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– Alissa –

Yesterday, when I was told my dear friend Alissa passed, the news depressed my chest, taking my breath. I wanted to fix something, like going into action mode in an emergency. There is nothing to fix, though. All I can do is cry. My mind races with thoughts of how much she impacted me and what I don’t have anymore:

My quad bestie. Alissa knew the physical difficulties I’ve experienced the last 20 years because she endured the exact hardships for 30+ years. Swapping battle stories of frustrations, intimate embarrassments, and quirkiness felt like finding a long-lost twin.

Intimidating intelligence. A professional artist, architect, and graphic designer, she didn’t recognize her own greatness, but saw and encouraged mine. Just knowing someone as accomplished as she was thought I was “impressive” made me feel like maybe I have done something decent with my life.

Dedicated friend. I instantly had a friend crush when I met Alissa; like a little school girl, I hoped she wanted to be my friend as much as I did her. She became a trusted confidant, a friend I didn’t know I needed, and that both warms my heart and now makes me so, so sad.

Challenging conversations. We disagreed on many important topics, which challenged me to search for facts instead of opinions. It forced me to be more knowledgeable and confident.

Bad-ass boldness. In those early quad years, she independently flew from New York to California. On top of that, she completed architecture school, amazingly raised her daughter, and oozed originality. The words impressive and inspirational cannot touch the way she lived her life.

My mindful mentor. Alissa’s wisdom, heart, and perspective has been invaluable. I can’t imagine not having her to go to.

In the hundreds of hours we logged video chatting, it didn’t matter if I had makeup on, looked tired, or even felt miserable because spending time together was the sole focus. Losing such an incredible friend truly hurts the heart and is something I don’t want to live without.

Shalom, Alissa. I love and miss you so much.

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