Monday, August 04, 2003

Goodbye Michelle
Written by Stacey Young

On July 11, 2003, my best friend Michelle Gringler died of a massive heart attack. She was 26. There was no warning, no pre-condition, no hint that anything was wrong. Thankfully, she didn’t suffer as the blood clot that caused the heart attack reached the heart almost as quickly as it was formed.

Andrew and I learned of this horrific news this past week. As all of you can imagine, this news has destroyed the both of us. For a number of reasons, we learned of the news long after her funeral took place. But to help me gain some “closure”, Andrew has allowed me pay homage to my best friend through his blog. For this, I am eternally grateful. His support and friendship throughout this recent time has been immeasurably helpful.

I met Michelle my first week of university almost 9 years ago where we hit it off immediately. Michelle was born and raised in Toronto but decided to study Criminology and Psychology at the University of Ottawa. And to this day, I’m glad she did…

Michelle and I spent many a sleepless nights studying for exams, partying, talking, playing cards, and even working on a government contract together. She was strong-willed, fiesty, compassionate, and absolutely brilliant (she won more academic achievements than every friend I have combined…and that’s saying ALOT).

She was always the one I called when I needed a shoulder to cry on, or when I had great news to share. She was the one friend that helped me the most through my depression and frequent panic attacks. She was the one friend I could always trust, no matter what.

She was also the friend who put me up for a summer in Toronto, where we lived with her loving parents Rosie and Tom and her wonderful boyfriend Ryan. That summer was filled with many “firsts” (including my first time living away from home) and even more happy memories.

I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering Michelle’s family have gone through. To them, I wish to extend my utmost sympathies.

For my birthday earlier this year, Michelle gave me a box of “calming” candles. Andrew and I burned one of these candles the night we heard the news. This symbolic action really had an impact on us both. To continue to commemorate her life, we will burn a candle in her honour on every special occasion. That way, she will always be with us.

Thank you Michelle for being the woman you were. You have made me a stronger person, and touched my soul in ways that you can’t imagine. I will never forget all of the advice that you have given me over the years. More importantly, I will never forget your beautiful smile, love for life, and perfect friendship.

Until we meet again, know that I will always love you…


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