Minnesota mom to embark on 1,500-mile bike ride her late son never started

If the Mississippi River could talk, Chris Stanley knew exactly what it would say.

“These rivers are beautifully destined for the mighty Mississippi,” he wrote in one of his poems. “Mighty mystery."

It was the muse that formed much of his poetry and it would be the very place this 22-year-old would meet his end.

“Carrying on through the veil of tears. Waiting, pushing, pushed. I'm soaking wet. That's a life,” the poem continued.

It was that very place that would guide his mother back to him.

“There have been times when I’m really tired or I’m going up these hills that last forever and I can feel him going, go mom you can do it!" said Chris’s mother, Melissa Melnick.  

1,500 miles, through ten states, Melnick is taking off on a ride her son never started.

“He said, ‘Well, I don't want to go right to work so I’m going to do something really fun.’ And he was just starting to plan this trip,” Melnick said.

Stanley was weeks away from graduating from the University of Minnesota when he was swept into the rushing waters near St. Anthony Falls.

Ten days later, as his friends and family were riding in his honor, his mother got the news.

“Just as the bike ride was finishing that's when they called and told us they had found Chris on the other side of the Lake Street Bridge."

Much like her healing process, she’ll take the ride slow.

“What I want to do is share light, and life and love and joy and hope," said Melnick. "If I’m just rushing through everything it will be harder for me to do that."

She will start the journey where Chris’s journey ended, enjoying the moments Chris never had.

“This bike, shared by the colored green,” he said in a poem. “This is how to start a movement. By love we cannot fail."