Today was my birthday. I turned 35. Old, right? I write comic books and have always enjoyed acting a little younger than my age (convinced that I'm balancing out for all my kid years where I acted way older than what I was) but today was a day that I felt ever year. Every minute of every year. Today I felt old and tired and run down by life.
At 9:38 this morning I found out that my cousin had been killed in a car accident. She had just turned 27 a couple months back.
At first I was in disbelief. How could that happen? Then I realized it was true. I felt like I was falling down a hole. The world became background noise and all I could think about was that she was no longer with us. The family and friends she left behind. She was a bridesmaid for one of my co-workers. She'd just come back from being on a week-long road trip to visit another family member only days before. She was my youngest son's favorite person (or at least top 5). This was a girl, now a woman, who I had lived within a ten minute drive for easily two decades now.
She couldn't be gone.
But she was.
And I felt tired and sad and angry and lost. And old.
I'd already lost a friend this year, suddenly, someone who I had been friends with for 15 years.
And now this.
A young woman full of such warmth and joy and love for the people that were her family and extended family. Because if you were her friend, to her, you WERE family.
As another of "the cousins" as we're called pointed out, "she was the glue of the family". He was right when he said that. She was the one who made sure names were drawn for Christmas gifts. She was the family historian- having listened and asked after and memorized more about our family's history than anyone else. The loss there alone is staggering. Not because of the information but because of the time and effort she put in with the people who are no longer with us. Now their stories are no longer being told.
You'll have to forgive me if this is a rather disjointed piece, and a much more personal one than I'd normally write. I had to. It wasn't an effort to garner sympathy or to even make sense of what happened. It's because HER story needs to be told. You might not have known her, but believe me you would have wanted to.
She had a passion for caring for kids; she loved them and they loved her just as much. Her love of children was equaled only by her love of her family- never failing to take time and go out of her way for them and always to go above and beyond in her duties as a cousin, niece, grand-daughter, sister and daughter. Her love of adventure led her to travel some, though certainly not as much as she would have liked, though I'm convinced that it was in large part to not wanting to be away from those she cared about. She volunteered and greatly enjoyed attending the local Folk Fest and soaking in the music and friendships that she made there.
I could go on and on about all that she was but it's easiest to sum it up like this: she was without a doubt one of the kindest and most caring people that I have or will ever know and she touched everyone she met with her love. She was the best of us.
I'm going to miss her.
Rest In Peace, Kirstin.