To Tonya, the best friend a girl could have ever had.

Melissa Marie Petrek-Myer

Dear Tonya,

You were the best friend a girl could have ever had. You listened to my problems and my dreams. You celebrated my victories and mourned my losses. For hours, you listened. When I was heartbroken over the failure of my latest relationship, or whenever it seemed like my own parents didn't support my goals, you could always put things into perspective. No matter what the hour, you were always a phone call away.

I wish you could have been there at my wedding, Tonya, standing by my side as my maid of honor. And yet I know that you were there in spirit, witnessing my happiness come to fruition as I stood there, surrounded by the beauty of Rothko, the flicker of candles and the peace of God.

You and I were part of a generation that revered friendship over money, ambition and yes, sometimes even over family ties. Your passing has simultaneously made me aware of my own mortality and brought me back to life. Every day, I think of my other dear friends with fondness. I call them more frequently, invite them over more frequently. I am now able to tell them that I love them.

One day, I will tell my own children all about you, their heavenly godmother. I'll tell them how you once told me: "Self-respect can't be lost, or taken; it can only be given away." I will tell them about how you triumphed over painful events in your childhood, and in your adult life; and how, due to your resilience, you finally came into your own. I will tell them that you taught be how to believe in myself, how to achieve what I wanted. How you taught me how to dream.

I know that you want all of us me, Tammy, Kelly and Beverly to be strong for you now. No doubt you miss us as much as we miss you. But be patient, my dear friend. Be patient. One day, we'll all be together in your beautiful, new land.

Your "soul sister,"

Melissa Marie

4-9-68 --- 4-4-95

"I would like to go up to that bareback rider, who had just reappeared, smiling; her dress a bouquet of flowers. I would circle her with my flowered and unflowered years. On my knees, I would tell her wishes and dreams not of this world. I would run after her horse to ask her how to live, how to escape from myself, from the world, whom to run to, where to go."

- Marc Chagall-

If you wish to write Melissa you can find her at:[email protected]
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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW