I grew up swimming and met most of my awesome friends throughout my time in the water...here is the story of my friend, Stacy.
In the 4th grade my mom put me on the YMCA swim team. I loved it so much that I wanted to swim year around. When we moved to Colorado we found FAST (Fort Collins Area Swim Team) where I continued to live in the water. When I entered high school I was on the Rocky Mountain Lobos swim team. I had SO much fun with those girls and have so many memories from my time swimming in high school. When high school was over I was ready to hang up my goggles and swim cap. I wanted to experience college without swimming. I was done with the chlorine smell..seriously every time I got wet the smell would resinate from my skin. I was done with the tinged yellow hair. I was ready to live outside the water.
My first semester at UNC (University of Northern Colorado) I needed to take a PE class. I decided to take swimming just to have some fun time in the water. After 2 weeks in the class the swim instructor, who was also the swim coach, asked me and another girl if we were interested in swimming for the UNC swim team. She saw potential she said. I thought about it for a couple days and decided that it would be a lot of fun and it was something that I would like to do.
The first day of swim practice I was nervous.
I was scared.
These girls had already been swimming together for a couple weeks, they were in better shape then I was and they had already gotten to know each other. Here I was, the new girl.
I remember getting there a few minutes early. I put my swimsuit and cap on. I was ready to introduce myself.
The girls began to enter the locker room. Here goes nothing...
Within seconds, without hesitation, a blond, curly haired girl approached me and introduced herself. "Hi, my name is Stacy Frey." Right then and there the awkwardness left. The uneasiness left. The nervous butterflies left.
Stacy quickly put on her swimsuit and took me by the hand and led me out to the pool where she introduced me to every other girl on the swim team.
Stacy made my first day of swim practice comfortable. That is where we became best friends.
After that moment we spend ALL of our time together. Swim practice of course... breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cafeteria, parties, parties and more parties. We were friends. Friends that enjoyed spending time together. Friends that made each other laugh. Friends that told secrets. Friends that cried together. Friends that comforted each other when boys broke our hearts. Friends that shared life with one another.
Stacy would come home with me for Easter where we would drink one too many mimosas. We wold see scary movies together and then I would need her to stay the night because I was scared out of my mind. She would go through haunted houses with me and hold my hand the whole time. We would sit on the bus next to each other on the way to swim meets and laugh and tell jokes and tell each other not to take that last bite of our sandwich. We would tell each other the truth about the outfit we had chosen to wear to The Armory. We would dance like nobody was watching...all the time. We even spent a summer together working at a camp in New York.
I loved my time with Stacy.
Stacy says what she thinks and feels without hesitation. Everyone who comes in contact with Stacy immediately is friends with her. She doesn't make anyone feel uncomfortable...ever. She is funny. Like pee your pants funny. She is honest. She is joyful. She is beautiful.
She made my time at UNC worth it all.
Almost 3 years ago my friend Stacy was diagnosed with ALS also known as Lou Gehrigs disease or Motor Neuron Disease. A year before she was diagnosed she married her soulmate, Mike. She met Mike at that same summer camp in New York where he also worked. He is from Australia and that is where they now live. Mike is basically Stacy in the male form and those two together are the real deal.
2 years ago I went out and visited Stacy and Mike in Montana while they were back for a fundraiser. My time with them was absolutely beautiful.
Stacy and Baker
One of the things that left me awe-struck while visiting them was the love that Mike and Stacy have for one another. Mike is Stacy's body and does things for her without being asked. Every time I think about the way Mike took care of Stacy, the way he looked at her with love, the way he joked with her and the way he finished her sentences brings tears to my eyes. Their love is truly a self-giving love.
Mike and Stacy
We never will understand why God allows certain things to happen or why He allows suffering in this world. But I do know that Stacy is an inspiration to me and to all those around her. I do know that God blessed her with Mike to be her husband and go through this journey with her, to have a best friend by her side always. She truly lives life to the fullest.
Her friendship means the world to me and I am a better person for having Stacy as a friend.
I love you very much Stacy.
Happy 30th Birthday!