There are times when you have gut feelings when something is wrong. I’ve had these feelings so many times and rushed to the friend or family member. This time it didn’t happen. It was someone else’s gut feeling that had me rushing to my friend.
Anastacia Campbell was the most brilliant woman and human I have ever had the pleasure to meet and know. Her mind worked in a way that you could only sit back and enjoy, or be absolutely terrified by. A wonderful sadistic humor would creep into so many aspects of her life, and would have her giggling wildly as you fell into the trap she set for you.
Stacy and I met a decade ago, out and about with a group of photographers exploring Detroit. I was always intimidated by her: tall, skinny, platinum blonde, and those big blue eyes. But it wasn’t until this year that we really bonded.
A random message for an event on Facebook asking who might want to go skydiving greeted me one day. I had just gone through a breakup and looked at the message, and decided instantly “Fuck it. Lets do it”. She was so excited and I could practically hear her jumping up and down with glee. She called the event “The Day You Jump Out of a Plane On Purpose”, and what a day it was.
After the jump, we laughed and talked and I was instantly hooked on her again. The next four months came fast and we would spend nights together laughing until our sides hurt, or just sitting and talking, a glass of wine in hand. My favorite nights were the ones when she would get this crazed look in her eye and go “Lets do something”, and off we would go to find whatever trouble she had concocted for the two of us.
She loved driving too fast, blasting her music for the heavens to hear (especially Girl Talk – All Day, and Childish Gambino). She loved her pup and her friends with a fierceness I had never known. She also loved sitting on her couch, phone in one hand, glass of wine in another, legs curled up under her as we talked in whispers about all of our crushes and past loves, like we were still in high school. I would sit in absolute awe of her as I watched her brain work and listened to the words spilling from her mouth.
I will never be able to find a friend like her again. One that comes so naturally, one that has gone through the same experiences as me and helps me open up so easily.
When I rushed to her place that night, I knew. I knew before I even opened the door to her apartment. Tears were already streaming down my face and my body shook with absolute terror. I half hoped to find her curled up on the couch and look up at me going “oh! Hi! What are you doing here? Oh, who cares, grab the wine and pour us a glass!” Instead, I sat on the floor next to her and cried. I cried hard. But I knew I had to pull myself together. For her. For her family. For her friends and loved ones. For her pup Brody. And I did. I knew that this was my duty, and the last thing I could do for her.
I whispered to her in the next moments, telling her how much I hated her for doing this. Crying and saying I wish she had just texted me saying she needed me to come over. I told her that I loved her, and I was sorry I failed her. I let her know that this was by far the best summer I had ever had, and I would never have another like it. And I watched the sun go down from her apartment and knew there was no coming back from this.
Stacy Effing Campbell. My dear girl, you are so loved. You were the brightest person in this world, and it has become so much dimmer without you in it.
Goodbye my dearest friend. Go in peace, go with love. You were afraid of falling, but you are definitely flying now.