuts own hair into ‘shag’ do). For me, Mel represented humour and silliness, and play.

A lot of adults have forgotten how to play. But Mel and I understand what it means to play as adults. Get your minds above your belts, people! Even though some of you were bored enough to have entertained the idea that the three of us were involved in some sort of lockdown menage a trois, Mel didn’t make the height limit so that was never on the cards.

When I say play, I mean the act of fully leaning into purposeless, ridiculous, frivolous silliness and insanity. We took the shit sandwich that was almost a year of house arrest and turned it into entertainment and adventure. And of course, we made Magro play too. Lockdown Olympics. Festivus. Tiktok dances. If it was dumb and potentially injurious, we did it. And it made us laugh when there was nothing to laugh about. I know it made some of you laugh too.

And when the shit really hit the fan on the 30th September 2021; when Magro needed someone to drive him to the hospital and then pick him up again at 1:30 am, Mel was there for that too. And she has been here ever since. She has lived this nightmare with us every step of the way. And there is nothing we could ever do or say to thank her enough for what she has done.

Mel is the kind of quiet person who slowly opens up like a locked box of treasures with more locked boxes within. And every single layer inside is another joyful revelation. She is razor-smart. Witty. Funny. Rude. Mean. Creative. Inventive. Affectionate. Self-deprecating. Insightful. Empathetic. Centred. Generous. But mostly, the best caregiver (besides Magro) I have ever known.

To give you an example of what I mean, Mel and I spoke at length about my potential death and dying the other day. Nobody else is ready to do that with me yet and I find myself needing to occasionally air it out. That is how she is. She doesn’t want to but knows I need to, so she does.

She leaves our house today because we leave tomorrow for Sydney and more importantly, my family. I haven’t fully processed what it’s going to be like without Mel’s physical presence in our daily lives. It’s actually too hard to think about. Tears are running down my cheeks right now. It seems you can grieve people who are still very much alive.

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0 thoughts on “What about Mel?

  1. Oh man, this should have come with a warning – tissues required after reading this blog! Everyone needs a Mel, what a keeper. Thank God for video calls and open boarders. Safe travels tomorrow. xoxo

  2. Your beloved Mel, is the perfect friend personified and how blessed are you to have her. But I’m guessing she’s been pretty chuffed to have had you guys in her daily life too. Thinking of the three of you this weekend and in the coming weeks as you all begin your new living arrangements. Distance may keep you apart but nothing can break the incredible bond you have so courageously built together. The convos you’ve shared recently are the toughest ones to have but man do they allow you to see into one another hearts and souls. ♥️

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