In loving memory of Alicia Ross
Alicia and Ian

Ian and Elliot's Eulogy for Alicia

“For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
All you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.”

Alicia and Elliot

LEESH,

Leading up to today, every one has been touched by the story of Alicia Ross; the community outpour has, from my perspective, been unprecedented. This solidifies my opinion that Alicia and the Fortis/Ross family are not only special people but also an integral part of their community. Alicia was the girl next door, who was an incredible daughter, sister, and to us, an amazing friend.

It now feels like there is a part of me missing. When you become very close with someone they become part of you. You pick up their mannerisms, lingo, sense of humor, inside jokes and share so many experiences. Your energy, soul and your spirit become somewhat intertwined. The Alicia part of me that is missing feels like a little bit of my consciousness. I have been walking around in a daze feeling that things are distorted and nothing is real. Alicia was such a large part of my life, and now my life has changed forever. However, I have to realize, that though she is gone I get to keep the memories we had, but there just won't be anymore. Our close group of friends have constantly surrounded ourselves with each other during this last while. It's the people that have shared time with Alicia that make this time of sorrow just a little bit more tolerable. At the same time that we have each gained a little bit from Alicia, we have each given her a little bit of all of us, maybe that's another one of the reasons that she was such a wonderful person.

To share some of the parts of Alicia, that she gave to me, and some more that she took with her, you must look and see who she was. Born February 8, 1980, Alicia lived with a different kind of spirit, one that holds almost nothing closer than her family and her friends. Over the past 10 years we have all gone through so many obstacles, adventures, experiences, not just good, but definitely different and we have had the opportunity to share them with Alicia. There was something unique about her growing up. Going through high school was not the typical experience. We made sure that we packed adventure into every step we took, whether it was during classes, after school or especially on weekends. She made a large contribution towards pushing the norm and breaking through the social barriers that constrain us all. Our close group of friends continues to be close today. Everyone went their separate ways over the last decade but we have made it a lifelong goal to remain close for the rest of our lives. There was never a shortage of chills, conversations or laughter when the whole crew got together. When you consider her a constant source of silliness, laughter, humor, caring, sarcasm, more sarcasm, wit, motivation, stubbornness, love and more love, silly dances, funny faces, cuteness, cuddling, radiance and one wacky obsession for fluff, you begin to get an idea of what those years were all about. Alicia has helped a lot of people get through a lot of tough times. She was always the first there to help a friend in need, and her motives were always pure. Many of us still plan on using Alicia for guidance and help in the future.

Alicia and friends It was the beginning of grade 9, 1995. We went back to Alicia's house after school and kicked off our shoes and it all began. With an open fridge, open door and 5 kids, it was no surprise that it took 2 years before any of us remembered leaving. But that's because with Alicia being our key, and her family's influence on her and us, the good times never stopped. There has never been a family that has cared for us the way that the Ross/Fortis family has. They treated each and every one of us as their own children, and encouraged us to come over whenever we felt like it. There was always a roof over our heads and a fridge full of food available. You need to understand that when you become friends with Alicia, you gain a whole family in the process. I can not even explain how special these people are and how special they make us feel. Walking through the doors of 3 Bronte puts a smile on my face every time. I get a sense of warmness and belonging when I am there and you can actually feel the love. There is no one that deserves for this to happen to but in this case, this tragic event happened to the nicest family that I have the privilege of knowing. A very special family lost a special special woman.

When you meet a girl and she says everything you are afraid of hearing because it's so true, and she fulfills you as a person, as well as the group of friends you cherish, you begin to see how lucky you are to have met such a person. Alicia generously satisfied this position in our lives. She knew how to be a friend and get deep inside and make you feel the way that only close, true friends could. We have a crew that the world could be jealous of, and now we are one girl short.

The night before we went away to university, we were sitting outside 3 Bronte discussing the excitement and the uncertainty of the years to come. I looked at Alicia realizing the high school crew and times were behind us, and said, "Things will never be the same ever again." I found this to be an extremely sad thought, but then she retorted while leaning over and giving a hug, "Things between all of us will never be the same, but between our group of friends, things are just getting tighter." So away the days and nights went, with university road trips and many more memories, all of us changing so much, but nothing able to shake the bonds formed, all along remembering that the best is yet to come. But now it's different, everything has changed, we can never physically turn to her and ask her for her advice, a joke, some chills or her comfort again; the best of Alicia is not yet to come. We can only remember her vibrant glow, and though she is no longer with us in her physical form she is part of our hearts and thoughts forever.

Alicia's passion for adventure went well beyond canoe trips and white water rafting. Over the past 10 years there have been many adventures, up north to cottages, car camping and parties of all variety, around Ontario and Quebec and to the USA. For years we packed up the car and drove, seeing live concerts such as Phish and Woger Ratters. Alicia always brought her smile to the party as well as one for everyone else. There was something else that Alicia managed to bring with her everywhere, her "fluff". She needed it or she wouldn't sleep. There have even been times when sleeping out; she could be known to cut your comforter for a sacred piece of fluff if it had been forgotten. And away she went head down, thumb in her mouth, and the fluff tucked under her nose, asleep and oblivious to the rest of the world.

Alicia and chipmunk When you have a room full of people and a memory full of stories it seems almost impossible to choose some, to convey the kind of person that Alicia was, especially when there are so many people in the room and so many memories. Adventure, courage, open mindedness, spontaneity are a few attributes that led her from Machu Picchu in to the Amazon River in Peru, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Her constant desire to enjoy the outdoors led her from being rookie trip staff at camp Whitepine to an expert tripper, leading her friends and family through Algonquin Park chronically, every summer. From being burnt, to grilled cheeses to feeding dears, lighting canoes on fire, salting leaches and being bitten by a chipmunk, memories and laughs where the least of our concerns.

It doesn't matter how you knew Alicia Ross, whether you were a family member, close friend, co-worker or a person touched by this tragedy, it's obvious that you connected with her and she affected your life. She was unjustly taken from us, but we will always feel her presence throughout our lives. The dead are still our companions and our conversations are not over. She will be helping us out in times of need and celebrating with us in times of joy. That is the kind of person that she was, and the kind of person that she will continue to be.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You raced towards an early grave.