Melissa was born on May 9, 1981. After a too-brief life punctuated by considerable ups and downs, she unexpectedly but unsurprisingly passed away late in the evening on Saturday, September 17, 2022.
For better and for worse, Melissa lived life on her own terms, quickly rising in the ranks of her numerous social circles thanks to her charm, beauty, and exhilaratingly silly sense of humor. Her hunger for life lent itself to pursuing even the tiniest of new experiences. She adored public speaking, fashion, music, local and national politics, and had a particular soft spot for children and animals both big and small. Before the negative aspects of her free-wheeling disposition took hold, she spent two years working in local media as a reporter and on-camera newscaster before dedicating her life to combatting systemic injustice in the name of American drug policy reform, holding high-ranking positions with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance, and eventually the New Mexico state government.
Alaska-born and Tennessee-bred, Melissa leaves behind a complicated legacy of passion and impulse that took her across the Eastern seaboard and American Southwest before designating her the latest casualty of the American opioid crisis. Her daughter, Liliana Meek was her greatest gift to the world. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by her parents, Larry and Christy Milam; younger brother, Ben Milam; 15+ extended paternal and 100+ maternal relatives; and the Meek family of Nogales, Arizona.
She is preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Wayne and Oma Childs; paternal grandparents, Bruce and Syble Milam; Aunts Nan, Mary, Dotty, and one uncle, Tommy, all of East Tennessee, and Aunt Barbara of West Tennessee; her beloved black cat, Jack; and BenCat.
May the double-edged sword that was her personal mantra, “It was a good idea at the time!” be both a lesson and a cautionary tale to us all.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the Addiction Facility of your choice.
SERVICES: A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 1, 2022, in the chapel of Arrington Funeral Directors. A private family burial at Browns Cemetery will take place later.
Arrington Funeral Directors, 148 W. University Parkway, Jackson, TN 38305