I can't believe it's been a year.
Today marks one year since my little sister Kelsi passed away at the young age of 26, after a very long battle with the disease Cystic Fibrosis. September 4th will never be the same for me and, as you can imagine, it's a day I'll never forget. Honestly, "forgetting" is something I don't want to do.
A year ago I felt some sense of relief for Kelsi when she left this world: no more pain, no more struggle to breathe, no more days and weeks in a hospital bed. Part of me was happy for her in a weird way. When you see someone you love go through so much, for so long, you get to a point when you know it has to be better on the other side. Fast forward to today, and I'm just sad and I miss her.
I say "fast forward" because it blows my mind that an entire year has gone by--it literally feels like it all happened yesterday. The two weeks she was fighting to stay alive in the ICU are so vivid and clear; I can literally feel myself there as if no time has passed. I remember the clothes I wore, what I ate (we had lots of great friends bring us NON-hostpial food!), the annoying and terrifying sounds of all the monitors she was hooked up to, and that sinking feeling I'd get every time the doctors walked through the door.
While those haunting memories are still so strong in my mind, it's all the GOOD memories I wish would stay that fresh forever. During Kelsi's last days I was texting with one of my best friends from college, Kate, who had lost her mom to cancer a few years before. Even though Kelsi was completely sedated and on a ventilator, I remember Kate told me to hold Kelsi's hand and tell her all my favorite memories. Those are the memories I want to stick.
My biggest fear is forgetting Kelsi. Of course there's no way in hell I would ever actually forget her, but I'm worried that certain things will fade. They say time heals, and I'm okay with the pain healing, but I'm definitely not okay with time blurring the sound of her laugh, her silly Kelsi mannerisms, and the way she called me "Sissy".
Today it's easy for me to say, "I can't believe it's been a year!", but at the same time it's only been a year. One day it will be five years. Someday day it will be 20 years. Eventually as life goes on, people will post less throwback pictures of her on Facebook, bring her name up less at family gatherings, and maybe even think about her fewer times each day. Although I know those things are somewhat inevitable, I don't want that for her.
Kelsi was just too special of a person to just fade away. She truly made an impact on, and inspired, so many people, especially me. Part of my goal in doing this blog is to help keep her memory alive. Sure, it's about me traveling to some amazing places and doing some really neat stuff (thanks Kels!), but in addition to getting to know me, I also want you guys to get to know the sassy, red-headed spit-fire that was Kelsi Michelle Brown.
Believe me, Kelsi wouldn't want this to be some super sappy diary of my thoughts and feelings about her being gone. I'll throw a little of that in from time to time, but for the most part this is going to be a really FUN adventure that Kelsi is leading me on! So buckle up and enjoy the ride while I finish The Un-Bucket List and Kelsi's memory lives on!
Kelsi, I love you and I won't forget you!