I'm not able to write about Leslie yet. Her best friend/roommate Buck asked if I thought I'd want to speak at the memorial, or, if I didn't feel up to that, write something. I'm not sure. I've tried and tried to write about Leslie--I never get very far before I just break down crying and can't get any further. I've practiced things I might say while driving, or here alone--even when I'm not alone--I caught myself walking around Walmart the other night talking about her. I'm hoping I can come up with a tribute to my daughter. I will give it another try today. She deserves it, although I'm sure everyone will understand if I can't do this.
Leslie always told me she didn't have any friends. I often suspected that wasn't true, however, the last few days of her life, when she was semi-conscious, I was amazed at the number of people who came to see her one last time. To tell her they loved her. To kiss her. To thank her for everything she had done for them. They told me how selfless, kind and loving she was. When she passed and it became known that I was going to struggle to pay her funeral expenses (she had no insurance, and I had depleted my savings supporting her the last few months) her friends set up a "go fund me" page to help.
This is from that page. This is how her friends saw Leslie. I want to share this:
To try to "tell the story of your loved one" in this case is incredibly difficult, because Leslie was so much to so many. She took on different roles with everyone she faced in life, but she was consistently kind, loving, selfless, and....weird.
She hid her problems well, preferring to make off color jokes on a regular basis and finding little things to poke fun at or complain about, such as dreading hearing certain songs and bands while working in a retail chain (which, frankly, is the most common thing in the world). She loved to sing to old country songs, she had beautiful script writing, and was the strangest old soul anyone could ever encounter.
Knowing Leslie was a gift. Through all her hardships, she never neglected to put anyone's needs before her own. She often had nothing, but would always find a way to do small things like getting a birthday gift to someone or sharing a photo of something cute that reminded her of a friend. It was second nature to her, and it was extraordinary.
Selflessness came at a price, however, and she had no means of paying any of these bills. The sickness came hard and came fast, as if she was at the top of a hill and someone pushed. No one could really prepare, and after a month of fighting, she lost her battle. That's where we, her family and friends, are left. We ask for this money to help with the loose ends, and to try to get her a tribute to showcase what a wonder she was. She was so loved, and sometimes forgot that, so this is the least she deserves.
The funds we are trying to raise are to cover the remainder of any medical bills or any bills that are still standing, a memorial service, and the cremation itself.
Anything anyone can spare will be appreciated. If you're the praying type, please give friends and family your thoughts, as well.
We loved Leslie like a sister. She was a gem. She will never come close to being replaced or replicated. She will be missed.
Leslie's funeral expenses are covered. Largely through the help of her biological dad. He had left us when Leslie was 3. He had become a drug addict -- started popping pills to keep up the energy to keep his small business going. He gave her up to my 2nd husband for adoption when she was 6. Les wanted nothing to do him, even after he got himself clean and pulled himself together. He was living halfway across the country. He tried many times to win his daughter back--she wanted nothing of him. When I learned she was dying I contacted him and told him the story. He offered to help, to donate part of his liver if it would help, to come and see her. I knew she wouldn't want that--and it was too late for him to be of any medical help. I told him that--he said he'd respect his wishes. We've spoken a number of times since then, and plan to keep in touch. I am pulling together pics and mementos of Les over the years to send to him.
The day after she died I called him to tell him. We cried together, as grieving parents should. I know this hurt him. I wish so much she would have accepted him back in her life. In many ways, she was so much like him (although not all of those ways were good). I told him that Les requested that she be cremated, followed by a simple gathering of friends and family. I told him we couldn't do much--the money was tight.
An hour later he called back and told me he wanted to pay for Les' cremation. He said it was the last, and least he could do for his daughter. I knew this was sincere, and from the heart, and I accepted. The hospice who supported us her last days gave us $500. Her go-fund-me page has raised enough that all her funeral expenses are covered.
It was important to her friends (and to me) that she be given a tribute worthy of her. Due to the love that people had for her, that will happen.
I'll get my own thoughts, memories of Leslie out here at some point. But this is a very fitting start to knowing the wonderful, unique, yet troubled, young woman who passed away so tragically.
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