For Monica.

My friend died this year - she lost in her battle against addiction.
Tonight in Vancouver is her memorial. I wrote this for it:

I've been away from the downtown eastside of Vancouver for several months and I miss it. I miss many things: places, smells, friends and family... I also miss Monica. There are things I know and love about Monica. She was:
Honest. Always honest. Sometimes brutally so.

Upfront. Monica didn't beat around the bush much... and didn't have a lot of time for that sort of thing.

Real. Monica was never fake. I always knew where she was at, whether I liked it or not.

Prayer ready. Monica was always asking for prayer, receiving prayer and offering up prayers.

Monica was beautiful. She was cool too. Her motorcycle rocked. She had attitude but was never above anyone.... never. She always rooted for the underdog. She had this tenacity about her... she was extremely disciplined in so many ways. She worked out like clock work - she's the only heroin addict I know that finished a master's degree while in the throws of an addiction. She was a finisher.

Monica was a lover. She loved quickly and openly. She's the only women I've married twice! Once in a church - the other on a roof. :-)

Monica was a mother. She loved Zeek and Jake... she prayed for and with them often. I've watched her worry and cry over them... and laugh with their joys. I've watched the pain of her journey with her boys.

Monica was down to earth. She was rooted in earthiness.

Monica was many things. To me she was a long time friend. I loved her. And I am deeply grieved at her passing. I'm going to miss her frank emails (with the red alert for expletitives). I'm going to miss watching her become all that God wanted her to be. I'm going to miss her triumphs. I'm going to miss praying with her on the phone at all hours of the day or night and exchanging emails of encouragement and advice. I'm going to miss her until I see her again... in a place where she will no longer be beaten down by circumstances and abused by addiction.

When I see her I've got many questions about the day she died. I need to talk with her long and hard. I'm sure she'll be frank, honest and real. But mostly, on the day we meet again, I'm going to hug her and tell her how much I missed her and how thankful I am that I got to be her friend. She brought a lot of colour to my world... and for her friendship and life - I am grateful. I pray that her efforts to better people's lives will bear fruit... and I pray in many ways that I will learn to be more like Monica... and that her friendship will live on in me.

I know Monica would want us to grieve in Hope... let's honour Monica by choosing to LIVE full lives of faith - believing Jesus when He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life". Monica knew and loved Jesus, let's follow her lead on that.