This might be sad, and it's definitely not about food (though I did have some amazing red salmon...and wine).
Today I attended with my family and many other people a memorial for an AMAZING woman who was taken by the universe before any of us were ready. Our friend, Krista, was tragically killed by a horrible infection after a relatively routine outpatient procedure last week. She went into the hospital on Friday morning, and they were able to keep her body alive until somewhere around midnight that night, when her mother and siblings were able to make it up to Alaska from California. Krista leaves behind a son who is the same age as my own daughter and a partner who has been like a member of our family for over a decade.
I tried to be brave and speak at her memorial, and was able to get out part of what I wanted to say before I was rendered incapable by my tears. Here's basically what I wanted to say:
I met Krista about four years ago, when we were introduced to her as our long-time family friend's new girlfriend. I immediately thought she was fantastic. She had a lot of tattoos, curly red hair, and a constant smile and super gregarious personality. I have never known anyone so positive and supportive with no malice or negativity. She was always the light in the room and the life of the party. She made sure everyone was always happy and their glass was full. She even bought all the kids presents for the Christmas party and provided Ana with her first (and only) Zhu Zhu pet, which I had never got around to buying.
Krista is the type of person that changes your perspective when you meet her. If you meet her once, you are happier that day. If you meet her more than once, you're lucky enough to realize that life is certainly better than you originally saw it. I saw our friend she was with change from a somewhat lost soul to an incredibly vibrant man who was really in his element. She was his element. Together, they were unstoppable. They threw the best parties, were raising an amazing kid, and were always there for a friend in need.
Krista could sing praises like she was breathing air. She especially loved Randy, telling me every time we were together how fantastic he was, how happy I look, and how he treats me the way I deserve to be treated. I would tell her in turn that I've never seen her partner happier (and I've known him since I was nine) and I thought she was fantastic. I loved her in the way that I could be sure to have an amazing hug and conversation, even if we only saw each other once in a while. She was an extremely happy person.
She was taken before any of us were ready. Certainly not her seven-year-old son, or her boyfriend. It was so sudden it's been hard to comprehend, even for me, who is more detached than they are. It is a horrible reality-check to realize that you can be the most fantastic person in the world, and the next day you are gone, no matter how many people love you or what you have planned or already on your plate. Life will not be the same without Krista. I realize more each hour that passes, as life goes on and her vacancy sucks like a vacuum. It will stop sucking, for sure. Even for her two important men, but it will never be completely gone.
For Krista, I will strive to tell those I love EACH DAY that I love them. I will be quick to forgive and quicker to express gratitude. She has served as a beacon, showing those who knew her that life must be lived in a way that when we die, our presence should have been so positive, so powerful, that a houseful of people can gather, share happy stories and sorrowful tears, and take something from the experience. This is truly an opportunity for paying it forward. Krista was a gift to everyone. We all have a happy story or the memory of her positive presence to cling to forever.
Krista, above all, we love you, and we always will.