My daughter Melinda Jetley was born on the first day of spring. She was a happy baby, curious toddler and the easiest-going, fun-loving child. I do not have one photo of Melinda that she is not smiling. She was well liked by many and always ready for an adventure. I think that the first 6 years of her life that her dad stayed home with her, helped create her fearless side that made her game to try anything. She loved going fast on Dad's Harley, and atv on camping trips. She had her own electric scooter, go cart and mini bike and could not wait to be old enough to ski dive. Melinda LOVED animals, music and travel. She had a huge heart and loved to laugh and have fun. She also loved dressing up to go out for a nice meal or playing with snakes and frogs while camping.
Melinda was a great student, loved going to dance class after school, attended modeling school at 13 and got her first job at Wendy's when she was 15. When she was applying for colleges, she knew she wanted to live away from home and be independent. She took her education seriously was very disciplined at getting her schoolwork done before going out with her friends. It took a while before Melinda decided what to major in, but when she saw some family members struggling with addiction, she knew she would pursue her batchelor degree in phycology with an emphasis on drug and alcohol addiction.
When she graduated, she applied for a one year internship at a Rehab center in Oregon, and was the youngest person to ever be accepted and graduate a year later. We were so proud of her. While in training, during a counseling session, a patient had a seizure and she decided that at 23, she was not quite ready to take on that much responsibility. To our surprise, she told us that she was moving to San Diego (not knowing anyone there), to be a free spirit and live by the beach. She loaded whatever would fit in her car and headed down there to live with a male she found on Craigslist that was looking for a roommate. We were a bit worried but she had a pretty good head on her shoulder and was pretty street smart, that we felt she would make the right decision for her. Luckily, it did turn out well. She found work, made friends and was so happy with her decision to move there and very proud of herself that she was making it on her own. Melinda loved the weather, the beach and the night life. I knew that she liked to party with her friends, drinking and sometimes smoking pot. When she started going to music festivals I suspected she was experimenting with other drugs but she was a good worker and had always been responsible.
After working different jobs and having different roommates, Melinda fell in love. They dated for a while, moved in together and started planning a spectacular wedding. We attended this beautiful event in Sept 2017. They had their differences but Melinda was always optimistic and saw the good in everyone. They honeymooned in Thailand and Cambodia, went to Iceland and Barcelona and got to bring in the New Year at Times Square, NYC.
Melinda and I were very close and she would share her life with me and always said that she had the most supportive parents and that I always gave the best advice. As their first wedding anniversary was approaching, her and her partner were fighting a lot. They called me for my advice. Sounded like a power struggle to me and I told them to look at their differences as complimenting each other. They did not have to see everything the same, just respect each other. I guess the fighting got worse, exasperated by drinking and some drug use. I was not aware of the drug use but really thought they would work it out.
I was to find out later that Melinda had got some Xanax from a friend that she started taking to relieve the anxiety and stress from all the arguing maybe a month before her death. They started marriage counseling and had one visit and were feeling a little hopeful. I guess the word divorce got thrown out there and Melinda decided, she would move home Oct 1st. I was not sure if this was for good or just till they sorted everything out but we were excited to have her home.
The following Tuesday they were going to meet at counseling at 5 pm and bring their completed paperwork from the initial visit. Melinda took the day off work, went down to her favorite, secluded beach, to fill it out. Her partner called her at 4 and she said she would be at counseling at 5. She filled out her paperwork, apparently turned off her phone and took a xanax she had got from MX.
I got a call from her partner at noon the next day saying she did not show up at counseling or come home all night and they were worried. I started calling all her friends and no one had seen her. It was not like her not to call me if she was upset or not answer her phone. I kept trying to think that she just went off somewhere to think everything over. I know she was embarrassed to move home.
Just as I was trying to calm myself enough to go to bed, my phone rang at midnight. The San Diego medical examiner telling me that Melinda's body was found on the beach almost 24 hours later after she died from Fentanyl in the xanax.
I received the call because she had put her mom down as emergency contact on her counseling paperwork. We were in shock and heartbroken that our beautiful, smart and very loved daughter died sad and of a broken heart. This young lady was so happy and loving 95% of her life and this heartbreak made her make decisions so out of character for her. I believe Melinda was really going to make a difference in this world with all her positivity, intelligence, compassion and love of life. At her memorial I learned that she had touched many lives, was so loved by her friends and acquaintances, and how many ways she was similar to me that I never knew before. I lost my daughter and best friend in a second, from being poisoned. I know she made a choice to take the Xanax but not the choice to lose her life. She never would have chosen that.
This was in Sept of 2018. I met with the FBI task force that was formed to find and stop the fentanyl coming into the US. 10 people a day were dying from in it in San Diego. They started to get a handle on it until the rules became more lenient allowing more people to cross the border from MX. The problem is now 400% worse than 2018. This problem needs to become the focus of our government or we are going to keep losing our children to fentanyl poisoning.
I love and miss my girl dearly and know she will always be in my heart. I am so grateful for the 31 yrs I got to have her and for all the joy she brought us! Jane Jetley