Kendra burst out of the dorm door at St. Georges one afternoon in 2010 with my daughter, spied we were wearing the same old-school Ray Ban sunglasses, and with one gigantic shriek, grabbed me in a bear hug and declared we were sisters.
Kendra had a lot of friends and sisters. One only has to read the remembrance Facebook page, visit her home, sit on her memorial bench to quickly realize how many people she embraced. Over the past twelve months, I have come to see where this came from — wrapped into the beautiful that was Kendra is all the wonderful of her family,: Her funny, daring and sweet from her sisters, her deep kindness and compassion that is her Mom, her wiseness that is her calm and loving Dad. Kendra transcended age full of these amazing qualities, and so many of us, old and young, were proud to call her friend — and sister.
This year I have squeezed her family as many times as possible. A few weeks ago, at his son’s funeral, a father said, “if you touched him, you touched us.” When I hugged Kendra all those times I had embraced a family of fine, brave, wise and loving people for life. Thank you, Kendra.
I am now so conscious that we are all connected, in tight or loose webs, with anyone we hug, admire or work with. We have to take care of each other, no time more important than when there is loss. And for a long time after that loss. That is our human truth—we get through loss with the help of others. The day after, the month after and in the years after.
This weekend I will remember Kendra in a little church on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where my mother is buried. I will go sing a hymn and pray on my knees. I will be thankful for the spirit above that is now Kendra, and the family she gave me to love, cherish and hug in Newport.
I’ll be styling those glasses, too.
Rest easy, beautiful girl.
We love you.