Losing a best friend at 21

Remembering Izy Guerrico

On Nov. 15, 2018, I lost one of my best friends, with whom I had one of the strongest relationships I’ll ever come to know. 

I met Izy Guerrico in grade nine orchestra. Our mutual failures in music theory brought us together, and our relationship was strengthened by the locker we shared for two years and the lunches we ate under the stairs each day. We met four other girls by those stairs, and the six of us grew such a strong bond that we were unintentionally considered “The Under The Stairs (UTS) Girls” by fellow classmates—a title that still sticks with us today, nearly a decade later. 

We spent every waking moment together. We were all equally in love and comfortable with one another, and the six of us shared secrets of any relationship which passed through our group. We accompanied each other through long walks, shaking cries, and roaring laughs. We also got the privilege to travel the world together, from Washington D.C. and Boston to Eastern Europe. 

Every unforgettable, coming-of-age moment was experienced together as a collective. The thought of going through life without any one of us never crossed our minds. 

Izy was the definition of spunk and light. Her laugh was rooted in her belly and lived in her entire body. She crossed her legs when she sat in a way I’d never seen another person do. She ate anything the rest of us didn’t like and had no issues welcoming change into her life. 

Always ahead of the fashion curve, Izy’s clothing was iconic. Her ever-changing hair colours and styles kept everyone in constant wonder of what would come next, knowing she’d never look the same for long. 

She always had the loudest opinion in the room while simultaneously keeping the most open mind. She was the first to introduce new ideas to our friend group—the first to get piercings and tattoos, to discover new music, or to volunteer when asked to do anything. She was fiercely protective of the people she loved. 

Izy never let anyone fall behind, whether you were her best friend or a perfect stranger. 

Having spent so much time with her, Izy shaped me and my friends’ lives in ways I think we’ll never fully realize. Even still, I find myself doing small things that I only now remember were things she first taught me, like straightening my hair forwards for volume or dipping pickles in Dijon mustard. 

This year was supposed to be the year the six of us graduated together—we’d share our graduation photos just like we did in high school four years ago. Instead, it’s the year we attended our best friend’s funeral. We had to comprehend how we could possibly move forward from a loss that seems so backwards. 

It remains a harsh reminder every day when Izy isn’t peppering our group chat with her off-side comments, giving her insightful opinions, or simply reminding us that she loves us. 

I want to tell this story simply to say Izy’s name and to remind everyone, whether you knew her or not, of the amazing person she left as. 

Valuing the important and healthy relationships in your life is often overlooked in favour of day-to-day responsibilities, like going to class or finishing an assignment. You truly never know how much you value the people in your life until they aren’t there to text a funny photo to at 2 a.m. or to share a new Netflix series with. 

The impact Izy leaves is strong enough to uphold her remembrance on its own, but Izy deserves to rest even stronger than she lived. I hope this is only the beginning of a long life of tributes to the fiercest, strongest, and most impactful woman I’ll ever be so privileged to call my best friend. 

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