In Memory Of Marlee

"Marlee is my younger sister. We were very close and she was my best friend. She had SO many friends and was well liked by everyone. She lit up a room when she walked in. Marlee was 5'10", well-dressed with blonde hair, a loud voice, and a big laugh. She got along with everybody.

Marlee was the funniest person I've ever met. To this day, I don't think I have met anyone funnier. She made everyone laugh, was constantly making jokes and loved taking funny pictures. She could just look at me and I would immediately start laughing. She was hysterical.

I'm pretty sure Marlee had her own language. She would make up all of these nicknames and words. No one knows why or how she came up with them, but we all just seemed to go along with it. I still use some of her words sometimes.

She was so good with kids! Marlee just had this natural energy that kids were drawn to and they loved her. She was like a kid magnet.

Marlee loved to hang out with her (many groups) of friends. She loved to go to concerts and the beach. You could find her at any social event.

At the time of her passing, Marlee was enrolled in college. She worked in a local restaurant, which she really enjoyed, and was very popular with customers. Her personality and work ethic were perfect for customer service. She was taking Criminal Justice classes at Erie Community College. Marlee was still trying to figure out what she was passionate about, but she spoke highly of wanting to be a detective or working in criminal investigations.

Marlee was a very loyal person. She stood up for what was right and wasn't afraid to speak up. She didn't care if you were her personal friend, family or stranger, if it was wrong then she would make it right. You could always count on her. I always liked that about her. I was never that bold or confident to speak up like she was and she motivated me to be a stronger person.

As her sister, the hardest part of losing Marlee is trying to live my life while not having her there. I have had to get married without her there, graduate college, buy my first home, and have two children that will never be able to meet their aunt. Holidays are hard, birthdays are difficult. Knowing that my kids won't have a relationship with Marlee is extremely difficult to think about. She misses out on so much that I never thought she would.

A sibling loss is a different kind of pain. That's your built-in best friend, someone who is supposed to be by your side forever. I miss Marlee so much but I know she wouldn't want me to be sad or put my life on hold because of her. She would want me to succeed and do my best, so that's what I try to do every single day.

I know that Marlee is always watching over me, my parents, and my family. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. Both of my kids have a lot of little quirks in their personalities that remind me of her. My daughter looks just like her too! It gives me comfort to know that I still have a little piece of her here with me.

My life is forever changed because of my sister's passing, but it is so helpful to me to share my story in the hopes of inspiring others.

Thank you for letting me share my sister's story. She was a wonderful young lady, and she is missed by so many!!"

-Brittney Zielinski

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