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Thursday, March 19, 2015

R.I.P. Jackie Kersten

R.I.P. Jackie Kersten 1995-2015
4:38 a.m. I will miss her, my beautiful step-sister
Jackie Lucille Kersten. I had trouble sleeping and when I did sleep, I had normal dreams...and then always a dream of her upon waking.

I told myself to let myself rest but it's like I would close my eyes and images would flash of her face, like photos that don't exist, constantly.

I have a lot of memories of her from her childhood and very few from her adult hood when life took us in very separate directions. I only saw her a few times during the times she was a young woman and I can't stop this voice in my head that reminds me she was gone too young, too soon, at only 20 years old. There was this huge future out ahead of her, and now she's gone until we meet again in Heaven.

The hardest memory was the time when we were kids and we were at a creek with Shelby. She got in a spot where the current pulled her upstream and she was crying for help. I swam after her and caught up and then we were both headed downstream. I grabbed
onto a nearby branch and instructed her to do it with me, then we both made it safely to the other side of the bank.

This is the girl who fills my memories. 
I remember the way she laughed, the way her lips smacked in her sleep when we shared a bed as kids. Her black rimmed glasses and her smile. I remember her voice, but almost none of her words.

As much time as God gave me with her, my memories are in these blurry broken up fragments, so much that I can see my mind making up memories that never happened with her...perhaps to compensate. My favorite 'real' memory being the time I surprised her with the new furniture we got for the room we shared together and her screaming with joy...furniture I still use in my room to this very day.

I remember the first time I met her, always, when she was a little kid and in the back seat of Mom's car in an over sized Evanescence concert t-shirt and super long dirty blonde hair, and she had just got back from an Evanescence concert with her Dad...where she perched on his shoulders that night. Later on at home, she was screaming and pouncing on the couch with her brother Devon. They were in our lives from then on.

I watched an old Youtube video of mine from when she was a kid..just to hear something close to her voice. This video is from when she was 13:


I don't know if I'm physically and emotionally prepared for the wake (if that's where I'm going, God only knows), at the same time, I want to see her and say goodbye to her for the last time. My prayers continue on...

5:01 a.m. I wrote a letter to her. I thought it would help me cope. I remained the same, if not, a little better. Nothing will change the fact that she's gone, it's still surreal to stare down her picture and know she's no longer here, but I'm thankful to God for the memories. My prayers are with her family right now and the heartbreak they are all suffering.

The last time I did see her was my Mom ran into her at Publix, I think in December 2014, where she worked. I don't recall saying anything to her as she talked to my Mom but I just stood idly by as they talked. Obviously, if I had known this would be the last time I'd see I would've said something more than goodbye as we were leaving but God had that encounter happen the way it did. At least she was all smiles. I'm not regretful. :) I will miss her with all my beating heart and soul.

April said, several times, that she isn't very good at the comforting thing but that was okay. All she could offer me was a little distraction, so we watched the newest episode of The Walking Dead and that was a temporary fix. I just needed, in the end, to let all this out. I hope Mike or anyone else doesn't mind the photos...they just...help. That one with her Dad makes her look like a peace-giving angel...as if her face now says everything is okay. Keep my head up. I'm welling up with tears, sorry. I've been doing that since I heard.

5:54 a.m. The internet has been a mildly peaceful distraction. Still miss you bird. God rest your soul in Jesus Name, Amen! May we meet again in Heaven.

7:51 a.m. Distractions aside...the grief is still there. I keep seeing her in my mind and keep wanting to look at pictures. There's a pit inside my stomach I cannot ignore. A sadness I can't just push aside. Anything I try to enjoy seems like a thin blanket over the sadness and grief. This too shall pass, in Jesus Name, Amen! It's still a short time she's been gone but it's going to be longer. Of course, I keep wishing this day never arrived...where she died...and that I could tell myself she was still living and know it to be true. But that's loss...I suppose. This is going to be tough. God be with me, in Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

8:11 a.m. I had some pizza. Perhaps I'm not ready for the world yet. I need to lie down.

10:51 a.m. I gave up on trying to sleep. I wound crying some more...until my body was tired of crying. I had a migraine and I couldn't sleep. I'm still thinking of her. A part of me wonders if she ever imagined how many people truly loved her.

11:18 a.m. Me to my roommate, out of the blue: "YOU'RE a canary!" Roommate: What? I needed that giggle. I've been taking a lot of deep breaths lately. #RIPJackie

All of a sudden, after all this straight mourning, it's getting easier. Like a thin streak of sunlight coming through a cloud and hitting my shoulder...odd reference but true.

12:43 p.m. I think what I'm feeling now is the stage of acceptance. I'm still mourning, still solemn, less sad and more...accepting. I don't know if this will change or not once I go to bed but for now I'm being calm.

Again, if anyone finds this and does not approve that I have a picture of them in there with her, please let me know and I will remove it without complaint. Again, seeing her smiling face is a coping thing for me. This post is entirely in her honor and memory but I also want to respect her loved ones.

Goodbye sweetheart. You are loved and missed.
1:20 p.m. Definitely in a stage of acceptance thus far. I quietly considered asking Mom to come get me tonight instead of Jen having to do it in the morning but I wasn't sure if I was ready because I could still cry to sleep and needed the ultimate privacy and quiet I get here at home to do so.

More ever, I don't have very funeral appropriate clothing. I mean, the best I could do would be a black pea coat over a dressy shirt...and I'm not even sure about pants. I'll have to ask Mom what she thinks is best. If possible, if necessary, I could push to come home after the service and take the extra mourning I believe I would need.

I'm not prepared for the face to face goodbye of her yet, unlike with pictures and in my head, I'm expecting shell shock on my part because I loved her so much but again, we'll see.

This whole grieving thing is a process. I haven't really lost a love one since 2009, when my beloved Grandma passed, so it has been a long time. My thoughts, prayers, and condolences are still with others who grieve, most of all her parents, who are surely taking it a LOT harder. Just to say it, I hope I don't seem selfish by going on about my own grieving...I don't want it to take away from the beautiful memory of this wonderful woman.

10:48 p.m. After yet another long letter to both her, and God, I got my sleep until now. I just showered. No one has told me how long I'm staying at Mom's or when the funeral is. Jen is coming in the morning and I don't know how much to pack.

I finally have a better grip on my emotions where I can accept she has left without weeping...so far. She'll always be in my heart certainly but I've accepted it and it's all I can describe for now. I miss you Jackie "Bird" and I love you with all my tender heart. Until we meet again, goodbye. I need to write another letter...it feels good. Closer to God.

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