Below is the speech I gave at my best friend Deirdres Celebration of Life. I’m sharing it not to make people sad, but so a message that I feel is very important, can be passed on…
Change does not come easy. Unwanted change is even harder to accept. And what a rollercoaster of change we have all been on lately…
Deirdre was truly the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me. In case you don’t know much about our friendship, we were opposites in so many ways… she was this wonderful social butterfly who loved to be out and about, and I am somewhat boring and kinda anti social. Deirdre was a fashion super fox, with an incredible sense of style as we all know, and I… well… if you have ever seen me on a day-to-day basis you know that I don’t have much style at all. Deirdre wasn’t really fond of tattoos, yet am covered in them. She was a “measure twice, cut once” kinda girl… and me? A “fly by the seat of my pants” type girl. We were opposites in many ways, yet we balanced each other out perfectly. I’d always say that not only was she my best friend, but also that she was my soul mate… the salt to my pepper, the ying to my yang, the sugar to my spice.
I contemplated telling some funny stories of my times with Deirdre over the years, and trust me, there are some good ones… ranging from “What the hell” moments in Kickboxing class to “holy shit” shenanigans in Las Vegas. There are plenty of times with her that I will never forget. But instead of sharing those stories right now, I wanted to address all of you who are hurting, to try to share a message that I know Dee would love to have shared.
If I could ask anything of you right now, that you will take with you after you leave today… I would ask you to live your life as if she affected you – like, really truly affected you. Think of all the amazing characteristics she had… and then try to implement them into your life. For starters, how incredible of a listener was she, right? She was thee best listener, so genuine, so present, so patient and so engaged. Unlike anyone else I have ever met before. If you ever had a heart-to-heart with her, or even a casual everyday conversation, you know that she listened with out distraction, hesitation and with her whole heart and being. Think of how that made you feel. It always made me feel so loved, like I always mattered… Can you take that quality of hers, or any quality of hers that stands out to you, and implement it into your own life? Can you be a form of what Deirdre was to you, to the people in your life? I guess the question isn’t “can you,” but rather “will you.”
Secondly, I ask that you go easy on yourself… Deirdre was always so full of compassion and so ready to give love. I ask that you exercise this wonderful quality she lived everyday, but first begin with you. She would be heartbroken to know that you were hurting, blaming or questioning yourself based on what has happened this last year. If you want to pay tribute to this unbelievable woman, find compassion in your life and live it everyday, starting with compassion for yourself. She always had a reserved spot for each of you in her heart. Now, it’s your turn to have that love for yourself. She would want that.
We are all so deeply moved and changed by knowing her… if you have stories of her, share those experiences with each other today. Think about how she looooooved to tell her stories… I don’t know how many times her and I would laugh about the same old stuff… the stories of “that one time in vegas” or “that one time at the grocery store”… these stories we had never got old. We laughed as hard, if not harder each time we shared those memories with someone new, regardless if they laughed with us or not – we always found it hilarious. I am certain that you have stories like this, as well. Share these memories; and while you relive and tell those stories, know that she is right there next to you, probably throwing her head back, laughing her unmistakable laugh, probably clapping with her hands, and enjoying the story, for like, the 1000th time.
It’s so cool that her and I became friends. In my life, I am a martial arts fighter, but in her life, she was the REAL fighter among the two of us. What a warrior she was, battling everyday. Please know that she fought that hard because she wanted to be here for you. She wanted to be strong for you, to be present for you, to help bring you happiness, fullness and love. She was giving the gift of time, something that can never be replaced once it was gone… that is a huge gift she gave; please, be honored and humbled by that.
Lastly, I hope that you all can find it in the depths of your being to believe that your messages to miss Dee – whether shared publicly or simply thought quietly in your head – that anything you want to say can still be said and received. She is here and she will always be here. And she will be a part of you forever.
I love you Miss Dee. Thank you for giving me the depths of love that you did, for all the time you gave me and for all the memories we shared, which I will cherish for the rest of my life. You taught me what friendship and love is really all about. Thru our break ups with the boys… our challenges with friends or money… and thru the growth of every experience in between, big or small, you have been there with me. You were always my greatest cheerleader… I am so lucky to have been able to have a best friend like you in this lifetime. One that will never be replaced. I will miss you everyday for the rest of my life, Deirdre… but I promise to make you proud with all that I do. We’ve been apart before, you and I…. and there has never been a “goodbye” in our relationship. Only ‘can’t wait to see you again” … well my girl… I can’t wait to see you again.
Rest easy Miss Dee.
Deirdres friends are trying to raise money for her family to go home to Ireland, after having such a long year of emotional stress and turmoil. We have set up an account, the Loving Deirdre FundRaiser and are taking donations to help the family make the trip abroad. Any contribution will be so greatly appreciated!