Humble Contributions to the Peoples' History


Megan McFadden

March 9, 1981-August 29, 2015

IMG_1803When someone so young passes from this earth, the shock reverberates for days, weeks and months, as it seems impossible that Megan will no longer be with us.

As Megan came into my life, I watched her as a year went by, and I saw how she was working through the difficulties of her past to move forward into a new day. We thought this new beginning would be bringing her success with her art. 

We will miss you, Megan. We’re so sorry.

Her Father’s Eulogy

When you have a drug-addicted child or sibling, you live in dread of the phone call that tells you she has overdosed and died in some abandoned house. My son Jim, her best friend, and I got that call on August 29th about Megan.

Rather than mourn over Megan’s tragic death at 34, let’s celebrate what was wonderful about her. She was a sweet, beautiful, and funny little girl. She had an adorable little speech impediment until she had it fixed at therapy in first grade. We had a squirrel that visited us on the deck of our apartment almost daily. We asked her for a good name for him. She said, “Mistoow Sqwool.” From that good day on, he was Mr. Squirrel, “Mistoow Sqwool” to Megan.

Megan was all her life a gifted artist and was passionate about it and lived for it. She was enrolled in school to pursue and enrich her passion, but was taken from us just before she was to begin.

She left a great legacy with her son Michael, who has brought great joy to every person he’s known in his 13 years. Good job, Megs.

The only consolation that we, her family, friends, and all the people who knew her, was that she was a person of great worth. What we can take from her death so young, is the knowledge that her pain and struggles are over, and the belief that she will find the peace with her heavenly Father that she was unable to find in this life.

Pro-Act Recovery Walk, Philadelphia, September 19, 2015


Philadelphia Photo League

Philadelphia Photo League Photographers, Konrad Jones, Mike Browna, Spencer Lewis

Several weeks after Megan’s passing, I received a notice from the Philadelphia Photo League about an upcoming event, the Pro-Act Recovery Walk. In 2012 a group of area photographer/activists, who were committed to social change through documentary photography, established a mission to assist civic organizations to affect change through photography. Photo League members have photographed the Recovery Walk in past years and shared their photographs with the Pennsylvania Recovery Organization–Achieving Community Together. By participating in this year’s photography project, I hope that I might help in some small way to document the event.

Morning has Broken

As I approached the staging area at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, the sky appeared gray and dark as the fog began lifting from the Ben Franklin Bridge. As the presenter led a prayer from the stage, the clouds opened to a magical reflection on the river. Sun beams streamed down to the water–it was as if the universe was blessing the gathering.


Participants in their colorful t-shirts began gathering in front of the stage. The photographers took photos from the vantage of the stage, and then we split up to cover different aspects of the walk. I took a position at the start of the parade on the Chestnut Street Bridge under the balloon arch. As marchers began to stream under the arch, I began to video the walk. What amazed me was the diversity within the crowd: young and old, men and women, abled and disabled and all ethnicities represented.

Yellow shirt copy

The participants kept coming, walking, cheering, as those standing on the sidelines clapped.  Group after group, representing organizations advocating for recovery, passed in front of me. These people have endured the challenges of addiction. Society could mediate these tragedies by implementing social policies that bring people out of addiction without stigma. To be immersed in this experience became a humbling moment, realizing that these warriors are ready to continue their fight for freedom from alcohol and drugs. Last year 600 people died from drug overdoses. It seems that a tainted batch took Megan as well as other victims, one evening in August.

Will we stand with the 25,000 Pro-Act crusaders? Our society failed Megan, we cannot fail again.


Recovery Walks

Thousands march in support of and hope for addiction recovery

ProAct: Ambassadors for Recovery

Comments on: "In Remembrance of Megan" (6)

  1. Rest in peace Megz. You live in my heart forever. I love your guts! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Megan was so very loved. My heart is aching but so thankful to have found this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicole Wojtak said:

    Megan is my cousin. Can someone from the family please reach out to me. I miss you all and want to keep in touch


    • Hi Nicole, You can contact him. I told him that you have written on the page for Megan.


    • Jim McFadden said:

      Hey Nicole, Its your cousin Jim. I’m sorry you had to find out about Megan’s passing in this way. If you want to get in touch you can reach me at my e-mail.


  4. Erica Rae aka Katie 8 said:

    I dread this time of year. I know I’m supposed to celebrate your memory, knowing you’re an angel on my shoulder bugging me to do the wrong thing sometimes just for shits n giggles. You changed my life, Megan. I just graduated college. I’m gonna work with addicts…for now I just, like just now a couple days ago just now, got my PRSS peer resource support specialist certification from the DHHR WV Medical Bureau (They have to certify everyone who works in peer recovery support). When I bust out this next degree I’m moving home to Philly and opening a faith based outreach & resource center in Kensington. I don’t know what I’m gonna call it but I know I want to name it after you. Im definitely dedicating it to you. I miss you. I miss you more than any words could tell you. I sit here at 5am with tears silently pouring down my cheeks thinking in 20 more days you’ll be gone 6 years. Can you imagine where we’d be right now if you’d only have come with me? Can you imagine the memories we never got to make? I love you…you were my best friend and a part of my heart died with you, Megz. I hear your laugh so often in my mind. Shark week just finished up…I hear you in my head before you got your chompers fixed saying, “Look at this grill buddy. Who you kiddin? I’m a maako shark!” ♡ haha.
    Big Mike…I never got to meet you. Jim may or may not hate me…but regardless of past politics Jim, I’ve made my amends with myself, society, and most importantly God…and that’s what matters most. I finally “Let Go & Let God” and stuff is really happening in my life. I wish more than anything Megz was here to share it with me or at least be proud of me from afar, whatever path our lives would have brought us, only He knows…but Big Mike, I just wanted you to know that your daughter may have been lost in her addiction but she did find God. She did accept Jesus Christ as her savior and she prayed often. She loved The Lord & I believe her sins have been forgiven, her mistakes forgotten and she’s in Heaven. She really ran me through the ringer emotionally & Financially but I have forgiven her for everything and I would do anything in the world for her to be here today…even if she did the bad things all over again, at least we would have her. But this is all so selfish of me. I know she’s an angel and I know as much as I miss her and love her still to this day, that she is at least safe.
    RIP Megan. I love you. ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: