I’d like to take a moment to be a little personal. I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately, probably because I’ve been drawing graveyards and burnt forests for the past couple of weeks, but it all became very real on Monday.

On Monday morning, I checked my Facebook page, and there in my news feed was a message. Stacey Low had passed away over the weekend. Stacey was my friend and co-worker from the now liquidated Borders Bookstore. After Borders closed we’d all gone our separate ways, but we’d still see each other from time to time around the city. Hadn’t I just seen Stacy? How could she be dead? She’s not that much older than me. It didn’t seem possible.

Stacey was one of those people who seem to be able to make friends with anyone. Retail can be hell, but Borders was a special place. It was a safe place for nerdy people who loved books to work together and be around what they loved. Stacey was my superior for much of the time I was working there, but she never felt like my boss.  Stacey loved Disney, chocolate covered bacon and Harry Potter, I’d run into her at comic conventions, and she never yelled at me for drawing on the daily schedule even when I wasn’t supposed to. Even if she was busy or having a bad day she’d always be happy to see you. You felt special just talking to her for a while. She’d call people by their last name, like she was the commander of a secret military or something. Who does that? Stacey did, and we loved her for that.

After the news of her death, her Facebook page flooded with messaged addressed to Stacey saying how much they’d miss her, heartfelt condolence to family members and fellow friends still grieving, and pictures and music dedicated to Stacey. People may think it’s disturbing that a Facebook profile could outlast the person who made it, but I take comfort in it. If they legacy we leave behind are people who will love us and miss us after we’re gone and reach out to others who knew us, I’m okay with that.

I know I wasn’t Stacey’s closest friend. But I still feel her lose. Losing Stacey felt like a kick to the stomach.  And I know I’ll miss her.

So here’s to Stacey. And to anyone out there on the internet who is suffering from loss of a loved one.  As bad as those hurt feeling are when you’re going through them, those feelings are important too. It hurts because that person mattered to us. We care for them and we miss them. We can’t close our hearts to those feelings or risk never feeling good again. The hurt and pain will fade, but the love and our memories will last forever. Even past our own death, someone will remember us. It goes on and on.