Many thanks to everyone who attended Ella's memorial service, or sent their condolences.
The program for the service is available here.
Here are the texts of (most of) the speaker's remarks:
Denise Brown, director of the Montclair High School Dance Company where Ella danced all through High School, dedicated this year's performance to Ella - see the dedication in the program.
The Macalester Theatre and Dance Department Spring Concert Program also dedicated the performance to Ella, and donated proceeds to her fund.
Ella and I grew up together, from the time when she was 8 months old and I was 6 months old. She liked for every new person we met to know about the long history we shared, with that exact level of precision — the number of months we had known each other.
When we were kids, Ella was always coming up with quirky, creative games to play — like taking turns just rolling over each other — log style — and laughing hysterically the whole time. That's the first thing I really loved about our friendship.
As we got older, I started to appreciate other things about Ella. That I most cherished and relied on was her unlimited capacity for being supportive, and providing practical advice. Every time I was upset, she would always be there, just listening patiently. Even as recently as 3 weeks ago, I remember sitting with her over coffee, spouting all kinds of crazy ideas and words and thoughts that were way too abstract to be useful for anyone. Ella just looked at me intently, nodding now and then, with an empathic expression on her face.
And when I finally stopped to breathe, there was a pause. And then Ella said something completely helpful and brilliant like, "But Sarah, how do you feel about it?" She brought me back to earth, when that was all I really needed.
Another form of support Ella provided was making beautiful jewelry for her friends. This necklace I'm wearing now is something she made for me, for my 19th birthday. And it's beautiful. Look how intricate and original this is. Who does that? She must have spent so many hours wrestling these microscopic beads onto the wire while watching something like "The Look For Less" on the Style network.
And I'm sure that she loved every minute of it. Because it was a labor of love. And I know that many of Ella's friends have other things she made for them, too - with equally meticulous care and with equally genuine love.
Because that was what Ella was like - performing quiet labors of love. She did it through listening in a way that was one hundred percent open and accepting. Through making things for people. Through getting people together and cooking for them. And through a million other subtle actions, some of which I'm sure I never even realized she was doing.
She was unambiguously a great friend. She supported me and protected me and shaped me into the person I am in so many ways, for so many years. I would be someone different, someone less good, if Ella had not been in my life. I loved her - So. Much. I love her so much. I want to express it in that way, because I think it's weird and inaccurate to use the word "love" in the past tense. Because I still love Ella. I will always love her. Always.