Jessica Monson

Because of Rach…. I will Be Brave…and do pretty much EVERYTHING different.


The first day I met Rach (and Becca), I arrived at their house to find two perfectly adorable sisters, in the prettiest floral dresses and curled hair with bows in it. I, on the other hand, was donning a No Fear Gear shirt, Umbros and a baseball cap! This awkward beginning would be the start of an adventure into life, family, love and light. Growing up with a brother, I had always wanted to have a sister—and so I was naturally excited when I got two of them as part of my Dad finding someone special to spend his life with. We’ve had so many wonderful memories over the years, including times where normally one would probably look back at and say that it wasn’t supposed to be such a good memory, but with Rach, there was always a silver lining. So, when Becca asked, what did Rachel teach me and what I am going to do different because of her? My response is…everything.


While I didn’t talk to Rach every day or see her as much as I’d like, when we did talk, we would get to a depth of understanding that I’ve never had with anyone else (she was my soul sister). And usually within those deep conversations, there were plenty of laughs, tears, and swear words! No matter what the situation I was facing in my life, she always knew what to say and how to really make me feel better about it. I called her the Mini-Buddha as she has an old, wise soul and the wisdom she shared, interspersed with witty humor, was remarkable for a person of her age.


One of Rachel’s many thoughtful gifts to me were two wall-hangings that read “Lead Bravely” and “Carry Wild Adventure”. Rachel’s courage during her life has taught me to be brave and to go out into the world with a sense of adventure every day. Rachel made ordinary days extraordinary for many, even the strangers with whom she frequently interacted. The spirit that emanated from Rach was unmistakable and unforgettable. Whether your interactions were brief, or you were a lifelong friend, her impact was vast and memorable. The day she coined the love of my life “Old Balls” and the night where she inquisitively asked the cabby “Your place or mine” remind me that there is a light Rachel possessed that not everyone is blessed with, but yet everyone should take their turn exhibiting.  


So, when asked what I will do different after being blessed to know Rach? Everything. From this day forward I will never take for granted the little things, that toast with family or friends, the Friday morning waffles with my insta-fam, Zach’s butterball at Thanksgiving, running to the church in New Orleans for the wedding after forgetting the flowers, tubing at the lakes, or all of the random nights at the Bismarck, the Hodo, Rooters or Pat & Eric’s. You see, I know that the little things were really the big things. So, go out there in the world and be that light. Be that person who cares. Be that person who is kind….to strangers and not-so-strangers. Laugh, out loud….and often. Have a drink…. or don’t. Take the leap, go for a run, go and do that thing that you aren’t quite sure you can…or should. Be you. Be beautiful. Just be and don’t wait for that perfect time. There will never be a perfect time to change…. everything.


Thank you, Rach, for the many gifts you brought to everyone in this life and I know you are bringing even more to others on your next journey. You are remarkable and I love you. I will never let your spirit leave me while I am still in this world and I’ll be looking for this sign, likely to arrive while sipping a glass of bubbly.