My friend is going to pass away today. I haven’t seen her in years. Our adventures kept us in different parts of the country, and for her, at times it was a different country. We met when she was a short three-hour drive up the interstate from Nashville in Louisville. She had connected with my technologically savvy friend group through Twitter and came down to visit. I remember admiring her adventurous and independent spirit. I saw a person who reminded me of who I wanted to be.
Over the years we found that we had more in common. We both lived in Texas, were passionate Dallas Cowboys fans, and battled depression. And when I say “battled”, I mean it. Neither one of us ever intended to lose and there was never talk of defeat. She was going to fight it and win. And I knew she would.
She took a job in Curacao the year after I had gone to Key West. Like me, nothing turned out the way she’d planned. She found herself in a similar situation to myself the year before. She might be the only person who knew how hard moving to the Keys was for me. I understood what she was going through on a molecular level. Things aren’t easy when you find yourself that far from home, with no friends, no family. It was a scary and lonely adventure.
Over the last few years, her health was in decline. No matter what was going on, she would still talk about what she was going to do after. Even last week, she was making plans for the things she wanted to do post-recovery. She wanted to travel, see new things, and love. She was forever looking for the next adventure.
Denise was, and is, one of the bravest, kindest, most open and honest souls. I feel like she always knew life was too short for bullshit. From the first day to the last, she remains a person who will always remind me to be me. She may be leaving us today, but she is somebody I’ll carry with me. I will remember her when I’m scared, self-doubting, or wondering which path to take. I will take her on all of my future adventures