First, let me say, I am extremely humbled in making this request. Some of my friends may recall that, over a year ago, I had created a GoFundMe fundraiser for a dear friend who was homeless and in dire need. I could not have imagined then, that I would be asking for help, myself, today, but as I have recently learned, life as we know it can forever change in an instant.
My name is Melissa Williams. If you know me very well, you will know that I recently survived a personal tragedy that has changed my life forever. Words can’t adequately describe the loss. Ryland and I had been in love for a long time, but because of various complicated circumstances, and frankly plain stupidity on both our parts, we didn’t get together and “make it official” until April of this year. I have never loved anyone so completely, so deeply, in so many ways, who felt the same. I felt the truth of that love. He was an incredible human being and the world is a much darker place without him. He was my love, my bestfriend, my partner, my constant companion. Since his unexpected and untimely death a month ago, I have been struggling to assemble the pieces of my shattered life. We were so happy together and we had so many plans. When I was laid off from my job in May, he asked me to not return immediately to a regular 9-5 job, but to work with him on his business, and to help to grow it. We were both so excited about the possibilities. I worked with him, taking care of his plant maintenance accounts. We were working on a flyer and a website to earn more business and he was teaching me what he’d learned from years of doing it. It was wonderful. It was the happiest time of my life. We lived and worked and did everything together, and since his death, I have found myself not only swallowed by grief but struggling financially. Ryland and I had intended to become business and life partners, legally. We had intended to do a lot of things, none of which will ever happen now. He took care of my financial needs in exchange for my help with his business, but since he is gone, I have no income yet, despite my best efforts to recover and begin earning again..
While money should be the least of my concerns, it’s an unfortunate reality that there are practical things I need help with right now. I do still have to keep my phone on, pay for car insurance and repairs for my rattletrap vehicle (so I can reliably get to and from job interviews and then work), food, hygiene products, a storage until to keep my things in for when I am able to get my own apartment again...the list seems endless when I think of it, but these seem like the most critical and time-sensitive things to help me get going again.
Understand that in comparison with the loss of his life, nothing else really matters. I am so broken, so shattered by this loss, that I would give up anything for just a few more minutes with him. Unfortunately, bargains like that aren’t possible. His mother has her own financial concerns and unbearable grief. She was his business partner previously, but the business has been dissolved. He had asked me to marry him, and I had said yes, of course. He had asked how I wanted to be proposed to “officially”, but like so many of our dreams, that never came to fruition. In the sweetest bloom of our love, he died, and now everything I’d been looking forward to, counting on, wanting with all my heart, is ashes.
Despite the unbelievable pain, I am listening to everyone who tells me that it will get easier with time, and I am trying each day to make progress--put one foot in front of the other. I am applying for jobs. I am seeking bereavement counseling and treatment. I’m trying my best to re-assemble my life now that my partner has gone forever. My mother’s husband was unwilling to let me stay with him and my mom while I tried to put myself back together, for reasons that are still not quite clear to me. He put me out of their house 2.5 weeks after Ryland’s death. I guess he thought I should have been “over it” by then. My mom loves me dearly and we talk or text every day, but she is not in a position to help me--all of her money comes from her husband since she is retired--and I was lucky to get a few bucks from him in exchange for the house-key to be able to drive away with two suitcases full of clothes. My closest friend, Dana McNabb, and her brother Glen, have been kind enough to take me into their home, for which I am eternally grateful. Without them I would be homeless. I’ll never be able to properly express my gratitude for the help they are giving me right now. I have a safe place to lay my head, and kind, understanding friends to talk to, when they aren’t working their tails off themselves. It’s important to me that I get back to work soon and begin to help out with more than a little housework--and ultimately get into my own place--but until then I am running into some financial difficulties, which is why I am swallowing my pride and making this request for personal donations. My sister and father are both very emotionally supportive as well, but neither is currently in a position to help me with all that I need financially, although they have both helped in every way they can--including paying for my medication recently, and bringing me shampoo and things when I was in the hospital immediately after Ryland’s death. My grandmother was also kind enough to give me some money, but she is on a fixed income herself, and it’s remarkable how quickly a few bills can eat up what you have.
I am fortunate that I do not have to pay rent, but I do have other bills that are coming due or that are past due. I have needs like gas money and the ability to buy food and toiletries. Phone bill, car insurance, maintenance and repair on my already dodgy vehicle--all of these things are hanging over me and must be taken care of, especially if I am to get back to work, which I am honestly trying to do. I’m not lazy. Emotionally, I am a wreck, but I don’t expect to lay in bed crying all day forever while other people foot the bill. Frankly, as much as it terrifies me, I think getting back to work could be good for me psychologically. Perhaps it will help to distract me from the constant horror of remembering how he looked when I found him, the unending pain in my heart, and of always thinking of all that I have lost. Some people don’t realize how long I knew him (since I was 15) and how long we had been in love. We didn’t go public with it until April, so many people seem think that it was a brief or trivial love affair. It was not. Not that it matters, but it’s difficult for many people to understand how monumental this loss is, and how much it has taken from me.
I’ve submitted my resume for several jobs in the last week. I AM trying. I only ask that, if you are able, you donate a bit of money to help me get through this in-between phase while I’m trying to get back on my feet. Even if it’s just $5. If you are unable, I completely understand, and please know I would never ask if I were not in such a difficult position. I know I should have had savings. I know I should have been prepared for a catastrophe. Unfortunately, nothing could have prepared me for this. I also know it may be in bad taste for me to write this myself, but Dana is currently working 12-hour days to keep a roof over both of our heads. I thought it would be easier if I just tried on my own. Anything you can give is appreciated more than I can say. Including (if you live close by to Westland) helping me to change the oil in my car or giving me a call or sending me a message now and then just to see how I’m doing. I am not sure if I’ll ever be truly happy again. My hopes for the future have pretty much been reduced to getting through each day. People say this will get easier, and right now, I can do nothing but take that on faith. But I am determined not to be a burden. I am determined to try to make myself well again. I have to believe that it’s what Ryland would have wanted. I know it’s what my friends and family want. If you’ve read this far, thank you for taking the time to do so. If you are able to help, believe that I will pay it forward when I am able. No one should have to go through this kind of grief. My heart aches for every person who does. And I will close by saying what I have been trying to tell everyone recently, especially the people I love the most: Cherish every minute with your loved ones. Take time to reflect on all of the good things you have and be grateful for them. A little over a month ago I had never been happier. My future was mapped out and I was on top of the world. I was glowing and fulfilled. Sometimes life can turn on a dime. Keep your loved ones close and enjoy every minute of life that you can. Thank you for your time and consideration. All my love, Melissa.
PS: Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. If you don’t have money but have other ways to help, including book suggestions, local survivor support group suggestions, etc. or just a kind word, I would be happy to hear from you.
- Steven Sapir
- Jonathan Schang
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