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Three years ago, we had to say goodbye to our amazing, brilliant Alicia. I’m still not sure how the world has kept turning.

It didn’t hit me until I got an email from another dear friend this morning. It wasn’t about anything related to Alicia or cancer, or anything sad at all. It was a simple email with happy news about the progress of her pregnancy and making plans to see each other again soon. Things that Alicia and I could have been talking about in an alternate universe. It just hit me so hard that everyone else’s lives, mine included, have been able to go on into new stages, with new lessons to learn, where Alicia’s was cut far, far too short.

In a way, she jumped the line in “life lessons.” She had learned so much by the very end and was an incredible example to thousands of people in her wisdom… I don’t know, this seems like a weird way to talk about a 28-year-old, but I feel like she had figured out so much about life in her short time, and was able to show all the rest of us what really mattered.

I miss her. I miss her incredible smile, her rich, musical laugh (as they say in the novels), her wit, and most of all, her compassion. I wonder what she would be doing now, if cancer had so radically reshaped her life. Would she still have become a writer, like she had always dreamed? Would she have moved to online media, like so many other newspapermen and women have had to? Would she be starting her own family, or would she be concentrating on her career? She would have been the most remarkable mother. Would we have been able to commiserate about diapers and sleep deprivation like we did about boys and finals?

I wish she could be here to see the turning of the tide on marriage equality. She was such a champion of it long before it was “cool,” and I have to say she was instrumental in convincing me that it was the right thing to do. I think she would be so happy and so proud.

Three years, Leashy. I miss you so, so much.