Melanie Doerman’s Life Celebration

August 20, 2012

August 19th 2012,


the celebration of the life of Melanie Doerman. The day of.


It’s Sunday morning. Today is the 19th, August 19th. I learned of this date sometime in June. When all hell was breaking loose for me back in Ottawa. It was a target. A kind of Grail. Something to look up to, keep my eyes on, come hell or high water. Melanie’s Life Celebration event in California.


As all kinds of stuff came, went, passed, pushed, pulled, ripped and despite and thanks to all these things, I had kept my focus on making it here for the 19th.


The week before the celebration we had gathered at the Garden of Beaden, Irene’s bead shop, to paint cardboard skulls. There was to be 20 tables and those were to be the centerpieces. We painted, at first with a bit of hesitation, then gleefully the skulls. Melanie loved skulls.





Here are some samples resulting from our handiwork.

Then as the week end approached guests started to arrive. Saturday the house was full of friends and family. We had a directive not to cry, to be strong, this was to be a celebration not a funeral. We ate good food, there was drink, cake, natchos. All of this to tide us over until Sunday.


I had been asked to sing a song. I didn’t search too long. Melanie had asked me a few times to sing my song “Rise” from the Alien Suite back when I was here in 2010, but I wasn’t confident enough to do it as I had not played it in a long while.  So now I had my chance to redeem myself. Chances to redeem yourself cannot be ignored, they must be embraced. So Sunday morning I warmed up, prepared, started to get a picture of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to communicate and how I wanted to communicate it. Songs can be chameleons. Their meaning can morph, adapt, change, be enriched… just like us.  I wanted to make this one become Melanie, represent her, speak of her, speak to her.


The party was held at the Hip Kitty, a bar- restaurant I had been at in 2010 with Melanie and Asbjorn, I had witnessed the band Groove Session or “the boys” as everyone called them (two of the band members are Irene’s sons) perform there, I had really enjoyed myself.


Memories are also like songs, they can be morphed, adapted, changed and can be enriched by their owner, I stood there, matching my memories of the place with what I saw. It was a bit smaller than I remembered, not quite the same shape, but the lights above the stage were the same, it made me travel back in time, I saw myself sitting there, months ago…


Soon the skulls took their residence on the tables, an altar to Melanie’s memory was put together with her helmet and boots, some of her artwork, photos… then there were art pieces that were created in a Challenge. Every year the Garden of Beaden has this challenge where artists are given a theme and they create a piece. The pieces were aligned there, tribute to the master.

People started to come in. Hugs and more hugs, love. So much love.


Humans are so beautiful when they express their love. Here we were, most of these souls strangers to me but our mutual connection to Melanie made us all brethren, united, beautiful.

Here is the work of one soul. Here is the impossibly beautiful achievement of a life lived completely passionately and generously. It is so moving. So profound.


Oh my sister, how I miss you. How I love you. But my missing is a selfish thing. You came among us and followed your path with deep passion and engagement, keeping always your head high, your eyes on the road ahead, willing to discover, to search, to overcome and you did this with such grace. The gift of your friendship and sisterhood was a gift of such magnitude for me, something that changed my life forever and for better. How we laughed, how we cried, how we shared. Thank you.


Starting with Asbjorn, her husband, we then listened to the words of those who knew her, loved her, it was the chance to know a little more, share a little more, be with her a little more through her friends. Then there was a slide show, again, a chance to dive into her universe. The artwork, the friends, her magnificient smile, the motorcycle. A life, a work of art.

Songs came after, Melanie loved music, from heavy metal to sweet delicate songs.


Crystal sang the first song. “Soul sister” she would sing and I would feel it.


Then Forrest played his piano. I closed my eyes. It is much to take in.

The view from the stage :

Then it was my turn. I got up on the stage and the energy from the good people sitting there was unbelievable. I had been asked to sing 3 songs, so Rise was the last and for that last song I had asked all the musicians who were there to come and join me, then asked the audience to sing along :


Rise, rise

Become celestial body

Rise, rise

Forget the body


Take control

Liberate the soul

Mind over matter

Rise, rise, rise


The song rose, the voices rose, Forrest keeping the heartbeat. Then Crystal singing, Sarvenplaying his guitar, Ronnie his bass, and Manny delicately brought in cymbals then his drums. It was so beautiful. I actually am not sure how I kept it together, it was larger than me. I felt her spirit with us. I think everyone did. Rise, rise… All of us, as one, all together. This is one of those Gifts from life, from the Gods. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Then Groove Session played Pink Floyd’s Shine on Crazy Diamond and they put all their might into it, the fire of rock, searing guitars… Perfect.


Sometimes,  when you set your mind on one goal, persevere, hold on, you get such gifts in return. I could feel all the miles, from Ottawa, to Winnipeg, to the border crossing, all across North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, California, some 5000 kilometers.  I could feel all the times I had grabbed on to that decision to be here, to make it in time, all the times I feared I might not make it, all the plans A, B, C and D I was concocting to achieve the goal, all the times I said out loud that I was going to be there all the while wondering if I could make it.  How much I wanted to be right this time and how much I knew how plans can be foiled.  I hung on to the desire to be here for this date with my soul sister and the road opened for me.


Thank you for the gift of you Melanie.  Thank you for the gift of your world.  Love you Forever and Ever you adventuress, artist, lover of life, motorcycling amazon, discoverer of life’s secrets, bead magician, sorceress and enchanteress.



2 Responses to “Melanie Doerman’s Life Celebration”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    It was perfect. XXOO

  2. I knew I’d be in tears again by the end of this…

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