In Memoriam, Brie Lucas (Brie O’Neill), 1970-2012

I need to take time out from my photo trip posts to pay tribute to a very dear friend from a past life. Most of you have never heard of Brie (rhymes with “cry”), but I have to do this, so please bear with me.

Before I moved to Seattle, I lived in Dallas for ten years, and one of my favorite people there was Brie O’Neill. I met Brie when she was just out of college, and we immediately became great friends. Brie was young and beautiful, super-smart and passionate about everything she did. Her quick wit was unparalleled. And she was a sweetheart, always a pleasure to be around. She had her troubles, but you never heard about them.

BrieWell, eventually she moved to Kansas City to try to get into nursing school and I moved to Seattle, and somewhere along the line we lost touch with each other. Remember, there was no Facebook in 1995, so we actually had to write letters to one another, if you can believe that, and at some point she moved to a new address, and that was that. But I always wondered how she was doing.

This weekend, while looking for photos that my college physics professor had requested, I came across some old photos and letters from Brie and decided to give Facebook a shot at finding her. I did a People Search, and there it was, under Facebook’s “Search the web” section: “brie o’neill obituary”. Oh, no. Please, no.

The link took me to the obituary and guest book of Brie Lucas, and it was the same Brie I had known in Dallas. I was heartbroken. How could the world lose such a sweet and loving person as Brie at the young age of 42?

I learned from the guest book entries that she had fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse, naturally being chosen by her fellow students to give a hilarious and touching commencement address at graduation from nursing school. After working as a nurse in Kansas City she married and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is there that she died a year ago this Friday.

Brie02I’m not a good enough wordsmith to accurately describe my feelings, but suffice it to say that I was hit hard by news of her death. Yes, it has been over seventeen years since her last letter and more than that since I last saw her, but I feel the loss deeply. I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband and family have been through. All I know is that the world is a better place for her having been here, and she left a lasting and positive impression on every person whose life she touched.

So goodbye, sweet Brie. You were awesome. And you will live in our hearts forever. May you rest in peace.

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2 Responses to “In Memoriam, Brie Lucas (Brie O’Neill), 1970-2012”

  1. Dawn Kelley says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. A little piece of your heart goes with them when that happens.