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Memorial Ornament
updated: Dec 26, 2012, 7:21 PM

By Zoeann Richardson

The photo Santa is holding is that of a very cherished friend named Stefanie Canright. Stefanie is one of those people you meet and you just cannot help but fall in love with. Her beautiful smile, warm welcoming spirit and incredible sense of humor make her totally magnetic. I had the good fortune to meet Stefanie through work years ago. We became instant friends. It is not often truly special people come along, but with Stefanie it was just so easy to enjoy her friendship. She's one of those people who make you feel like you've known her all your life. Honestly, one of the funniest people I've ever met. We spent so many great times laughing so hard we could barely breathe! Often talking on the phone more than once a day, always with laughter or advice shared.

The last conversation I had with her was about recommendations for the Thai food she was about to eat with her friend who was leaving on a private plane ride. Somehow Stefanie ended up on that plane. The news of the crash sent shock waves of pain through my soul. How could God or the universe or whatever you believe take this person from us? The world lost one of the good ones that day. November 10th 2004 was a dark day for those who knew and loved Stefanie. Stefanie was such a beautiful person inside and out. Her family, although devastated, was so incredibly welcoming and comforting to her close friends. Of course this amazing person came from an amazing family! Stefanie's mom, Patty, gave out the ornament to a handful of Stefanie's friends. I was honored to receive it.

Every year as I decorate my christmas tree I reserve a special place for the "Stefanie" ornament. I gaze upon her image and am always reminded of the truly beautiful person I was blessed to know, if only for a short while....Stefanie, you may be out of sight, but you are never out of mind.

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