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Edit: I wrote this a few nights ago as a private note to myself, but felt it needed to be said out loud.  I didn’t want to answer the phone call from a close friend this morning afraid of what I would hear, but sticking your head in the ground doesn’t make it go away.  So thank you for updating me.  And to everyone who has had the pleasure of knowing Stump, be sure to count your blessings as she sure as hell was and still is one of them.  

Please don’t let me be too late. Of all the crazy things going on in our lives, we tend to forget that exactly that is happening: life. And all too often in an instant, we lose what we cherish most. Similar words were spoken when everyone heard the news back in 2010, and it takes a bit of processing to understand. The life in which we live is simply part of the bigger picture, of which, we as a community can only comprehend a small fraction. And it seems that when we do make that realization, time appears to be an all too fickle commodity. A commodity that is not in the slightest renewable or even able to be put on hold.

I’ve been in close contact for the past few weeks with people I’ve all but fallen out of touch. People who certainly played an important role in who I’ve become today and even more so have become outstanding individuals in their own right. I’m disappointed in myself for not keeping in better touch, but as it’s well known, there’s certainly a lot to keep up with these days. But I feel blessed to have those same friends reach out to me and update me on the latest news that all of us have been dreading. Certainly it takes a community to lend support to one another, and I appreciate and love every one in the small community in which we belong.

I’ve gone on to make myself a promise, and even more so, a close friend a promise, that I will do a better job of recognizing the blessings in my life. For as easy it is to be blind sided by bad news, we must realize that there is still plenty of beauty that surrounds us. The fact that we can experience any of it is a miracle in and of itself. The individual lives that each of us has the ability to touch and leave lasting impressions far exceeds what any one individual can accomplish in a single lifetime. In a way, you have taught me this.

Just as those around you have molded you over time, we have come to admire your determination, heart, and gentle yet firm demeanor that you have towards your life’s ambitions, goals, and willingness to stick to you guns. Even if it does come off as a bit stubborn. Deep down, we’re all a bit stubborn. You just exemplify it a bit more than others, and even more so, in all the appropriate ways that portrays the correct way of getting things done. And in my own stubbornness, I have been hesitant on heeding your advice from time to time, but you have always been right. No nonsense. It distracts you from what’s important. Your thoughts: my words.

In fact, many of your words were never spoken. You simply did. You led Your life in a way that exemplified what it meant to be a star athlete, a scholar, a loving friend, a fighter, a tougher than nails woman that let nothing stand in your way. And for that, we admire your character and spirit. We need more like you. For now, we’re simply lucky and blessed to have had you.

Your spirit will certainly carry on in all of us. Those of us who have had the opportunity to share in your triumphs, victories, upsets, let downs, and all else in between will carry you in our hearts forever. In the meantime, don’t let the clock run out just yet, without me coming over to see you. So again, I ask you: Please, don’t let me be too late.

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