There were a great many friends and loved ones that couldn’t make Stacey’s funeral last week because of distance or for two of her friends, really unfortunate timing. Her parents have given me permission to publish the eulogy I wrote for her for those folks and as a tribute.
I knew this day might happen, I knew that I might have to write something and one rule of writing is to write what you know, so this is what I know:
Stacey Murrin was my best friend, from the age of twelve, when we met, we were inseparable. If you believe in the idea of soulmates, Stace was mine. She understood me so well and often without saying anything, always gave me her quiet and loyal support. She was kind, compassionate and always put other people’s feelings above hers making her an amazing friend.
To say that Stace was a quiet person is an understatement. To most she was reserved and introverted but the majority of our time together was made up of laughter. The side-aching cackling until we cried kind. She was one of the funniest people I’ve known, dry, sarcastic and deadpan. Even when I visited her during her many and long hospital stays, I would be there until the nurses kicked me out, just so that we could talk and laugh together. I had a lot of mental health struggles when I was a teenager and never felt like I was accepted or belonged anywhere. Only with Stace did the pair of us find something safe. She may have been small but her heart was large and without ever knowing it, she saved me and I’ll never get her cackle out of my head.
Stacey loved animals, when we left school she went to a specialised agriculture college to learn more about animal care, she always wanted to be a vet or to have her own sanctuary and throughout her life she had many amazing cats (and of course Archie and Dru, her lovely dogs) that she loved as well as any person. She was also creative, she loved photography and drawing and would sketch amazing things; mythical creatures, characters from her favourite games, tv shows and films. She rarely showed them to people, never having the confidence to take her art any further, she preferred to spend her time in fantasy worlds of her RPGs, anime series and cosplay than deal with the reality around her, and who could really blame her for that? When life was too hard we escaped to these fantastic worlds we created together and there she could live lives she denied herself in reality.
One day I decided to go to uni, I had to grow up and our worlds crumbled, but our friendship, our safe space never ended. We both moved to opposite widths of the country which created physical distance but we never lost contact and I never took in to consideration how much of my own identity was influenced by our unique friendship. In her last few years she became more responsible for herself and her illness. We talked more and more about feminism, politics, and the NHS, all these things that affected Stace and people with illnesses like hers. I know that she wanted to do more to help others which is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she donated so much and has asked us all to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust so that others and their families can avoid suffering like hers. She was so lucky to have her close and caring family around her, her disease made her lonely at times and they were always there to lift her up. Especially when her sister Ellie was born, I remember her excitement and devotion was nothing I’d seen in her before and their strong relationship will always be a defying point in Ellie’s life I’m sure.
During her last few days in hospital, her Dad and I reminisced over the years and realised that we had so many memories of an active and lively person who had by all accounts a normal life, she lived out her years as well as the rest of us. She went to gigs, danced, partied with her friends, went all over the world with her parents, fell in and out of love, got tattoos and piercings and spent endless summers hanging at the skate park or one of ours houses wishing she was somewhere else. For so long, she never showed anyone her struggle. Cystic Fibrosis did not define Stace,, she was always so much more than this awful disease. She was like the warriors she played in her games, brave and stronger than any of us really knew until the end. She put up a hell of a fight, and unfortunately lost but her battle will never be in vain and her legacy lives on in her friends, family, her mum and dad and her sister, who she loved dearly. We were all so lucky to get to say our goodbyes, to have the opportunity to say the things that we have carried around with us for so long.
Writing a eulogy for my best friend isn’t something I should have to do aged twenty nine, we wanted to get to seventy nine together, with matching tartan slippers and zimmer-frames. I wish that could’ve been the way it was, instead I stand here still disbelieving and unprepared to say goodbye to my oldest and dearest friend. I love you, take care of the parts of us that you have taken with you and thank you for the memories and love you have left behind.
Stace died the day after her 29th birthday on 17th January 2017. She suffered from a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis which affects the lungs. At present it is still a terminal illness, life expectancy has gone up but sufferers still have shorter, more complicated lives. With the privatisation of the NHS, important services like the Cystic Fibrosis ward at Portsmouth Hospital are closing down, making it harder for people to receive the proper care and support they need. Stacey wanted any donations at her funeral to made to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust who help sufferers and their families. I know some of you reading this didn’t know Stacey, but if you want to donate a little, please visit: http://stacey.murrin.muchloved.com/frame.aspx?df=false
Her friend Sharon is also doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for CF treatments in Canada. Details here.