Today, it has been exactly one year since my very best friend passed away.

It’s hard to put how much this has had an impact on my life into words, but I’ll try.

I’ve never been that girl with tons of friends. I feel uncomfortable in big groups and I’ve always been way too concerned with what others think about me. When I got pregnant, I withdrew from the only group of friends I ever really had–my church friends. It was hard to sit in the pews next to my friends when my sins came in the form of a bulging belly. There was one person that didn’t allow me to remove myself completely from human connection. That was the girl that quickly became my best friend.

I used to call her the baby whisperer. She was so good with babies and never could contain her excitement about those tiny humans. She never once made me feel bad about getting pregnant in high school. She sparked my excitement for my pregnancy. It’s something I’m still grateful for today. I honestly believe my relationship with my son would look different if I didn’t have someone to remind me how much of a blessing he really was. She called herself Aunt Stef and she treated us just like family.

My best friend was by my side when I delivered my son. She brought the comic relief to the party. She was supportive in the most important ways. She joined with me in annoyance with my son’s biological father. She took pictures. She was JUST as excited about his arrival as I was.

Unfortunately, we got into a major argument that caused a rift in our relationship when my son was a baby. I don’t place any of the blame at her feet. I take responsibility–I have a habit of pushing people away when they get too close.

However, after I lost a baby in California, my mom reached out to her to inform her of everything that was going on. She told her I really needed a friend and she was very right about that. No questions asked, Stef picked up with me right where we left off.

My husband and I moved A LOT at the beginning of our marriage. Part of that way because we didn’t feel settled, part was because of financial reasons, and part was influenced by the military. Everywhere we lived, she came to visit me. She would come and we would go sight seeing. It was exciting to plan out my trips with her. We always found exciting new places that made every town unique. We’d drink, watch movies, bake, and just hang out for two or three days. It was great–she always had a way of making things seem easier in my life. I miss that, but I know I’ll always  be thankful for the memories.

When it became official that I was moving back home, I was beyond excited. I was going to live about 15 minutes from Stef’s house. I would be able to visit her when I wanted and it wouldn’t take elaborate plans to make it happen. Unfortunately, she passed away before we closed on our house.

Her death has taken a toll in my life in ways I didn’t imagine were possible. I’m sad that I don’t get to call her to vent. I’m sad she didn’t get to help me decorate my house.

I’m sad I have to rely on pictures and memories to keep her alive in my life.

-heartbroken

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Stefanie and Gabriel. She came to visit for a few nights after he was out of the hospital to help me adjust.

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Stef and Annabelle in Tennessee. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of them.

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Photobomb!

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Tiny Gabriel and his Steffy.

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Annabelle and Stef in the NICU.

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Stef and her visit to Evansville, Indiana.

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High school. Pregnancy. “Cholas”

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