My dear friend Irina passed away early Saturday morning after a long illness.

This was not expected.  At all.

I have never lost anyone close to me outside of a grandparent.  I’ve never lost someone I loved so dearly and spent most every day with in one fashion or another.

I have truly never felt such pain & grief but I am trying to make sense of it all and that is going to take a very, very long time, if ever.

Every time I blogged she always hit me back with a comment or some love.  She was always there for all her friends and knowing she took the time to read and share something back is just one more thing I will miss for as long as I live.

Today I am proud to honor her

Irina was so much more than I can put into words.

Many knew Irina as a Master Gardener.  She loved her plants, dirt, garden, etc.

I knew Irina Stewart as a Master Gardener of friendships.

She cultivated many and planted us next to each other.

Even when we didn’t know it she knew we would bloom and be beautiful.

She groomed our roots to be supportive in a network of love and grace.

She made me a better person, friend, and in her honor I will push to be so much more just as she was.

Love each other.

TELL each other.

Friendships that you have with that best girl you talk to every day ~ TELL HER.

Don’t let any petty bullshit get in your way of love and living the way we should.

Supporting one another and being kind, loving, cheerleaders, and most of all the very best teammates in this amazing short life.  You are never guaranteed the next text, call, hug, or just saying I love you.

Expect me to hug you & love you and continue her passion of growing friendships.

With love & a broken, bereft heart,


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12 Responses to Irina

  1. A lovely way to honor your sweet friend. There is nothing better i can think one could do than live better, more sweetly, joyfully, grace filled… than this.
    My heart goes out to you. I have lost hard, but I dread the loss of girlfriends… They are precious.
    Take the best parts of her , hold them close and grow deeply. Sending hugs.

  2. Amanda says:

    A friendship of the perennial variety, she’ll pop up with the most surprising frequency and persistence. Sending warm thoughts your way.

    And amen to letting petty bullshit go.

  3. Linda Tortorelli says:

    Beautifully written comments about a life very well lived….

  4. Mary Ellen Fallon says:

    What a lovely tribute to your dearest friend, Irinia. So very, very hard to lose a loved one~especially unexpectedly~ and my heart goes out to you. I knew Irina many years ago, but still feel her light. She meant so much to so many & her loss will be felt forever. My heart aches for her family & friends…keep her love in your heart & let her shine thru you.

  5. Ami Goedke says:

    I am sorry for your loss. I remember Irina from my time in Champaign, I know she will be missed by everyone her life touched.

  6. sara says:

    This is beautiful. I am sorry. I love you. YOU are one of those girls to me. You have been ever since the night I first met you and you rescued me.

  7. Ann Wampler says:

    What a lovely tribute Amy.

  8. April says:

    That was a beautiful tribute. I know we do not see each other everyday, but you are one of those people that make me strive to be a better mother ( a better person in general). I love you for that! I will pray for God to bring you comfort.

  9. Amanda says:

    She was a beautiful woman, with a spirit so great it touched hundreds of lives. She will not be forgotten. Wonderful post.

  10. Angela says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Amy. This is a beautiful tribute to your friend. My prayers are with you.

  11. Jill P says:

    I went to school with irina and am so sad to hear about her passing. 🙁 what kind of illness did she have?

  12. Ray says:

    Walking thru the park…wife and I spotted a tribute plaque next to a park bench. Irina Stewart… keep us both wondering about who she was, is,etc. Read the posts, and for those of us who believe in the “unseen” and “untouched”, it was wonderful to find the posts here.

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