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
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
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
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: