Mercy’s Bucket List

Several of us are speaking at today’s funeral, but here are my words

I was born an island.

Some of my earliest memories and most of my mom’s stories about me as a kid involve me saying “I can do it on my own.” Mom called it hard-headedness, but I always saw it as independence.

I was just born that way and if you mix independence with 6 school changes before junior high, what you get is someone who doesn’t see friendship with permanence.

By the time I’d met Mercy, I was in college and she was in high school. She’d had a solid group of friends, including my sister, and I’d had friendships that existed only within the present moment and faded away with time and absence.

But the thing about being friends with someone who is so good at being a friend, like Mercy, is that they will change your mind about the value of friendships simply by being a good friend. And Mercy, well, she was the best at it.

I had no clue how to be a friend or even that I wanted that kind of permanence in my life until Mercy started showing up for me in big and small ways. She checked in on me. She loved me when I struggled to be the best version of myself, and she saw the way I grew and changed over the years. THAT was a real gift, because to change is hard, and most people are incapable of changing their first impressions and opinions of you.

But Mercy saw me.

And while she showed me how to grow, how to ask and accept help, and why I should allow myself to get close to people, even if it hurts once their gone, she also showed me how to love the island that I am.

It’s alright to be an island.

We’re all islands in a way. And the friendship between Mercy, Danielle, and I are much like the Philippine islands. We are individuals, we have separate lives, but we are always connected— even though Mercy is only here in spirit.

I’m a better person because Mercy reached my shore and connected me to the rest of the world.

I always imagined I’d have Mercy for the rest of my life.

She’d even dreams up this fantastical life in which Danielle and I killed off our husbands (sorry Matt and Vic, but you’ve got to go), and you know, we’d run off to Australia to start our new lives as Olivia (that was Mercy), Solana, and Tatiana.

Of course, I don’t get the rest of my life with Mercy. But I got to spend half of her life with her.

It isn’t all the time that I thought I would have. But that’s something. And if you really knew Mercy, that was a hell of a lot.

On Mercy’s last good day, she expressed how fearful she was that people would forget her. Which we assured her was impossible. But, just to ease her heart and mine, we assembled her bucket list.

It’s full of all the things Mercy wished she could have done or wished she could do one last time.

Her dearest wish was that if everyone did at least one of the things on her list, her memory would live on.

I hope you’ll join me in living like the kindest soul I know, and when you’re doing those beautiful things, I hope you feel her presence.

I love you my sweet girl. Always.

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