My eulogy is dedicated to Demi, one of my closest friends, who passed away suddenly in her sleep on March 9, 2018 aged 26 (medical reason to be determined), and anyone else who has ever experienced grief. I made this speech at her funeral viewing on March 14, 2018 and funeral mass on March 16, 2018 . I started writing this the night I found out, and have been refining it ever since. To anyone who has experienced loss - just know that understanding your emotions, not suppressing them, & dealing with it in healthy ways (writing, music, exercising, confiding in friends, improving yourself at work, engaging in your passions and hobbies, celebrating the person during special occasions and even in your daily life etc) will help you move through grief at your own pace. Take your time and give yourself all the space you need. Whatever you are feeling is valid, & the loss will stay with you. I think of her all the time. When it hits you hard, all you can do is remember the memories and lessons, and honour the memory of the person by striving to be your best.
“I have learned that grief is another name for love.”
We grieve because we had the opportunity of connecting deeply with another human. This is essentially the most bittersweet of human experiences.
I’m here today to honour Demi, one of my closest friends, who left us very suddenly and shockingly.
Demi was a great friend. A strong and direct person, real, bold, driven, hardworking, fit, logical and exceedingly honest because she cared. A loyal friend and great listener. A true boss lady who worked her ass off and got promoted at work quickly, and was even voted MVP and nominated for another award normally only offered to more senior level employees at Best Buy. I always admired her ability to stay calm and get shit done. She was always talking to us about how she could improve, and that encouraged us to push our limits.
She was determined to work out and stay fit through yoga, gymming and a generally healthy diet. She was very focused and had clear goals in life. In fact, her dad recently found a copy of her 2018 career goals in her computer which was meticulously planned out. Just like the perfectionist she was. I’m sure all of us can attest to how loyal, sensible, helpful and wise she was. She had wonderful intuition about anyone or anything, and would speak her mind in the most badass and classy way possible. It stung for a bit but made you want to be better. She had great style and taste in people, just look at everyone gathered here.
We met at Vancouver Fashion Week, hit it off, and had 8 wonderful years of great friendship, alongside all of these good friends who have gathered here today, and went through all the ups and downs of growing up together – from pretending to swim but really just chilling in the UBC Aquatic Centre jacuzzi (She complained about me bailing on her at the last minute, leaving her there with 5 other guys, but we all know she secretly enjoyed it lol), bad haircuts, petty arguments which we would quickly resolve, questionable fashion choices, sleepovers, sarcastic Instagram comments, house parties, countless inside jokes, birthdays, failed and successful matchmaking sessions, studying for exams at Sauder, being so close that people often doubted our sexual orientations, graduation, to growing into real adults with real responsibilities, launching and navigating our careers, overcoming the challenges of figuring out the right career paths, endless conversations about adulthood and all the random gossip, secrets, hiking, summer trips, foodie adventures, work talks, karaoke, yoga and workout sessions, spontaneous hangout & dessert sessions.
We were there for each other's darkest and brightest moments. As my trusty partner in crime, she made the transition of growing up bearable and enjoyable. She was my non-judgmental go-to friend for anything very silly or serious, and it’s so weird now that I won’t get to crash her gym, send her random messages whenever I thought of something related to her, or arrange to meet up spontaneously just to catch up. She made sure I stayed true to myself and my individuality, and always held me to a higher standard. She had a strong set of values which she held herself accountable to. She prided herself on being honest, which is always refreshing and probably why we were so close, and gave the best advice.
We knew each other’s weaknesses, but accepted each other and encouraged each other to do better. She was a core part of my identity and will always remain so. When you’re growing up in your 20’s, you go through a lot of changes and self-doubt, and can relate to your friends more than anything. She understood me on a deep level and always had my back. We balanced each other out well. She was the logical, responsible and sensible one in all of our friend groups. She had this intuition that allowed her to read people and situations accurately. We were true partners in crime. With her as my friend, I felt fearless and that I could be a real boss woman, improving myself in all aspects. She would quickly point out the truth & never let me settle for less than I deserved. Through specific challenges and failures we faced, we gained better self-awareness. She shaped who I am today. During one of our recent chats, she told me "nothing wrong with having a strong personality, be true to who you are".
I was actually talking to her on Facebook the night before her passing. We were making plans for brunch at Jam Cafe on March 17 with our good friend Charles. (We carried through with this at the time she suggested: 130pm, and believed her spirit was there enjoying the delicious brunch with us.) She talked about how lucky she was with a lot of things in life, that she grew up in a happy, stable and supportive family environment, with everything she needed. She had a clear mind about her career. She was refreshed, happy and well-fed from her family vacation trip in Japan, anticipating her trip to Taiwan, and wanted to have a long discussion about work goals because that’s the kind of person she was - always driven to improve and succeed.
Although I feel like no one will ever truly replace her, we all have to stay strong and celebrate her spirit and who she was. As more challenges get thrown our way, I know she would have wanted us to be true to ourselves, work our butts off, speak our minds like real bosses, wine and dine and enjoy the finer things in life.
I am shattered that we had to lose her at such a young age. We won’t be able to share secrets, go on hikes where she would outpace me and groan at me for lagging behind, grow older and wiser together, have deep conversations, and celebrate more of her milestones such as her future promotions, dating adventures and potential future marriage to her dream Korean looking guy, as well as vacations to Tofino, Taiwan and other places. I know all of us are feeling pain and loss and moving through grief at our own paces. But I want this to be a celebration of her life, which exemplified ambition, laughter and perseverance. She never ever gave up when faced with challenges that were thrown her way, and she never let me do so either. She would have wanted all of us to live our lives to the fullest to honour her memory.
As all of us join hands and hearts in moving through this terrible period of grief, I want to remind you of this: we had such a phenomenal run together even though Demi left us way too early. She left without pain and regrets. She left as a pure, determined and strong-hearted woman. Here’s to Demi singing and dancing to cute Kpop singers, watching too much anime and dramas, hiking along different trails in the summer, doing yoga, leading the charge and going above and beyond at work, and being the #bossbabe that we all remember her as. I still want to believe this is a bad dream but know that it is real. If I pause for a bit, I can feel her presence around us, guiding us to be at our best. With so much love and compassion around us, it’s like her soul remains with us. I’m pretty sure she’s up there blowing minds already. Demi left us when she was young and wild, bright and bold, and we will meet again in the stars.
If anyone wants to view the powerpoint we prepared for her funeral with many of our good memories or just share stories of grieving, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.