I knew of her before I knew her. That’s the mark of a truly great person, I think.
And she had that ability to make people feel like they’d known her forever. In my case, I kind of had known her forever. Since she was 13 and I was 14, which pretty much made us sisters for awhile.
I cried for a solid month straight after she died, two years ago today. Unable to make the silliest decisions, I was overtaken my my grief. I never ended up sending flowers to her funeral, not because I didn’t try and pick some out–I sat for hours flipping through flower websites–but because I couldn’t make up my mind.
Did the “Eternally Yours” scream out “I can’t believe you’re fucking dead?” Or perhaps, “Gentle Thoughts” bouquet might be more appropriate for someone who, at age 26, died of natural causes in her sleep, leaving behind her two sons. Someone else should have told me which to choose, because I was useless.
In the end, I chose nothing, because nothing could properly express how I felt about losing my friend Stef. Shit, I still can’t write about it. This stupid fucking post won’t capture the half of who she was. Because you can’t capture her essence.
By being her friend, you were a better person. She had a sparkle to her, not a quality most of us have, and if you were with her for very long, it rubbed off on you and for awhile, you were better too.
For years, I’d have gladly traded places with her without hesitating. She was everything I didn’t think I could be: strong and solid, funny and sweet. If she’d been a bitch, it would have been easy to be jealous of her, but she wasn’t.
During a time when I had no one, I had Stef. When I was pregnant with Ben, and his father sought refuge in another vagina, Stef was the one person who not only comforted me, as all of my “friends” turned against me for this transgression (obviously my fault. The situation sucked) but then chewed the vagina a new, well, asshole.
There aren’t a lot of friends who will do that for someone. Or, if there are, I don’t have them.
She sat with me day after day during my pregnancy with Ben, co-hosted my baby shower and told me that I looked beautiful 50 pounds overweight after I delivered. That’s a real friend.
I love her very much.
She was miserable after she had her first son. Even more after she had her second. She chose to drown her sorrows in bottles of vodka. I channel mine into growing orchids and writing words.
Stef died in her sleep after coming home from her second stint in rehab.
I don’t regret not reaching out to her and Doing Something, because, to be honest, after having been through 2 alcoholic parents, I know damn well that no matter how nice Intervention makes it look, for ever success story, the addict has to WANT change.
So sitting her down and saying “you need to CHANGE” would have done nothing. I can’t accept responsibility for her death.
I can accept responsibility for not telling her that I loved her before she passed. I never, ever thought that I’d be here, telling The Internet that I wish I’d been able to tell my friend one last time that I loved her.
Because she was so, so loved.
Her funeral was standing room only. The room was filled with mourners who wept over her open coffin. All of us crying for her, for us, for her children, listening to the string trio weep as they played the Stones song “As Tears Go By” hoping that maybe her spirit was in the room and could hear us tell her in death what we hadn’t in life.
The world is a worse, colder place without her. This much I know.
I miss her every day.