She used to call me “Mikey.” She was the only one who called me “Mikey.” I hated that name from anyone else, but it was great to hear it from her. I knew her since sixth grade. I think it was even then that I called her “Mere.” She lived in my neighborhood, Quail Creek. Kristie Martin and her were my best girl friends growing up. Along with Wayne and Jason, we made a great group of five who reminded me of the group on St. Elmo’s Fire.

Monday I got a call from Jason. “Michael, Meredith is in the hospital and they don’t think she is going to make it.” I can’t explain my response. I had received this same phone call more than a year before. Mere had a drinking problem. I found out about it through another friend. This friend asked me to intervene as everyone was aware that it was getting pretty bad. I am the only pastor in the (now very expanded) group of friends. Meredith moved away to another state before we could talk. She was always moving. For the last eight years, I never knew where she lived. It was not too much longer that I heard that she was in the hospital in this other state (wherever it was). They said she was about to die. Her liver was shutting down. I did not know what to do except wait for the news, hoping for the best. It turns out she pulled through. I talked to her and she told me that she had stopped drinking and was never going to do it again. She promised me and I believed her.

It was probably 1991 when I saved her life. At least that is the way I looked at it. Let me back up some. She had her own apartment. It was quite the party house. All of her places were the party houses. Meredith was the sweetest girl I have ever known. I don’t write that because of the necessity of this blog. I write it because it is the truth. Meredith always had a smile on her face. She was so lovey-dovey. When you were around her, you always knew that you were loved. 

She often seemed to be oblivious to what was so obvious to everyone else. This is what made her the butt of many, many jokes and pranks. But she loved it. She knew what she was doing. If it could make people happy and make people laugh, she was willing to suffer such for such a reward.

However, like with so many of us, there was a deep longing and, sometimes, sadness that you knew was there. This night in 1991 I knew something was wrong with her. We all did. I went to her apartment to check on her and no one answered the door. I attempted to look through the patio door, but could not see in due to the blinds. Just before I was about to leave, her cat brushed the blinds just enough for me to see Mere laying on the floor in the living room, without movement. I quickly grabbed a large rock and threw it through the window to discover that Mere had taken a bottle of sleeping pills in an attempt to kill herself. We called the ambulance and she was saved.

I don’t know why you did this. I never really knew. But I do know that there is an instability—a darkness—in and over all of us. There is a front that we put up, that people enjoy, and that we hope is the real us. That front was the real Mere. However, the darkness was there as well.

In 1995 I became her pastor. I was not even a real pastor yet. I was still in that life of fun, drinking, and fun. It was fun, but it was becoming less and less fun all the time. The fun was simply a way to fill the emptiness. It was a transition time for me. I have written about it before in many posts. No need to repeat here. I was becoming more and more committed to Jesus Christ and the hope of his truth. I wanted all of my friends to know and believe that same truth. I talked to Meredith about Christ. I told her that he knows her name and that he died on the cross for her salvation and that she could have eternal life by trusting in him. A week later she called me and told me that she trusted Christ as her savior. At that point, Meredith was born again. I could not have been more excited.

Like so many of us, while the Gospel radically transforms us in our relationship with God, it is not so quick in other areas. Meredith still struggled with many things. But she did not ever again question God’s love for her and her love for him. While my life took me other places, I kept in contact with Meredith. Really, she kept in contact with me. She would call me all the time when she was talking to someone about Jesus and wanted to know what to say. At one point, she moved to Dallas and often attended my class at Stonebriar Community Church. I was her pastor and I was her friend. We talked about the difficulties and she continually drew hope from the Gospel.

Once Jason told me that Meredith was back in the hospital, I thought to myself, “She will be ok. She was last time.” I said to Jason, “Go to the hospital and let me know how things are.” I then received two more phone calls from other friends. It was truly serious. The last call I received was from Wayne. “Michael, it is bad. They are about to take out the tubes or something. If you want to see her before she dies, you have to come now.” “What?” I responded. “That does not make any sense.” I did not want to believe it. I was in denial. I am so ashamed of the next 1.5 hours on Monday night. I told Kristie, my wife, about what was happening. She told me to get up there. I declined. She argued with me and I had an outburst of anger that I rarely have, “I don’t want to go!!!” Where did that come from? I did not want to be her pastor or her friend. I wanted to sleep or something. Escape.

From the time of my outburst until the time I was in the car heading to the hospital, I went through a great struggle. I did not want to do her funeral. I did not want to say a prayer for the family. I did not want to be a Christian. It hurt to bad and I could not be the guy everyone expected me to be.

