The world has lost a bright light and left heartbreak in its place. Megan Kaylie Altizer died by suicide on the last day of October. Her family and those who loved her sweet spirit are choosing not to let her final day define the 10,328 she shared with us. Megan was a daughter, sister, wife, cousin, niece, granddaughter, god-sister, friend, comedian, and confidant. She was a prolific artist, attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, and was a former police officer.
Megan was deeply troubled and battled mightily with severe depression, PTSD and alcohol addiction; but she was never, and will never be defined by those struggles. She was a creative soul and a virtual wizard in all things arts and crafts related. Among her extraordinary talents were painting, sewing, crochet, graphic design, needlework, cake decorating, baking, carpentry, calligraphy, sculpture, origami, and more. She was brilliant, beautiful, snarky, quick-witted, sly, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, incandescent, inventive, silly, playful, curious about all things; but most of all, she was superlatively compassionate. Her megawatt smile and acerbic wit will be sorely missed.
Megan’s family would like to tell anyone who struggles with mental illness, PTSD or addiction that seeking help and treatment for those conditions is an act of incredible courage—not at all one of weakness. In letters that she left behind, Megan shared that she had never felt brave enough to seek the care she needed. For the family and friends of those who share Megan’s afflictions: be an advocate for those you love to seek professional help. Mental illness is a real, pervasive, and frequently invisible problem that most people encounter at some point or another. It is no less dire than any other life-threatening sickness. Stand up. Show up. Speak up for them. Be there even when they don’t want you to be. Love is not passive.
Left to cherish and learn from her time here are: her father, Terry Altizer; brother, Devin Altizer; godmother, Joy Smith; god-grandfather, Rev. Edward Smith (AKA the Boy Grand); husband, Mohammad Hyder Ali Shaik; uncle and aunt, Dennis and Cheryl Smith; grandfather, Don Smith; god-sister, LeeAnn Arnold, and her favorite canine companion, Nugget; and many other cousins and friends. Meggie was preceded in death by god-grandmother Dorothy Smith (AKA the Girl Grand); her loving mother, Dedra Lynn Smith Altizer; and her amazing grandmother, Anita Smith. Megan’s myriad creative talents were directly passed from her Mom and Mamaw, and her remarkable wit from her Dad.
A time of remembrance will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at noon at the Dublin First Church of God, 6330 Courtney Lane, Dublin, VA 24084. Visitation with the family will be from 11am – noon for those who would like to stop by. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting you make a donation to the National Alliance on Mental Illness at nami.org or to a mental health/addiction charity of your choosing.
“She was a free bird one minute: queen of the world and laughing. The next minute she would be in tears like a porcelain angel, about to teeter, fall and break. She never cried because she was afraid that something ‘would’ happen; she would cry because she feared something that could render the world more beautiful, ‘would not’ happen.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess
“Sometimes people leave you/ Halfway through the wood/ Others may deceive you /You decide what’s good/You decide alone/But no one is alone” ― Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods
“You cannot let all the world’s tragedies into your heart. You’ll drown. But the ones you do let in should count. Let them manifest action.” – Lin Manuel Miranda
The Altizer family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford. www.mullinsfuneralhome.com