|Stevie - your niece and a photo of Stephanie Wertz at my birthday party, years ago!|
I remembered you so often this year, Stephanie - your smile, your voice, your kindness, your patient, listening ear, your advice, your laugh, your eternal optimism. It's been five years, Steph, and my memory locket still dangles around my neck every single day - it's broken, it barely closes, the picture is a blur, but I can't even write this without tears streaming down my cheeks.
I know you would have been there for me for every amazing moment between last March and this March (I have a full scholarship now and I'm going to Holland for a short research stay with a great professor in the fall!!!) and especially for every moment of treacherous heartbreak. The latter is the only event in my life that came close to the pain of losing you; that's the truth. You would have been there for me though, muddling through the mess, the lack of closure, the complete irrationality of it all, making me smile and finally, injecting that infamous optimism of yours into my spirit.
I think the biggest news is that you have a niece!! (I've borrowed the picture from Shanyn's facebook account). Can you imagine her?! I'll imagine you can see her, I'll play the fool and pretend, for a few minutes, that you can read this, just because it makes me smile. I haven't met Stevie yet - I'm still all the way in Barcelona, enjoying the beautiful beaches and the food, and working through the bureacracies and cultural shocks of living here - but I hope to meet her one day when I visit Edmonton again, possibly in a year or two.
This year I've decided to write a poem in your memory, on the theme of love, friendship and memories. It's my attempt to write in terza rima -aba,bcb,cdc - the structure Dante used for his Divine Comedy, more or less in iambic pentameter. I'll imagine you are reading it, over the transparent, floating wall that I like to pretend separates the living from the dead:
I will always miss you, Steph. xxx.
If you'd like to see my other annual tributes to Steph, they are here: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015