I have not had the time to reason out why I was like this, but, in the end, my reason returned to me. I headed up to the hospital and got there almost two hours after her death. I came to find out that she had drank again. The doctor told her last time that if she drank again, she would die. She drank again. Maybe once. Maybe she had been doing it for a while and everyone did not know. We don’t know. All we know is that she drank again and she died. Why? I don’t really know. It was one of her struggles, obviously. I certianly understand the emptiness. Even among those of us who know the Light, this emptiness—this darkness—does not always hide and can drive us to do something that is otherwise out of character. This was not her. Not really. Don’t ever think it was.

Thursday, I did the funeral. I have done only four funerals. One of a 29 year old man who died in a home fire. Another of a new born baby. Then my sister Angie’s. Now Mere. As I prepared for the funeral, I placed the notes in my a folder on my computer. I named it “Meredith,” not “Mere.” I don’t know why. After I prepared for the funeral, I saved the file. I saved it to my “funerals” folder. When I saw it in the folder then it began to hit me. Mere is dead.

I have something to say to Mere.

Mere, I know you are with the Lord. Someone on your Facebook page said that you were “now an Angel.” I thought to myself, “Now that is some bad theology. We don’t become Angels. We are in our immaterial existence in the intermediate state awaiting the resurrection of our bodies. We are forever human and never become angels. That is good theology.” However, on second thought, I think that I will modify that bad theology with some bad theology of my own. You already were an angel. You were always my friend and always will be. There is no way to replace you. But most of all, I am sorry that I, your pastor and your friend, was not there while you passed through the darkness. This was the last darkness that you ever experienced—the shadow of death. It is over now, but I should have been there. I would have stroked your hair and told you to get ready to meet Jesus. I would have said I was sorry for the pain and the difficulties that led you to the point where you were. I would have said that I am sorry that I could not save you again. But most of all, I would have assured you of the faith to which we grasp and been in continual prayer with you.

I miss you. I love you. Stare into the face of our Savior. Tell Angie I said hello. I will see you soon.

To Paul, her loving husband and Kristie, her best friend. You are in my prayers.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    25 replies to "Meredith Rigsby Graves: 1971-2010"

    • Jennie


      Wow. I, too, have been moved to tears by this post. I remember Meredith from our class at Stonebriar. When I clicked on the link you posted, I had no idea who this girl was, but thought I’d read your post anyways. As soon as I saw the picture at the top, I couldn’t breathe. I just couldn’t believe it. I don’t really know what to say, except that God is using you in great ways even through this tragedy. And sometimes we get to the point where we just can’t go anymore for people because we are so worn out. God understands that, and Meredith probably understood. Don’t be hard on yourself…this was all part of the plan. Hang in there, and hold out for the hope in spending eternity with both Angie and Mere…where they are both healed and no longer in pain or suffering.

      I love you guys!

    • natalie wilcox

      Dear Michael,Thankyou so much for doing Mere’s funeral! Just as you were unable to be there for her death, I was unable to be there for her funeral. I am so mad at myself for that..but I live quite far away, and it happened so suddenly! She was my best friend for many years..I will miss her so much. Thanks for sharing!!Natalie

    • Frank!

      Thank you for your honesty, for your hope, and your openness. I don’t know what it’s like to have to bury a friend, but I know how much they mean to me. I’m praying for you sir.

    • joshua allen

      Sorry for your loss, Michael. Will be praying for you.

    • cherylu


      I really don’t know what to say other then I am so very sorry. Losing two friends within one week must be so very hard. My heart hurts for you.

      In Him,


    • Earnie

      I can’t say how ironic is this post. I have been going through your theology program via dvd since Jan and told you how helpful it’s been to me. However I have been thinking of doing something that isn’t taking my life, but woould be very shocking to those who knew me and it’s only for one reason. It seems in the church many assume they know what everyone else is going through and they have all the answers. Therefore, I’m all alone in my specific struggle and about to throw in the rowell. No, I’m not going to take my life, though I understand that kind of depression from when I was in the gulf, nor am I going to walk away from the Lord, but that’s about all I can stop myself from doing. Unfortunately, I don’t fit the mold of those whom are attractive in the church (perfect marriage, money, kids, talents, etc). I don’t have much that most want. Yes, I’ll still go to church and pretend we love each other, be a good “Christian”, but I’m losing my desire to pretend. The only thing I have is a hunger for HIm. I used to believe if I just did all the right things that would be enough, but the church doesn’t ever talk about real life, how to live in bad marriages, kids who are hellions, serious and chronic health problems, etc. All I hear is about the preachers life and steps to follow. Oh well.

    • JJ


      I don’t know your precise struggles; but you are in my prayers. You are right, we (as the Church) often does not touch the real issues where people are struggling, hurting, sinking. I don’t know your pain, but I do know pain. So, I will join you in prayer… both knowing that our hunger for Him is all we really have…and the pain of this world is momentary.


