I met Maura when we were just two little kids in elementary school. It didn't take long for us to become inseperable. We would do everything together. We went on family vacations together, played after school together, made mock fashion shoots together, and shared everything with each other. When we reached the teenage years we were still two peas in a pod. We took dance classes, played in band, sang in choir, acted in plays and musicals, recorded our own music videos, and talked about boys on the phone for hours on end.
I moved to California half way through high school. Saying good bye to Maura then was hard. I had no idea how much harder it would be all those years later. She made me a scrapbook of all of our years growing up together. I still have it and look through it often. It's so special to me. It holds all of our childhood dreams and aspirations. When I moved away I missed her so much. I missed having a best friend that was really truly more like my sister.
I still remember the day I found out Maura had cancer. I was at work during my last year of college. I got the message from a mutual friend and I hid in the bathroom stall at the Getty trying to convince myself that it couldn't be true. That it was all a misunderstanding and everything would be fine.
I really truly believed in Maura and her strength. She was by far the most beautiful person that I have ever known. And that girl was strong.
The day she passed away my life changed. I truly believe her journey and her life changed my own. For the first time I felt the fragility of life. This time on earth is a gift from God. And I wanted to make sure I lived my life without fear, with passion, and with the strength and courage that Maura lived hers with.
Because of Maura I had the courage to tell Tim about my feelings for him. It wasn't long after she passed away that I decided I didn't want to waste another minute of my life without telling him about my feelings. And it was the best thing I have ever done!
On Maura's birthday (about a month after she passed away) I spent the day with Tim. He sat there so patiently and lovingly as I showed him our scrapbook and listened as I shared all of our stories and times together. He played me a video by Rob Bell about grieving. It touched me so deeply and for the first time since she passed I let all of my emotions out. I cried...a lot. But it was so good. And I knew right then and there that he was special too.
We had a slideshow of photos at our wedding that played during our ceremony. When the photo of me and Maura came up my mom looked back at me. It took all of my strength to hold it together in that moment. But I was so happy that she was there.
My dear Maura, I love you and miss you always. Thank you for teaching me about friendship, and what it means to live your life without fear and always with faith. My mother told me that the reason it hurt so much when we lost you was because the time we had with you was so good. And it was. It was the best.
I am so thankful that I spent my childhood with such a beautiful inspiring person. She helped make me the person I am today and for that, I am grateful. Her family was my second family, and I will always think of her as my sister.
-Playing "Dante's Peak" outside of Maura's house in the rain. We used wet newspapers as "ash".
-Accidentally recording our Britney Spears home music video over my dad's taping of Dr. Zhivago.
-Rolling Apples! (That one will always be our special joke)
-Our Spice Girls fashion shoot.
-Our Disney character friendship bracelets from our Disney World vacation.
-The BFF picture frame Maura made me out of popsicle sticks.
-The yellow and teal bracelet Maura made me that last year.
-Playing with Maura's sister Lydia's trombone. We wanted to play trombone so badly! We wanted to do anything Lydia did.
-Choreographing dance routines to weird Star Wars songs.
-Our Marilyn routine. I still remember it. We performed that so many times! It was wonderful.
-The time we decided it was a good idea to drink pickle juice and eat the salt from the bottom of a pretzel bag. It was in fact not a good idea.
-Maura's dog Rascal always stealing my cream cheese.
-Staying up all night trying to sew our Flinstones costumes for the Sadie Hawkins dance. Maura's date ended up with a very tiny top.
-Camping with the DeSouza's.
-All of the activities we did together: Band, choir, dance, musicals, plays, track. Oh, we were terrible at track! We would just go sit in the middle of the field when we got tired of running and play with the flowers.
-And so so so many more.
In our lovely choir dresses!
One of our themed dress up shoots. This was "Business Woman".
Maura as Baby Spice.
Identical hair and braces. Twins!
We loved taking photo booth pics. Especially the sticker ones!
I can't believe it's been three years.
Maura passed away from Sarcoma. Sarcoma is an under-researched, under-funded cancer. Please consider making a contribution to this research and donate to: MD Anderson Cancer Center- Donations, PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210. Please write "In memory of Maura de Souza" in the memo portion of the check to make sure the donation goes directly to sarcoma research.
Here's a link to a video of her beautiful graduation. It's so special and touching.
Ya-ya-sha-boo my dear Maura!