Dear Amy at 20,
Congratulations, you officially have a degree! The year starts out the same, still at Staples, still in school, but by June we are fully moved in with Alex and we finish the school year with some alright photos. Everyone comes down and there are some good family shots too – but we get extremely sunburned.
The Vancouver Olympics are going on this year and we manage to get down there twice for them which is awesome. We are downtown for the different events, get to see the torch, and also get to experience the Hockey Gold and Closing Ceremonies! Some crazy videos of everyone in the Earls singing “Don’t Stop Believing.” The feeling of patriotism and love for our country and our athletes is just amazing.
The summer goes according to plan from what I can remember, and then September comes. First, Neighbor Bob passes away; a man we’ve known almost our entire life who lived next door to our grandparents. It’s heart breaking and we go with mom to his funeral. Then comes October and more death.
We get a text message from Kurtis saying he just heard about Kirsty and wanted to reach out. We are outside etching into slate and have no idea what he is talking about. Within minutes we have been on Facebook and contacted a handful of people on our phone, and we find out that there was an accident. If there was ever a moment of my heart fully stopping, it was probably when Sam asked us where we were and if we are sitting down. Kirsty’s daughter is already passed on, and she doesn’t look too much better. Everything happens so quickly and within a few more minutes we are being told that we are not allowed to drive there, that there is a bus, that we can meet somewhere. Then we are in Merritt, sitting together, a handful of us, staring at each other in disbelief that one of our closest friends is just gone. We text L because we know they were close and are unsure if anyone else can or will.
Back home the next day we find out that there was another car accident and another friend lost her niece. We go to that funeral since we are fairly close and was a nanny for their wedding. Soon after we go back to Merritt and then Kamloops for two funerals because the families have their own. Dominick thinks we look pretty and L looks like a superhero. It’s weird. We break down into tears at the funeral and a girl who is younger than us comforts us. We hear mixed stories about what happened, some say they swerve for a deer and others say the driver fell asleep. Its painful. The second funeral is the next day, we see lots of people we haven’t seen in awhile and all nod at each other in somber solidarity. Some of us still haven’t seen each other since then, but we definitely talk more than we once did.
After the now four funerals within a month span, we get home and hear on the news that a friend from middle school was in an accident – both her and her son pass away. We don’t go to the funeral. We’re shutting down. It’s too much, we start to fade, over think everything and anything, consider some things, read our last conversations with her, go over pictures. Its all too much, but hard to complain when we’re still here.
Our 20th year ends and I don’t even remember most of the final months except for Kirsty. How I could have been there more often, how I wish we talked more, how I wish we visited more often, how I wish that I could have done something – even though that’s impossible. People ask themselves these questions when one person in their lives passes away, let alone multiple. My advice to you is to not feel like any of these thoughts or questions are bad, and work through your grief in your own way. We start to write a book about loss. I’m almost happy to say that it isn’t finished because we find our way back to the light.