Loss is never easy. And I’m sorry it took me a while to gather my thoughts after finding out you had passed away. You know I was never very fond of deadline pressure.
Let me start by saying that I miss you terribly. Your life so inspired me, and your death hit me like a sucker punch to the stomach. Even now I struggle every day to make sense of it all.
When we were in high school, we had it so easy. We were so excited about what life had in store for us both. I knew you would go on to do great things. Your intelligence astounded me, your smile brightened my days, and your positive attitude and determination enlivened the optimist and fighter in me.
Your friendship meant more than I could possibly ever convey through words.
I will always treasure our shenanigans. I knew I could turn to you when I was in need of a partner in crime. I knew you were always there to back me up, even if you didn’t agree with what I was fighting for. I could ask you for homework help, and you were the best sounding board whenever something went awry in my drama-filled teenage existence.
I would not be the person I am today if you had not been a part of my life.
Just before you died, I had been looking through old photos and yearbooks and reminiscing about our high school days in preparation for our upcoming 10-year reunion. I laughed as I rediscovered a couple of things about our friendship: 1) You are the only person who has ever called me “Steffer” that I didn’t want to punch in the face, and 2) I apparently borrowed cash for lunch frequently, and most likely still owe you money. 🙂
I also found myself feeling grateful for e-mail and Facebook, because I had been able to keep in touch with so many friends from school. You were one of them, and for that I am very thankful. I was looking so forward to seeing you again in the fall.
I know you were going through some very difficult things at the end of your life, and I wish I could’ve been there for you as you were there for me so many years ago. I hope you know that you were loved by so many people.
I need you to know that I will always cherish the time we spent together.
And now, Marissa the Pooh, I have to say goodbye. I will miss you every day until we meet again. I will think of you every time I visit Seattle, Victoria and San Francisco, every time I eat M&Ms, and every time I write a story.
By the way, wherever you are, I hope you’ve been laughing every time I’ve had to check my spelling while composing this letter.
I love you, Marissa, and hope you can rest in peace. Please say hello to Susan for me.