I recently lost a childhood friend named Kaitlin. She was quite possibly one of the most interesting and inspiring people that I have ever known. Kaitlin and I spent most of our middle school years together. We had countless sleepovers and hung out every day at school. However, as high school approached Kaitlin and I slowly became interested in different things. I didn't see her as much as I'd liked to, but there were a handful of times that I wrote to her about our memories and how much I missed her. Kaitlin was one of those souls who just truly seemed to love life. She loved every inch of the world and all of the people in it. Most people who knew her referred to her as a fairy because she was always bringing light and magic to the room. I don't know a single person who knew Kaitlin that wasn't inspired by her. She just radiated love. It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. In fact, I haven't spoken much about her passing since it happened, but I figured that writing this would be beneficial to the grieving process. Also, I know that Kaity would love to have her story inspire as many people as possible. Kaitlin left for a month long river rafting trip in the Grand Canyon the day after Christmas. She went with a big group of people as well as a couple instructors. About halfway through the trip Katilin left camp in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and never came back. Her friends and the Grand Canyon patrol searched for her for a couple weeks before her parents annonced that they believed Kaitlin was no longer with us. Paul and I went to the service for Kaitlin, and I have to say, I have never seen so many people attend a funeral. The entire church was filled up and even some people were left standing. I was completely touched by how many lives Kaitlin changed. I can only hope to be as beneficial to the world as she was. She was such a lover of the outdoors and had spent a couple months before this hiking the Rocky mountains for 72 days. Our sweet Kaitlin was found in the Colorado River about a month after she went missing. It is believed that she fell into the river during the night. Kaitlin was just an inspiration to me in every way. It is because of her that I have been making the effort to let go of my fears and not let them control my life. It is because of her that I feel love radiate from every inch of this Earth. It is because of my beautiful brown eyed friend that I am able love everyone so vigorously. I am a better person for knowing her, and I will always miss her. I wish that you all could have met Kaitlin. Her parents were kind enough to share her trip journal with us, and therefore, I wanted to extend three of the quotes to you all. I know that these quote will allow my friend to inspire all of you too. This is my way, of sharing her beautiful light with you.
"I am going into this experience with the intention of opening my heart to whatever is presented to me in whatever form. This trip is a continuation of breaking down walls to let my heart shine."
K.K., River Journal, Day 1
"I'm open to whatever feelings, thoughts, emotions, or experiences arise on this trip and I full heartedly intend to face them and rise to the challenge."
K.K., River Journal, Day 2
"On new years we did a little fire circle go-around and what I said I want to work on in 2013 is to let go of fear because it doesn't serve me. And since then I've been facing my fears head on and not letting them get the best of me."
K.K., River Journal, final entry
I hope you all remember just how beautiful this life is. Please take advantage of it and never forget to love those around you. I hope you were touched by this story of my beautiful, loving, and adventurous old friend.