“I thought you were weird as hell.”

It was a running joke between us, based on my first impression of the vibrant young woman with piercing brown eyes and signature grey – sometimes purple – hair.

In the Land of Creatives, weird is good. For Hope Carter, it manifested as a woman unapologetically herself. From a love for music to her Christian ideals, Hope felt things deeply and inspired you to feel them as well. What you saw was simply what you got – something I would grow to appreciate as our friendship deepened.

An incredible writer and content creator, Hope could do everything from penning a searing article to producing engaging videos. Works that would lead her everywhere from blogging at dayandadream.com to rising the ranks at Houston’s own KHOU 11. Always a giver, when she wasn’t diving into her craft she was pouring love into others; spreading the word about The Hive Society’s numerous charitable deeds or sharing her medical journey to inspire others via her Big Livers platform.

Hope Carter was an anomaly. The kind of person you could disagree with, yet was always willing to sit down and have a civil conversation about it – followed by a hug and one of her infectious smiles.

“You’ve already adopted me, so now you’re stuck with me” she once teased. And indeed I had, enjoying long conversations about everything from love to God, as we went on adventures through the city. Hope was the friend that would find you in your darkest hour, summoning a kind word or joke even when she was in the midst of her own private hell.

We stood inside the parking garage of her job late last fall, griping about a list of petty inconveniences. Suddenly she pulled out her colostomy bag, joking that things could always be worse; and as always, she was right. With her head held high, Hope exemplified the noble ability to fight and motivate others, even when her own body began fighting against her.

Hope proved that a beautiful spirit and soul is a legacy in itself. Those that knew her will surely remember the imprint she left on them. I know I will.

And for that Hope, I thank you. Thank you for sharing your liberating light with the world. Now we’re left to look to the stars and wait for another glimpse of it.

Eyes swollen, after learning about the news I was drawn outside. Looking at the sky I mused out loud, “Is it too early to ask for a sign? Or are you still in processing up there and shit?”

It was the kind of dark humor I know she would have appreciated and accepted without raising an eyebrow. Standing quietly in the backyard, a breeze began blowing in the wind.