Since Bernie passed, we have received some emails, texts, etc. from her former students and how she impacted their lives. We are sharing them below:
Hi. You don’t remember me, but my name is Jen. I played Field Hockey with Meghan Rauner and Laura Newman at Boonton HS. I had dinner with Laura last nite, she lives in South Florida and I live in Central Florida and she was in my area, so we met up. I just want to say, how very sorry I am, I just heard and did not know. I loved Mel like a surrogate-sister since my own family was from hell, and she knew it and was very gracious about it. I am sorry I lost contact with her and wished I had known… I moved to Florida and have been a Critical Care/ER Nurse for 15 years and have a little girl of my own, 14, and not so little anymore, named Summer. I will miss Her and always remember her as a woman with a heart of gold who cared so much and touched our lives in such a way that she will always be in our hearts. Again, I am so so sorry and my thoughts and prayers go out to you, your children and your family.
Blessed Be, Jennifer Zsarko.
Sorry if this is abrupt but i hope all is well. I hope college is going well. I just wanted you to know how much your mom meant to me. I never got a chance to say this. Your mom wrote my college recommendations that ultimately led to me being where I’m at. I failed getting into Rutgers three times and your mom wrote individual different recommendations three different times. If it wasn’t for your mom, after getting out of the military, i would have never made it into college. As I’m about to graduate I’m realizing more and more how much your mom impacted me. Your mom changed my life in a way i never could have imagined. I felt like i needed to share this with you as it’s been weighing on my shoulders for a while. Once again, i hope all is well. I’m sorry if this bothered you, but for some reason i feel like i needed to share this with you. As i said i hope all is well. –
To Bernie; Mrs. Mel; Mel
Thank you. Thank you for being my mom away from home. Thank you for listening to my rants when my mom was not able to. Thank you for listening to me when I felt uncomfortable talking to anyone else. Thank you for countless hours of listening, for gossiping and being a foundation of my childhood. You are the women with the strongest heart, the laugh that lights up the room, the smile that comforts me in my saddest moments. You are high school memories and midnight stories, talking about the future and who we would marry. You are the women who built us up, who kept us strong, and who made us feel like we were better than any dumb guy. Who always loved me as if I was one of your own, and sometimes made me really believe I was part of the family. No, you will never be my actual mom but you are my second momma, and even though I have only known you for a portion of my life, I will always feel somewhat like a daughter to you. From the first day I walked into your home, you made me feel more comfortable than anyone ever has before. More than anything, thank you for having a perfect daughter of your own. You have shown us to always watch each other’s back, and I will always be there for her. I want you to know how much of an impact you have had on my life and always will. Thank you for caring about me, teaching me about love and friendships and being one of my best friends that I will cherish forever. I will miss you for eternity.
Thank You for the Sunshine You Brought
By: Kacie Lynch
Bernadette Melberger, Bernie Melberger, Mrs. Mel, Bern, Mel, Mom, was a woman who inspired masses. She was a teacher, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend. But she wasn’t just these things. She was so much more.
She was vivacious and bold. Hilarious and witty. Always sarcastic and would call anyone’s bullshit. Loved to travel and her family. Loved to teach. Loved Broadway. And she loved to laugh.
On May 14, 2016, this community, this world, lost one of the good ones, much too soon. It seems like we are almost always losing the good ones too soon. On May 14th, one of the bravest people I know, one of the most courageous fighters, lost her battle.
Words cannot begin to capture the feeling of loss that now plagues so many.
I didn’t know Mrs. Mel as well as many people, but I consider myself lucky to have known her at all. She was one of a kind. Whenever my friends and I went to Mel’s house she was bound to be in on the gossip, laughing with us (or often times at us) for the stupidity and chaos that often ensued around a group of high school girls.
She was there for the good times, always present in dance and party photos, making an appearance. And always having as much fun as everyone else. She was always welcoming us into her home, feeding us and enjoying every moment of the ridiculousness with us all.
She was there for the bad times, too. She was there when we lost Anthony, she was there when I moved, and then moved back. She was there in the 7th grade when I was a little too sad and a little too scared to tell my mom. She was there to remind us that everyone makes mistakes (like that one time my mom was away and I invited people over and she found out but Bern let me cry to her).
And she was there to make us laugh. That’s how I will always remember her. I will remember her contagious, vibrant, incredible laugh. I will remember her talking about traveling the world. And I will remember how she actually sought out to do it and inspired me to do the same.
Most of all, I will remember that she gave me my best friend, Emily.
To Emily, there are times when words just aren’t enough. I believe this is one of those times, but I will certainly try. To tell you I am sorry would be an understatement, to tell you I understand would be a lie, but to tell you that you are strong enough would be the truth. There are no words I can offer you to fix the unimaginable pain you are enduring, they simply are not enough. I love you and I am rooting for you, we are all rooting for you. And I will always be here, always.
I will remember it all. All the moments that made up such a magnificent life. And I will miss her, just as we all will, endlessly and indefinitely.
I will see her in Emily and in their house. I will see her in Sparta, in the halls of the high school, and I will see her in her friends. I will hear her voice echoing throughout the Melberger house. I will see her in all my friends and we will laugh thinking of all the times we had with her, always wishing we had more.
This world is full of so much bad; I am so thankful that all who knew Bernie Mel got a glimpse of some of the good, some of the best.
There’s nothing beautiful or romantic about death. But there was so much beauty surrounding Mrs. Mel and the life she created. It’s as if everything she touched, everyone she came in contact with became illuminated, less serious, more lively.
We don’t have to say goodbye because we will see her in everything. The bonds Mrs. Mel formed cannot be destroyed by something as powerful as death.
I truly believe, that the ones who love us, never really leave us. And I know that Mrs. Mel will never really leave us, any of us, any of the thousands of lives she has touched in ways some of us haven’t even realized yet.
To me, she will always be a hero. Someone who fought so gallantly, with so much bravery and positivity. Someone who fought with an enduring smile.
My mom used to say, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I never understood what that meant, but I understand now. We must smile when we think about the way Mrs. Mel lived her life, even if that means smiling through the tears we will all inevitably shed.
If you knew her, then I’m incredibly sorry for your loss. If you didn’t, then I am equally as sorry that you didn’t get the chance to know someone so radiant, someone so ecstatic to be alive, someone so full of life and joy. Someone who brought sunshine even on the cloudiest of days.