Friends and loved ones filed into the small Monroe Covenant Church on South Sams Street Tuesday with heavy hearts and solemn faces. As the rows filled, small chatter could be heard throughout the room, though when the music started the noise gave way to the gentle notes.
They gathered on this dark night to mourn the loss of Debbrah Marie Pesce, a woman who lost her life two weeks before to a fatal hit and run on the corner of Highway 2 and Old Owen. A bag of Redvines sat on each table in memory of her. They had been her favorite treat.
Debbrah had been trying to make a new start to her life, opening her own cleaning business. She was known as being a very hard worker and very proud and independent. A friend had once offered to work for her, but Debbrah had said “Well, I don’t think you want to work for me because I’m very strict with how things must be done and I would probably have to fire you.” She had a very sarcastic sense of humor, but everyone loved her for it.
As the pastor opened the ceremony, some rose to sing with the music while others sat quietly their heads bowed. A prayer was said and the group took turns to share their happy memories of Debbrah. Though she could not stay for the service, a relative had dropped off photos of the late Pesce.
The sky wept with them that night, as tears flowed down several cheeks. Even the children had heavy hearts. In the background a poster could be seen with lots of little hearts on it, each with a small message from students that Debbrah had worked with those past few months at an after school study program, Kidz Club, at Take The Next Step.
Debbrah loved each moment she could spend with the children be it helping them with homework or simply listening to them read a book to her. Most days she had to walk to Kidz Club, and even when her sore weak ankles were hurting her she would still make the trek from the Brookside Motel to Sams Street to be with them, never once complaining of the pain she was in.
As the reception neared a close the room was filled once more with the soft hum of music. As people took their leave, a book was placed at the exit where one could put their name and any little message they had for the grieving family. The night air blew through the open doors and as the lights slowly dimmed to nothingness, the presence of an unseen face seemed to smile down upon the leaving guests. It was here that they had said there last goodbye to a dear friend.
I myself only knew Debbrah for a few short months, but in that time frame I found an amazing friend within her. We shared a common bond between us. Debbrah had always been crafty and creative. She made jewelry, bead work, draperies, paintings and drawings and much more. It was within the drawings that we found a true connection. I love to draw and every week I saw Debbrah she would eagerly ask me if I had anything new to show her. I remember her face would always light up at each piece, and she would smile and say “You are amazingly talented, Cassy. You will be well
known one day for your work.” Debbrah had taught me to always sign everything I made, and to this day I do.
Though I mourn the loss of a friend, I know that she is never truly gone. She is still watching down over us all, be it in the form of a fluffy cloud, a ray of sun, or a beautiful rainbow. Debbrah will forever be in my heart as one of God’s most caring souls.
Cassy Hollan, 19, of Monroe, plans to pursue and art degree beginning in the fall. She is also a writer and poet, and hopes one day to be an author and illustrator.