Stephanie C.






Alexandria Armstrong is my best friend, born August 9th of 1987, just four months earlier than I. We met in 2009 when she was my client in the parking business. I'd close the parking structure at 10, but she'd get off work at the same time. She would arrive 'home' by 10:15, so I often left the gates open for her out of unspoken respect for a fellow late shift worker. We would always exchange a pleasant smile and nod, but one night I decided I wanted to know her. Instantly, we became inseperable. Alex came back to my apartment that night and spent the next two days there. Alex managed to be the only person I could tell my deepest, darkest, nastiest secrets. In private we would share our sarcastic remarks, dry humor, guilty pleasures, and accomplishments. We always gave each other permission to celebrate finding the little things that made life a little brighter. Alex also struggled with severe anxiety and depression. Despite our closeness, there were times I wouldn't hear from her for weeks, occasionally months. I understood and respected the space she needed. We both struggled with exceptionally low lows and I also had periods of deep darkness where I couldn't bring myself to pick up the phone or leave the house. Once either of us came back up for air, it was like no time had passed at all. Thick as thieves and friends forever. On March 1st, 2019, Alex passed away in a house fire. The news was devastating. It still feels unreal, even years after her passing. I'm still waiting for her call, text, or Snapchat. I continue to message an account of hers that remains logged in when I need her, but I'd give anything for one more response. I took these photos in the Grand Traverse Commons, an area we always promised each other we'd go to together. We never made it. The shawl's coloring is a reminder of the ebb and flow of the anxiety and depression we struggled and supported each other through. In light comes darkness, and in darkness comes beauty.

Stephanie Cardwell - Alex