7 years ago today was when I realized I was not invincible and people you love can be lost in an instant. Without warning. Until then, I assumed death was something that happened to grandparents who were old or people who were sick for a long time. One phone call changed all that.
I still remember the moment vividly. I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping on lower Queen Anne when my phone rang. It was Michelle, an old friend from high school. At first I was excited, thinking she was planning to invite me to a gathering back in Mill Creek. Instead, with sadness in her voice informed me, "there has been an accident and Kaisa passed away."
At that moment, my heart skipped a beat and denial took over. Surely, Michelle must be mistaken. Maybe Kaisa was injured and in the hospital. We would all go visit and she would there for a while but she would be okay. I had not heard about this on the news or read about it, so it was not real. My mind flashed back to years earlier when a friend was in a horrible car accident in Lake Chelan and had to be airlifted to Harbourview. She was in bad shape, but pulled through and recovered. This had to be the same as that, right?
Reality hit when I drove north and met up with a group of girls from high school. She was really gone. None of us would ever be the same. Our way of thinking would change forever. We spent the evening sharing "Kaisa" stories.. of which there were many.
Even still, I often I find my mind wandering and reflecting back on memories I have with Kaisa or see/hear things that remind me of her: Rollerblading through Mill Creek, creating "talk shows" and shooting video of them, traveling to Wenatchee and Yakima to
Sometimes I also feel angry because the last time I talked to Kaisa, we made plans to meet up for Happy Hour and catch up over my winter break. This never happened. I wish I would have not gone so long without connecting. It is important to make time for friends and family... no matter how busy your life may seem at the time.
I find some comfort in knowing that Kaisa would be pleased that because of her, many friends who had not talked in years reached out to one another and reconnected. She would have loved to stay in Roslyn with Valerie, Carly and I two years ago. I just know she would have been the first of us to sing with the band at The Brick.
She would also have loved to meet all of the babies and kids that have arrived in the past few years. I remember Kaisa telling me once that she wanted to have a daycare when she was older and she would watch all of our children. This is something she would have been excellent at and enjoyed immensely. It is a blessing to know she is a guardian angel now to so many little ones.
For some reason, this post took me years to actually put into writing and post. It is one that I drafted over and over again in my mind (and occasionally on paper), but I never quite thought it sounded just right. How do you put something like this into words?
Kaisa was a girl who loved a good time and would want her friends to cherish the happy memories. She had so many friends and touched many people in her (too short) life. She reminds me every day that life is short and the importance of living each day to the fullest.
So, today Kaisa, as we begin 2014, I will strive to live life a little more like you did. I will keep in contact with old friends, spend quality time with family and keep dreaming big.