The Bel Esprit Project

Liz Finegan was a classmate of mine at Hamilton College. We didn’t travel in the same social circles, but I always knew her as a very nice and intelligent person. If you’re a women’s soccer fan, you would know Liz Finegan’s daughter Emily Menges, one of the top defenders in the National Women’s Soccer League and a two-time champion with the Portland Thorns.

But today’s blog post will not focus on my interactions with Liz Finegan at Hamilton College, nor on the superlative career of Emily Menges.

This blog post will discuss the Menges family’s memories and honoring of Bobby Menges, who passed away at age 19 after an extremely long battle with Stage IV Neuroblastoma and cancer.

I preface this by stating that the memories of the Menges family – chronicled in a blog portal known as the Bel Esprit Project, which is newly attached on my blogroll – is at equal moments heartfelt, emotional, uplifting and reverent. It chronicles a life fully realized, one for which every moment was treated as a mountain summited, every obstacle a challenge to combat. In several posts, the Menges family share their stories of Bobby’s battles through chemotherapy and hospital visits – Emily discussing her memories of using a hospital doll to explain to her brother about inserting a central line into his body; Liz Finegan Menges discussing her five stages of grief, and how they initially started when her five-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer.

The other pages of Bel Esprit contain artwork and songs and photos of a life honored, not mourned. A life celebrated, not cursed. A life that brought strength and bonding where it could have brought division and derision.

These moments are part of our essence. Our one ride on this carnival. How we are remembered and honored and loved. How we handle horrifying, life-changing news, and what we do with it.

Bobby Menges gave the world 19 years of his life. And in that, he gave the Menges family unity and love and spirit that will last for generations.

After you’ve read today’s blog, I encourage you to visit the Bel Esprit portal and read the stories and check out the links to the life of Bobby Menges.

And think about what you would do in your life had such news happened to your family.

What would you do?