Packed house celebrates soaring life of Megan Lodge, an amazing local teen | VailDaily.com

Packed house celebrates soaring life of Megan Lodge, an amazing local teen

Megan Lodge's friends and fellow speech team members took the stage during Sunday's celebration of Megan's life.
Randy Wyrick | randy@vaildaily.com

Help Megan’s team

Instead of flowers, make donations to the GoFundMe page set up for Eagle Valley’s speech team.

GYPSUM — Remember Megan Elizabeth Lodge smiling, and making those around her smile.

Friends and family packed Eagle Valley High School’s auditorium Sunday afternoon to both celebrate and feel every emotion that goes with such a bright life being cut so short. Lodge was 17 when she died in a single-vehicle accident on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

“She didn’t want to be defined by one characteristic … she was so many things,” her friends said.

The crying started before Sunday’s service, but so did the laughter. Laughter because Megan would say anything and do everything. Laughter because … Megan.

Walking in, tables were filled with blank paper hearts and a sign imploring everyone to “write a memory.” There are a “million bazillion memories,” one of her classmates said. Some memories required more than one heart to record. One heart, paper or metaphysical cannot contain Megan, one of her friends said. By the time the crowd thinned out after the service, most of the paper hearts were filled with memories, as were the hearts of Megan’s vast and varied array of friends — some old but most young — like Megan is, and will always be.

They did what they’re supposed to do — they remembered, they laughed, cried and hugged because even the tough ones need someone to lean on at a time like this.

Everything you can

Finally it was time for Megan’s family to take the heartbreaking walk down the aisle to their seats, just a few yards that seemed like forever.

“What do you do?” asked Greg Doan, Eagle Valley principal to open the ceremony.

Everything you can, came the reply.

Eagle Valley opened its doors, its hearts and its arms this week. Several staffers spent the final week of their Christmas break in the building, consoling heartbroken kids and each other.

The last day of their break, Sunday, they spent together because they wanted to, they needed to.

“She lived the way she wanted to,” Riley Dudley said.

If she agreed or disagreed with you, you knew it. More than that, though, you knew she loved you. She told you all of the time because she loved you all of the time.

“She was a powerful young woman … speaking her truth,” Katie Uhnavy, Eagle Valley’s speech coach said.

Hannah Shapiro’s journalism classes crafted a video that made hearts soar and laughter fill the auditorium.

Pat Sheehy heads Eagle Valley’s music department. Their woodwind ensemble returned early from break to rehearse and perform “On Eagle’s Wings.”

And where would an eagle soar? “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” of course, also one of Sunday’s songs.

Brielle Kromer’s poem was a study in emotion that great literature is meant to be.

Go and Do: Action verbs

Lydia Loupe and Megan were best friends.

“She loved talking, and was really good at it,” said Loupe, who was a national qualifier in speech and debate with Megan.

“Go” and “do” are action verbs that described Megan’s short and amazing life.

So is “love.”

Live like Megan, Loupe said.

“We owe it not only to ourselves, but to Megan,” Loupe said.

Her friends and speech teammates sat on the front of the stage and sang the Oasis hit “Wonderwall,” accompanied only by Calista Farmer’s ukulele — the way friends would.

Themes weave their way through works of art like Megan’s life. Her friends were like her and she like them: driven, passionate, intelligent and intellectually uninhibited.

She asked anyone anything. She asked fellow students if they knew how cows make milk.

We know Megan’s middle name is Elizabeth because she and Avery Doan had the same middle name, and Megan’s mom and Avery Doan’s mom used to call them both by all three names when they were up to something, as smart kids are most of the time.

There was the game she played with Doan, “Trust or Concussed.” They closed their eyes and strode toward a brick wall, trusting the other to tell them when to stop. Not surprisingly, not that many people wanted to join them.

Megan took confused freshmen in hand, literally, at their first speech meet in Alamosa. She grabbed them by the hand and said, “C’mon,” and led them to what they universally agreed was a “really crappy” Mexican food buffet.

“There is no closure for something like this. There is only living your life the way Megan would want us to,” Parker Labine said.

Her friends implored us to do things for no reason other than they make you happy. Megan did.

In the end, Megan Elizabeth Lodge was happy because she loved so much and so well.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.