by Alyssa U., friend of Stacey
My dearest Stacey… the world lost a bright light yesterday as you took your last breath. You came into our lives after your double lung transplant, a gift from another family who, despite losing a loved one, shared their own beloved family member to help give life to others. This selfless gift gave you an incredible 13.5 years of life, a life which you lived fully and filled with love, compassion, friendship, warmth, optimism, hope, and laughter.
You showed incredible optimism and hope in the face of long odds, and grace and composure when it was clear those odds were not to be beaten. You are our family, and I’m honored and privileged that you’ve included us as a part of your journey since we met you, and especially grateful that you and your mom Laura and sister Denise allowed me and B to be with you during your transition over the last week and a half. And even in death, you continue to be selfless and generous, donating your own body so your skin, corneas, bone, and heart valves can help others.
I’m grateful for the friendship we’ve shared over the last 12 years. We met at the climbing gym, not too long after I joined. You taught me how to climb, how to hope, and how to laugh even when things were looking down.
I remember the first time you took me climbing outdoors at Cragmont Park, and how absolutely terrified I was of my inevitable fall and the pendulum swing, but how your encouragement and support turned it from something terrifying into a giggle-fest. You always had great beta for me (“Remember to use your legs”), and sometimes hilarious but not useful beta (“Tommy Caldwell only has 9 fingers!”).
You were the friend I could go to with a joke, the friend who would laugh riotously, even when my joke was corny and not very funny. We shared a lot of those giggles — over my bad jokes, and over whatever funny thing was happening in our lives. Sometimes over not-funny things happening in our lives, but you always found a way to find humor in the situation. I will miss your laugh so, so much.
You were fierce and competitive, but your competitiveness was matched by the most generous spirit, and you used that to help lift up and support those around you even as you sought to improve yourself. You were our Transplant Games badminton gold medalist, and you wore that medal proudly, even as you said goodbye.
You touched so many lives, among them the children you taught how to climb and play badminton and become better people, and also your friends in your transplant and climbing communities. Your warmth and spirit made you so accessible, and you have such a large community supporting you.
Even though you’re no longer in this world, you will always be a part of our hearts. Climb on, my sweet friend, and climb high. I’ll see you again soon.