Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dear Lindsey, I spoke at your funeral



Lindsey Louise Lewis


I wanted to write about you today. About how I spoke at your funeral.

And it was exactly what I needed to feel like the Lindsey I loved was represented. 

I hesitated, after your sisters invited people up to the microphones. No one moved. And I heard this voice say, cmon, you know I’d do this for you. (Sorry Lindsey, how could I have hesitated?)

So I got up, and grabbed the mic and talked about you; introduced myself as your best friend in high school, which was strange because I never thought of myself that way. You had a few other girls who you spent time with, and a lot of people in your large social group. But after a few days of reflection after your passing, I realized that I was most myself around you, even into adulthood. That’s rare. I’ll claim best friend. 

You wrote me letters, thanking me for my influence. Ha! If only you knew how crucially important you were to me. To my life and my beliefs, my ability to stand firm on what I saw as important. It was all because you taught me to be myself unabashedly. You were very firmly yourself, and by and by I became that way too.

I told the story about how I leapt off the cliff of a rock quarry with you- I can still smell the water dripping from our hair, feel the freckles on my shoulders emerging in the midsummer Kansas sun. It was one of those days that I felt infinitely young. No worries. No responsibilities. Leaping into oblivion with my friend.

I told of how you kept me sane during my wedding, and how I will always remember the dance you choreographed with my bridesmaids. You danced around me in a circle, your obnoxious purple dress floating about. You danced and sang to me and calmed my nerves - it was impossible to be nervous when I was hysterically laughing.

I told of how you came to my baby shower. You drove for hours to come, and I did not expect to see you. I opened the door of our little house and you walked in with a smirk and immediately rubbed my belly. Smiled so big and said “Jill!!!” Like only you could. You wrote me a card, gave us a high chair. You were there when I didn’t expect you, and when I needed you most.

Then I did something I think you would have loved...
I asked the packed audience who knew the last scene of The Breakfast Club? When that fist goes in the air while Don’t You Forget About Me plays- and I made us put our fists up for you.



You are unforgettable. Your life was LIVED. You saw the world and fell in love and made friends and saw your favorite bands play. You loved to dance and sing and eat and drink. You loved to stay up late and make bad decisions. You loved to give gifts and make people feel special and important. You loved to fight and argue and make your point known. You loved life! You loved those who few others could love - the basketcases, the jocks, the criminals, the brains, and the princesses.

You would have loved your funeral. Sour candy, open bar, 100 chicken nuggets made special for you by the owner of McDonalds, your best friends talking about your, the playlist your sister made, the Obama and Legolas cardboard cutouts, the pink flowers, the Love Spell perfume I brought for you (which one of your sisters immediately sprayed all over herself), the packed house, the awkward reunions. The tears, the laughter, the slideshow. I won’t ever forget how utterly Lindsey it was. 

And I could have sat there, afraid to say anything at my best friends funeral. But I hopped up and knew you would guide me. Knew you would let me know what to say and I was right - it was easy. I shook afterward and our friends held my hands to get me through it. And I cried and cried. And I got in my car afterward and drove home to the soundtrack of our youth and wondered what it was like where you are now. 

I can’t say I’m ok now, but I’m better. Thanks for the nudge, Lindsey. I’m glad I got up and talked. I’m glad I knew you. I’m so sad you’re gone.


The truth is, I won’t ever be the same because you made me different to start with. Thank you. Send your messages, send the signs, like the pink clouds on my walk last night and the songs on the radio. Rest. Enjoy the weird afterlife that no one is sure of. I’ll miss you. I’ll see you again.