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Debbie McWilliams's Gift
Debbie McWilliams, the mother of Tim, who was a high school classmate of Meghan, asked students to send in their remembrances of her and bound the letters in a beautiful book for the Birdsall family. They provide wonderful insights into how Meg touched people with her presence. To read a letter, click on the name of one of Meghan's friends.

Dana Pannullo
Carleigh McWilliams
Jim Crabb
Annette P. Benedict
Sean McLaughlin
Janelle Barnes
Nicholas Pentz
Stella Fiore
Carolyn M. Yankowski
Anthony D'Avella
Edward Chang
Jeremy Kidde
Lauren Saginaw
Kirsten Cavallo
Joan Szabo
Courtney Kaczynski
Janelle Liparulo
Glen Szabo
Dori Levitt
Lynze Szabo
Anne Marie Leduc
Cynthia H. McWilliams
Alexis Silver
Tim McWilliams
Jaime DeVito
Melissa Welborn
Meghan's Journal & Letters
If you would like to add
your reminiscence,
please send it to:

Meghan P. Birdsall
Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 613
Essex Fells, NJ 07021
Or click here to email it to us.

About Meghan ("Megbird")

Meghan Birdsall, the youngest of Jerry and Nancy Birdsall's three children, grew up in Essex Fells, attending Essex Fells Elementary School and, in 1996, graduating with honors from West Essex High School.

Intelligent, confident, and graceful with an artistic flair, she embraced life with her own special spirit. Upon graduation she took off to Boston, a Mecca of education that attracts college students from around the world. Meghan enrolled at Boston University and focused on earning a degree in communications.

In June 1998, she was riding her bike near the University when she was struck down and killed by a hit and run driver, who remains at large and anonymous.

Her loss was deeply felt by all who came to know Meghan in both her hometown and Boston. Many of her friends wrote letters to the family about what Meghan meant to them; and the Birdsall family with the help of a fund-raising committee established the memorial Scholarship in Meghan's honor.

Ray of Light by Stella Fiore
         Stella Fiore met Meghan at Boston University in their freshman year. She wrote this eulogy and delivered it in her speech class. The University was very helpful and supportive to all of Meghan's friends there.
         "Stella, I have to tell you something. It's about Meg. She was riding her bike on Commonwealth Avenue. It was pretty late Saturday night. She had her walk-man on, you know and Stel, she got hit by a car and um"
         Meg did love music: hip-hop, house, Madonna. I remember seeing her at a party once. There she was in the middle of a crowded basement, dancing as if no one else was there. She had this smile on her face that I can still see so clearly. It made me feel like jumping in and dancing with her- laughing, flirting, being silly and carefree. But I hid behind drunken strangers. What she felt at that moment, who she was, seemed untouchable to me.
         When I think of Meg, the word cool comes to mind. Meg was the coolest person I have ever met. I can't explain exactly why or how. There was just something about her that was different. She had presence. She was effortlessly beautiful, the embodiment of grace and confidence. She loved buttered popcorn, dark nail polish, Beverly Hills, and Jeopardy. Her hands were tiny - tinier than mine- with them, she taught me how to make origami flowers.
         Meg was fearless; I thought she could do or be anything. I think she believed she was invincible too. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I felt so afraid as I cried on the phone. Meg was my friend, not my grandfather who died of lung cancer after months of chemotherapy or my great-grandmother who died peacefully in her sleep of old age. Meg wasn't supposed to die- not to me. She was too alive. No one my age was supposed to die, not yet. We were going to be juniors. We had to graduate and get jobs and get married, have kids and grow old. If she could die, I could die too. One day, I would.
         I weakly hung up the phone and sat on the floor. I remember taking a deep breath and for the first time in my life, I felt thankful to be breathing. Amazed almost. There I was living and my friend wasn't. Every breath, in and out, was one breath more than she had taken. Every moment from then on was a gift and whatever happened, good or bad, would be better than nothing.
         I think Meg's reason for being here was to teach the people who knew and loved her to embrace life and to enjoy what they have and who they are. Not to worry about things that don't really matter, but to experience as much as you can. To make the most of the time you're given. Not to waste a moment or wait for someday to say or do what's really in your heart. Not to hide because you think something is untouchable.
         I feel sad and angry that my friend is gone. It doesn't feel fair or right. But I feel these things more for myself and for her family and friends because we have to be without her. Somehow, I know that wherever Meg is, she's happy and free. And she's smiling because she knows she's had the best time.
         I had plans to go clubbing the night I got that phone call. Something told me not to stay home. Meg wasn't the type of person who would sit home, feeling sorry and I wasn't going to be either. I was going out there to be a part of the world. If for nothing but the sake of her memory, I was going to dance my heart out. And I did. I danced in the middle of the club as if no one else was there. I danced all night because I knew she never could again. I danced for the both of us.
         At the end of the night, I heard this song. It felt like a little message from Meg:

Meghan at age 4
Meghan at age 4
Meghan at age 6
Meghan at age 6
Meghan at age 9
Meghan at age 9
Meghan at age 15
Meghan at age 15
High School Graduation
High School Graduation

        Faster than the speeding light, she's flying
        Trying to remember where it all began
        She's got herself a little piece of heaven
        Pleading for the time when earth shall be as one
        Quicker than a ray of light she's got herself a universe
        And I feel like I just got home
        Quicker than a ray of light she's flying.
        From a song by Madonna

Kate Horton and Anne Ledoc's Gift
Eleven months later, on May 5, 1999, Meg's birthday, two of her friends, Kate Horton and Anne Ledoc, had the International Star Registry name a star in Meghan's honor. The star formerly known as Camelopardalis RA 4h 30m 45s D 61o 43' is now known as the Meghan Birdsall star.


Meg's Star is in red circle.

College Friends: Kate Horten, Meg, Sarah Andrews, Michelle Lezaja and Kate Broderick