Melissa Duncan is one of Charlotte’s Millennials who likes to stay busy – and work hard. Also known as Generation Y, the Millennial Generation covers those born between 1980 and the early 2000s. Duncan, 34, hails from Baton, which is in Caldwell County.
“Baton is a super tiny community inside of Granite Falls,” Duncan said. “There is literally one stoplight. I grew up down a 1-mile-long dirt road next to Baton Elementary. I loved growing up there, near the mountains. The people were all so nice and everyone cared about each other.”
After she graduated from high school in nearby Granite Falls, Duncan followed in the footsteps of many in her area and got married and had a baby.
“Even though I was only 18, I was thrilled about being married and loved my baby son, Adam,” Duncan said.
When Adam was 3 months old, tragedy struck. Duncan’s beautiful baby boy died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is defined by Mayo Brothers Clinic as “the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.”
The cause or causes remain unknown, but researchers are studying risk factors to aid parents in trying to prevent SIDS.
Thrown into paralyzing grief after the loss of her baby, Duncan was unable to do anything.
“Some days I just sat in a chair,” she said. “I didn’t eat or do anything all day. The pain of losing my precious baby was too much.”
Time passed, and Duncan went to her grandmother to whom she was very close and asked, “How can I possibly go on without my son?”
Her grandmother answered, “You have two choices; you can either lay down and die, or you can keep on moving. It’s up to you.”
Duncan and her husband got divorced. Finally heeding the advice of her loving grandmother, Duncan got an office job at Hickory Lake Country Club. The year was 2002 and she was 21 years old.
A few years went by, and Duncan decided she was ready to continue her education. She moved to Charlotte in 2007 and was accepted at Queens University of Charlotte. Duncan went to school and worked full time as an auditor in the food service industry. She found that keeping busy was helping her to heal. In 2014, Duncan graduated with a degree in business. Elated, she applied for grad school at Wake Forest and was accepted, but won’t be starting classes just yet.
“I want to get my MBA, but I have to put that on hold while I save money,” Duncan said. “Graduate school is very expensive,” Duncan said.
I’m happier now and looking forward to the future.
Melissa Duncan, business and talent manager at T1V
Duncan has been working for T1V, a software company, since 2012.
“I love my job as business and talent manager,” said Duncan. “T1V creates interactive experiences for businesses, education, exhibits and events, for example. It could be in the form of an interactive touchscreen wall or table, mobile app, digital signage – technology like that. I have learned so much.”
Duncan now lives in South End with her Lab-mix dog, Miles. She enjoys living in South End because she said there’s a lot happening and it’s easy to make friends. She takes Miles to Freedom Park to run, and on Fridays he goes to Dogs All Day for doggie day care.
“He knows when it’s Friday, because he’s sitting by the door while I’m getting ready for work,” said Duncan. “Miles has so much fun at doggy day care.”
In addition to her job and dog keeping her busy, Duncan works out regularly and assists her friend who is a wedding planner. She also helps friends plan parties and events.
“I’m happier now and looking forward to the future,” she said.
Karen Scioscia is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.