CAMDEN — The Village of Camden rallied around the family of Melissa, Schon, Emerie, and unborn baby Hudson during a candlelight vigil held on Sunday, Sept. 17. The Hudson family was involved in a four-vehicle crash on Tuesday, Sept. 12. They were pronounced dead on the scene.
They left behind family (including Melissa Hudson’s two elder daughters, in the fourth and sixth grade respectively) who cherished them and a community who relied on them. Their visitation and funeral was held on Saturday, Sept. 16, but the candlelight vigil gave the community an opportunity to honor the family and stand with all mourning.
There were several area pastors present to speak on grief and the healing process, but the service was led by Carrie Hudson, who was the sister-in-law and close friend to Melissa Hudson. To Carrie Hudson the two were sisters, with an unbreakable bond.
“I don’t even know how to start by saying thank you to this community. The words thank you are not enough. Melissa [Hudson] and I aren’t from Preble County. We grew up two doors down from each other. When Melissa started dating Schon, it was right when I was about to have a birthday — and if anyone knows me you know my birthday is a big deal — so even though my boyfriend had just broken up with me I didn’t care, I was going to have a party. Of course, Melissa [Hudson] came, because she was a true friend to everyone,” Carrie Hudson said.
“The labels brother-in-law and sister-in-law are nothing. Melissa [Hudson] was more than a sister-in-law. She’s been one of my best friends for 22 years. She was an amazing spirit. She gave and gave and gave and she ran and ran and ran – no matter how many times people told her to sit down and stop. She wasn’t going to do it. That is the only way that I am going today, because I can hear her saying, ‘Carrie, don’t sit down and cry. You have to put one foot in front of the other and do this.’”
Carrie added, she was going to move forward honoring the family to the best of her ability, even if she couldn’t do it as “perfect” as Melissa Hudson would.
The vigil was planned by the Camden Primary PTO. Carrie Hudson explained they wanted to organize the vigil, because Melissa Hudson was invaluable to them in her life and had given so much to the organization. She had been president in the past, but was serving as the treasurer when she died.
“She was the face of the PTO,” Carrie Hudson added. “I talked to her every morning. She was, I can’t even put into words, the kind of person she was. She was amazing, a good friend, and one of the most loyal friends. She had a rough exterior, but once she let you in she was your friend for life. For life.
“I don’t know how to live a life without her,” Carrie continued. “I called her for advice on anything and everything and she always had the answer. Just a couple weeks ago we were having a conversation and she said, ‘Carrie, I’m so jealous of you. You moved out here and made friends. I moved out here and was so busy. You have more friends than me and I’ve lived here longer.’ I’m here to tell you that was not true. Look around. This is because of the way that they all touched our lives.”
Carrie Hudson then moved on to talking about Schon Hudson, who she said was a wonderful husband, a doting father, and an amazing friend.
“Schon was hilarious. He could make everyone laugh. He could find a friend anywhere and everywhere he went. Not only that, his life revolved around his family,” she said. “He walked into the girls’ lives and he never once treated them differently than his own. He loved them as much as he loved Emerie.
“His smile will never fade. He was an amazing brother-in-law,” she said. “I have two brothers and neither one compares to Schon Hudson.”
The loss of Emerie Hudson hit Carrie Hudson especially hard, due to her having a daughter of the same age.
“To talk about Emerie is very hard. Melissa got pregnant the month I had my daughter — they are only nine months apart. To lose such a beautiful baby girl, I can’t make sense of it. We wanted to have our girls together, because we wanted them to always have a friend. They were going to start kindergarten together. They were going to do dance, which Emerie had just recently started.”
Melissa Hudson was also 16 weeks pregnant with a baby boy. Carrie Hudson said that while Melissa Hudson was scared to have a boy after having all girls, Schon Hudson was “over the moon” and couldn’t wait for the new challenge.
“The only thing that I can take from this tragedy is that I don’t think that any of them could survive without the other. We can hold onto the fact that they are together. I think Paige and Addyson will keep them alive,” Carrie said.
Carrie Hudson thanked the community for their support and their love, but she made sure to thank every first responder who was on the crash scene by name.
She saved Camden Police Chief Matt Spurlock for last.
“He has stopped by my house more than once,” Carrie said of Spurlock. “Not just to bring us personal effects, but to check on us. He told my husband that if he can’t get out of bed, to call him and he would come mow our lawn. To know that this is our chief of police and our fire departments, it means a lot.”
She then made a call for people to stop driving while texting or otherwise distracted.
“If we can save one life because of what happened, it won’t be worth it, but it would help,” she said. “Thank you to everyone who was here today to honor them. Please think of them to honor them. Help us in your best Melissa-way to take care of those of us who are left.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH