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In Loving Memory of Abigail M. Bendis

Image by Jinle Zhu

Image by Jinle Zhu

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There are a million different stories to tell about Abby, some of which I probably won’t ever find the confidence to share. But what comes to mind immediately is the day we climbed onto her roof.

The tiles were a bit dusty, and there were skylights we were scared of stepping on. We took crazy risks to get good pictures that day, and I remember feeling happy for the first time in a long time. That’s the memory I want to preserve forever.

Sometimes if I imagine hard enough, the roof with the skylights extends for miles and miles, and everyone is on it, not just the people who were actually there. This time, everyone can come.

I’m not sure what that says about Abby or me, but I suppose it says something that Abby was willing to let me climb onto her roof with the skylights in the first place. I want to remember that moment and share it because it’s one of my brightest memories with her.

I can’t even imagine how deeply she has influenced me and how empty I am now that she’s gone. I don’t even know the depths of my own emotions. I just know that no matter who it was, Abby had a lasting impact on people.”

I say one of my brightest memories of her because there are so many. Sometimes, just seeing her was enough to make me happy. She’s one of the few people who can do that. I can’t even imagine how deeply she has influenced me and how empty I am now that she’s gone. I don’t even know the depths of my own emotions. I just know that no matter who it was, Abby had a lasting impact on people.

Abby has even met some of my long-distance friends. Once, I was meeting someone in New York when we were on a Model UN trip, and she insisted on coming with me. She said my friend was beautiful, and he still remembers.

Another time, I was Skyping someone during open house. Abby came over and somehow ended up in a water chugging contest over Skype with my friend, who also still remembers her. Even for the people who only met her once, it is just so hard to forget someone so genuinely good in a way few people in this world are.

By now, I’ve asked all of these friends to do the same thing: Spare her a thought every now and then. Don’t forget her. She deserves to be remembered in our brightest memories and in her happiest moments. It is so important she is not defined by one moment but rather for the life she lived and shared with others, and it is so important that her memory will not be forgotten. She will not be erased.

In the end, I think that’s all we can do. There’s so much I’d trade to get Abby back. I’d give up all my college acceptances and all my scholarships and every cent in my goddamn wallet to have her back on the roof with the skylights again, but I can’t.

I’d give up everything in a heartbeat, but I can’t. Sometimes I feel helpless in my knowledge that the only thing I can really do is not forget her. I love and respect her unconditionally. I will always love her unconditionally.

In the end, I can only do this, and I ask the same of you: Please just spare her a thought every now and then?

Don’t forget her.

The Bendis family is asking for students to send videos recounting their favorite memories with Abby. For more information, check for an email sent by Todd Bendis.”

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In Loving Memory of Abigail M. Bendis