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IT’S BEEN SO DIFFICULT for me to put into words my ten years of friendship with Nancy. I’ll try my best to describe our friendship and hopefully I can convey how tremendous this loss has been.

I am sure many have said that she was honest and straightforward. She definitely told it like it was. But to me, when I think of Nancy, I think of someone who took on the role of my protector.

The best part of living in my apartment building was that my two best friends lived right upstairs. I would spend countless hours in their apartment discussing the typical and not-so typical experiences that one discusses with their closest friends. If I were relaying a story to Nancy about how I felt someone had wronged me, she’d invariably take my side. All she needed to hear was that someone hurt me and that was enough. I believe there was no in-between with her. Either you were her friend or you weren’t. She gave a lot and expected a lot. You had to prove to her that you were worthy of being her friend and I was lucky enough to be one of the chosen.

Physically, she was my savior, too. I’ve been on numerous mountain hikes with Nancy, whether in Las Vegas or New Jersey. She knew I had a tremendous fear of heights. As I’d climb up that mountain crying, shaking, and screaming, “I’m going to fall,” she’d be right behind me saying, “No, you’re not. I’ve got you.” She would literally put her hands on my back and with all her might push me up that mountain.

Over the past three months I’ve been thinking how those hikes stimulated our friendship. Whenever I was feeling “down” Nancy would be there to push me back up. She wouldn’t stand for my feeling sorry for myself and scoffed at my occasional lack of confidence. And it wasn’t her way to give disingenuous compliments or encouragement. Her constant reassurance that everything in our lives will work out and be okay was always emanated with the utmost of sincerity.

She was tremendously supportive. I’ve had my career ups and downs over the years and I began a new career in January 2001. Nancy immediately noticed the change in me. “It’s so nice not to hear you complain about work and to see you happy in a job,” she said.

Nancy, Nicole, and I would make a custom out of celebrating our birthdays together with our friends. I remember I was depressed about turning thirty and Nicole was going to be out of town. Nancy wouldn’t let my birthday go by without doing something. She hosted a dessert in her apartment on a Friday night and invited all my friends. I don’t think I ever told her how much that meant to me.

It was Nancy who signed me up at the gym. “Let me make you my project,” she’d say. “I’ll whip you into shape.” I was apprehensive to go to the gym myself, with all those fit people. She took me every time until I felt comfortable going alone. In fact, the first time I took an aerobics class without her, in the middle of the class, I looked towards the glass door and saw Nancy peering into the room waving at me, beaming with pride.

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Acknowledgments Introduction Testimonies Photo Gallery 1 Reflections from Nancy's Mother