I don’t know how to write this. I’ve been trying. Trying to put into words what exactly my heart and my head since I got that call.
I’ll write the words I said over and over and over: it’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair.
When we’re sad, we revert to childlikeness, I think.
I don’t get homesick. I hardly ever have. Never have I wanted to be home so bad.
I’ve been told since the internet existed that what I put on it exists forever.
In this case? Good.
Kyra, you were one of the best people I’ve ever known. In a way, I’m angry, because I thought I had longer to know you. I should have had longer to know you. And yet, the impact, the love you left in your wake makes me feel like I had known you for longer. I tried to watch your memorial last night, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t mourn you alone, and yet couldn’t let anyone else into that.
Becca said there were baskets of your paper cranes. Like the one I have in my Bible, made out of a miniature Cadbury egg wrapper, from the time we raided Walgreens the day after Easter. I sat next to you, amazed as you folded, without tearing the thin paper. It’s almost been lost to me a thousand times, but in this moment, I’m glad I have it.
Your parents said to wear vibrant colors, that black isn’t what you would have wanted, so I wore my Minn-eh-snow-da sweatshirt all day yesterday. The one that I have on in every picture of us, from Galentine’s Day at Chipotle, to Shamrock Shakes at the McDonald’s in Columbus. I’ll remember you in Katy’s Very Special Grandma sweater.
The night Jenna called me, I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe, and then called Becca, and from 4,003 miles away, and we cried so hard we couldn’t breathe, except long enough to tell our stories. We laughed in the middle of grief, and your life gave us that.
I had a community to lean into. That was your greatest gift to me, the only way I could think of to honor you, was to not be alone in this. You gave me that when you reminded me people were still good, still worth trusting, that new life could come from the blackest day. That I could always rise and start again. That it’s always worth it to make someone else smile, or laugh.
You loved China and your family, and music I never understood but laughed along with as A Boy Named Sue came on for the hundredth time on the way to church. You were a storyteller.
The first thing that came to my mind once the tears subsided a bit, or maybe while they were still coming, I remembered the thankful game. That there was always something to be thankful for. I was back in a room in Baltimore, with mysterious substances on the counter, laughing as we tried to sleep.
I miss you. I didn’t want to play the thankful game then. I still don’t. Just wanted to know that I could call you again.
I crammed this full of every memory I could think of because I have this compulsive need for people to know just how good you were. How good you are. I need to remember you.
You read my poems, and I loved your drawings, beautiful and intricate. More gifted than you’d admit. Writing this was the only way I could think of to honor you, that if I couldn’t tell you how much you meant, I might as well tell the world.
I love you. I miss you.