      I am sorry for your loss. Reminds me of some important spiritual lessons and to take more seriously friendship responsibilities. God Bless.


    • Libby

      This is in very poor taste. You are using this tragedy, not for God’s glory, but for your own. “You” did not save Meredith in 1991, but God did through you. You would be a wise to give credit where credit is due. You would also be wise to keep you pastoral duties separate from your personal friendships. Please, out of respect for Meredith’s friends and family, remove this post. This is not about you.

      In His Name,


    • j

      I couldn’t disagree more with Libby. Thanks again for the vulnerability, the transparent struggle with doing right by God… I’ve known a “Mere” or two, and I don’t want to get this news about them either.

    • Rev. J

      Thanks for the post. I can feel “some” of your pain brother. Early on in my ministry I had to preach the funerals for my brother-in-law, father-in-law, and a nephew who died in premature birth. I remember that my mind was spinning at my father-in-law’s funeral, but forced myself to get through it; afterwards I felt numb.

      HANG IN THERE PREACHER! God knows what you are feeling, and is comforting you right now.

      God Bless,

      Rev. J

      P.S. Hey Libby, you are nuts! Try thinking about other’s feelings before making such ridiculous comments!

    • Cory


      Thank you for putting to words everything that I was feeling. You can NEVER be faulted for speaking your heart no matter how controversial the topic or content. Mere was a wonderful person. Someone mentioned the amount of people who showed up at the hospital to pay their respects to Meredith in her last hours. I was truly an inspiring sight to behold 35-40 people waiting patiently to go in 2 by 2 and spend that one more last moment with her. They said that “She was the most loved person they had ever known.” I totally agree with that statement. I believe there were so many people that loved Mere, save the one person that mattered the most…. Mere herself. She gave herself to everyone. As a friend, a confidant, a shoulder to cry on, without regard to herself.

      It got to the point where there was nothing anyone could do for Meredith. Meredith needed to help herself. Mere was good at hiding her addiction. As Michael said, we don’t know if it was one more drink or a series of drinks that caused her final battle. At this point it doesn’t matter. It was not one drink that killed her. It was a lifetime of them.

      I love Meredith. She was always there to pick you when you were down. She was always there to say something silly when you needed to smile. There will not be a day goes by that I don’t remember her face.

    • Cory


      When you say “out of respect for Meredith’s family” you missed one overwhelming point in Michael’s post.. HE IS her family. He has a right to write his feelings here.

      When he speaks of saving Mere in 1991 I believe you are taking it in the context of the site. In 1991, he did save Meredith’s life.. literally. If Michael had not done what he did and showed up when he did Meredith would not have lived passed 20 years of age. I am not going to act as though I am a very spiritual person. I believe in God… to what extent I don’t quite know. I do not know if I believe that God has a hand in everything that happens. What I do believe is that if Michael was not the caring person that he is, and gone to check on her, that Meredith would have died there on the floor alone that night.

      So yes.. Michael did save Mere. He saved her so that when she did pass on she was surrounded by hundreds of friends and family.

      Michael.. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for you words at the service. I never quite understood how a Pastor or Minister can preside over a funeral when they never actually knew the person. How much can you learn about a person in one night of meeting with family and friends.

      Pastor Dianne did a wonderful job, however, we were lucky to have you there to speak on Mere’s behalf. She loves you very much. Thank you for overcoming the struggle and being there for us.

      I love you, Brother….


    • elizabeth

      Rev j.

      To tell libby she is nuts is very hypocritical. You are supposed to be a servant of god and to talk to someone like that is not very christian! Now, for the rest of you. Do you honestly think meredith would wany EVERYONE to know all about her struggles? She can no longer speak for herself, however I am confident being her friend that she would not! I am appalled that this link was posted to HER facebook page. Mike you apologized and removed it from her page and your site, but here it is..AGAIN. You said you were wrong and that it was really more about you than her. Apparently it is still about you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the things that were said were hurtful to everone that loved mere. I hope this is food for thought, but I’m sure my post will receive the same critism that the others have received. Sweet soul that is meredith, I pray you are at peace.

    • Tamera

      Dear Michael,

      Thank you for sharing your blog with me. Your words mean so much to all who love Meredith.
      Keep up your great work.

      Many Blessings


    • mbaker


      I just read your post. Thank you being so honest about your feelings. So many people have the mindset of ‘not speaking ill of the dead’. I often wonder if that comes more from superstition than respect.

      This is a deeply honest and respective post about a life cut too short which many of the rest of us can relate to, especially those of us who have children of Mere’s age.

      Please accept my empathy for the untimely loss of your friend, and the grief you are going through.

      Thanks again for sharing this, and the story about your sister Angie. Perhaps someone who is going through the same things will take both heed and comfort from your timely message.

