A Friend Somebody Like You

By Presvytera Melanie DiStefano


The following is a tribute to my dear friend who recently fell asleep in the Lord after years of struggle and yearning for Christ’s Perfect Kingdom. She was tonsured a Great Schema nun on December 4th 2021, and enjoyed this honor for the last week of her life on this earth until her repose on December 11th.

I met her when she was Nektaria Brandon, a seminary classmate and dormitory neighbor who became one of my dearest, most precious friends and co-strugglers in Christ. Nektaria possessed a childlike innocence. Perhaps that is why when thinking about how to describe my love for her, my mind kept returning to a Sesame Street classic and one of my son’s favorite Cookie Monster ballads.

And so, woven into the wise musings of Cookie Monster, I offer some of my heartfelt sentiments about our friendship.

“Καλo παραδισo” Sister Sarah! Pray for me until I too can become like a child, and join you in His Perfect Kingdom.

Note: All words in italics are my additions or changes to the original song.

What Is Friend?

Sometime me think,
What is friend?
And me think,
Friend something very special.

A friend somebody to share your joys,
To stay with and to pray with and to make a joyful noise,
To spin around until friend get dizzy,
And jump up and down until stomach get queasy,
And to sometimes tell stories too.
A friend somebody like you.

Sometimes me think,
What is friend?
And me think,
Friend something better than cookie dough ice cream!

A friend somebody to take to park,
A buddy you can buddy with 'til it start getting dark,
To laugh and walk and hippity-hop it,
Or tease and joke 'til friend tell you to stop it.

And to sometimes say hard things to,

A friend somebody like you.

A friend somebody who know your heart.

Who love you and you love,

No matter far apart.

Who see good parts of you and forgive bad.

Who make you feel better when you feeling sad.

And to tell your own stories to.

A friend somebody like you.


A friend somebody God send when dark night,

To hold your hand when scared

And walk with you to Light.

Together you learn, and share, and grow

Inside your heart big Philotimo.


You are my friend and you gave Philoxenia.

I love and remember you forever, Nektaria.

And even though I think you are much more, too,

In the end what is true?

A friend somebody like you.