      God bless.

    • Trista

      Dear Elizabeth –

      I am a very old friend of Mere’s from CO – We had just recently, in the past year reconnected through FB and I was so excited to have her in my life again, we were going to make plans to see each other in CO sometime soon. I was heartbroken to learn of her passing and was struggling to understand such a sudden and unexpected death. I did not know of her struggles. For me, reading this post helped me to understand what happened, and without ANY judgement on Mere. It helped to bring some closure. So maybe I am selfish, but for me this post was moving and valuable. Plus, if knowing what caused this tragedy helps even once person, I know Meredith would be happy…Even though I hadn’t actually seen her in years, I know this about her as that is who she was, always helping and giving to others.
      Peace to you.
      Love, Trista

    • Renee Zuk

      I agree whole heartedly with Libby! You should be ashamed of yourself Michael! I was just with Paul last night and your post hurt him dearly. How dare you slander Meredith like you are doing … it is a disease. Would you say the same thing about a diabetic or a cancer patient? You have no right to do this … you DIDN’T SAVE HER IN 1991!!! Who do you think you are??? Not a pastor of any integrity and you certainly are not being a true friend to Meredith. Your post should be about what a wonderful, kind, loving, giving sweet soul that she was … she loved everyone and we who were around her knew that. I want you to know that Paul, Meredith’s husband is deeply hurt by this post! I hope it makes you feel better like you “tried to save Meredith” when all you did was post a self-serving statement that said nothing good about a wonderful person that we all lost. Take this down NOW!!!!!!!! You have truly pissed off alot of Mere’s friends and I for one am one of them!!!!!!! I am a child of God and I cannot believe that you have the nerve …. may God bless you & forgive you for being such an ass!!!!!!!!!

    • christine


      Thank you for your words, I know how much Mere admired your words of faith. Mere struggled with her faith until you helped her understand, we talked often about god and she was very thankful to you in helping her understand. Mere and I were very close, I tried to guide her the last five years and I will struggle the next few to understand what I could have done differently, as her sister and true friend I will miss her so much, my heart is hurting, but your words comfort me, thank you for your words and the memorial service. We will all miss Mere, but our memories will keep us smiling for a life time.

      Mere’s loving sister

    • Lily

      What makes me the most sad about all of this, is that knowing Meredith, she would hate all of this anger surrounding something having to do with her. This is a hard time for all, wounds are deep and fresh, but let’s try and remember Mere’s spirit here and all take a step back and know that nobody is out to hurt anyone, quite the contrary, we all just miss and love Meredith.

    • elizabeth


      You apparently didn’t quite understand my post. The whole point was that mere wouldn’t want EVERYONE on the face of the earth knowing her business. This is obviously a divided group and we should all stop talking about it. I’m done! I will always remember her as a sweet soul that would do anything for those she loved or just even liked. I refuse to remember her as a tragic tortured soul, a drunk or suicidal. I hope you all will do the same. Signing off…


    • LC

      Thank you so much for this post. It is very clear to me that everyone adored and cherished Meredith. It is sad that there is so much anger and hurt, but that is to be expected when someone dear passes, anger is easily displaced. It is hard to be angry with the one who left us, even when we love someone from our deepest heart, we CAN be angry that they left.
      Someone above asked if you would write / “slander” (even though there doesn’t seem to be ANY slander here) if that person had a disease other than alcoholism, something like cancer? Why wouldn’t you write about that? And to the contrary, you point out that Mere had just that, a disease. That she struggled with a disease the same way a cancer patient would. She struggled and she lost, and it is very sad. We shouldn’t hide the fact that she struggled with a disease, would you hide that fact if she had cancer, no. This was something bigger than Mere, and she has nothing to be ashamed of.
      There is a divide here and I think that people should stop speaking for anyone but themselves….
      written with love and respect for Meredith.

    • Craig McKnight

      Michael – You are in pain I believe that, I also believe you have brought more pain to the family, disrespected their wish to take down this blog of Meredith, being that there is no ” Rest in Peace law in OK, I can’t force you, but wish you would grow up and stop being so selfish and just think of yourself, this is what gives evangelicals a bad name and memory.

      Craig McKnight

    • jennifer kay wall

      I cried reading this I spoke to Meredith a few weeks before she died, she seemed fine but, then she didn’t answer my emails. Michael I have read your journals in the past but, never saw this one until now . As I sit crying I know we all have our fronts for people at j.m and Hoover we all on the bus wanted to be in the so called it crowd but, Meredith was a angel even then I love her and miss here.and your sister too. All my love Michael. Thank you serving our lord Jesus Christ.

    • Ed Kratz

      Wow. Just read the responses here. Not sure if I read them all the first go around. Needless to say, we all miss her.

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