“We were in seventh grade and we had the same English class, it was Ms. Karaffa‘s class. She sat next to me for the first nine weeks of school. I was really weird about making new friends in middle school because everything just felt so different than elementary, but I had seen her wear this ‘Supernatural’ T-shirt and I had watched ‘Supernatural’ for a really long time. So, I pointed out her T-shirt and she was like ‘Oh yeah I love that show!It’s really scary though.’ We started talking about the characters and things like that, and before fall break we exchanged phone numbers.”
“We would sit together at lunch and talk about the TV show, and we found out that we liked the same bands and other shows. We both liked ‘Doctor Who’ at the time, and we liked the Harry Potter movies. We both listened to ‘One Direction’ and ‘Five Seconds of Summer.’ We liked all things that were considered edgy, or at least we thought were edgy. It really wasn’t, it was just normal teenage girl stuff. But that’s how we got to talking.”
“We were both 12 when we met and it was kind of funny because I think when winter break came around we were talking about our plans, and she had mentioned to me that her 13th birthday was January 2nd and I was like ‘Oh word?! Me too!’ So that was an added thing. It was like the more we talked, the more in common we had which was really weird. We came up with this weird theory that we were twins and we were separated in the hospital, and it was like the universe was putting us back together again. We were like ‘Oh my god! We’re destined to be best friends.’” “Her passion for fine arts was so unique. She said ‘”I want to learn how to play every instrument.”‘ By the end of high school she was convinced that she was going to learn how to play the drums correctly. She had done the bass, the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, ukulele. So I said “You really are going to be a one woman band, huh?””
She really liked this band called Amber Run. She took a lot of their music and applied it to her life in different ways. She would use the songs lyrics as little ‘mantras’, which I thought was really interesting.
She made me spend an afternoon with her trying to message Amber Run on all social medias to get them to come to the US.
It was funny because December 15, they were actually on tour in the US. I took it as a little bit of a sign that she was okay, in a way. I always just made that connection because I associate that band with her.
A lyric from 5am says ‘”We’ve got work in the morning, but it’s nearly 5am. Is this really what we envisioned? We won’t be 21 again.'”
She felt that when you’re a teenager everyone wants you to kind of grow up. You have to get all this stuff done before you’re able to move into the real world. But you feel like you’re wasting some of your youth in doing so.
Being youthful & having fun were always really important to her.
My favorite memory with her was the first time she brought me here. This was a place that her and Ross would bike to a lot. One spring while staying at Kiersten’s house, Ross had biked over. She suggested coming to the Banta store and packing snacks, bringing a camera, the ukulele and listening to music. So we all had backpacks filled with water, snacks and things to do. We listened to music, talked, and laughed. We were like ‘”Wow. This is the epitome of summer right here. This is what our summer is going to look like.”’ We did come here a lot after that, but I think the first time was the most special because it felt the most like being a kid, since becoming a teenager. I don’t ever ride bikes. I didn’t normally eat full on chocolate bars. It was really cool because she made it feel very youthful. I think that’s why I probably enjoyed it so much.”
She was always forgiving and mature about communicating with people. If someone had done something that upset her, she was never closed off to the idea of mending the relationship. She always had an open mind set and she was very eager to learn.
She was always unapologetic about the things she loved. Even though at times she thought someone was disappointed in her for [that, and] she would get kind of sad, she didn’t let it stop her from pursuing whatever goal she was trying to accomplish. Being honest with myself about what I want from life, that’s what honoring her would look like from my end.
I don’t want to move forward and that’s a struggle that I deal with. The people that were very involved with her life, feel like there’s a big piece of their life missing. Its hard to look at a lot of things without thinking about her and with that, moving forward seems like a daunting task. I have this new fear that I will be replacing her if I get close to someone else. Forming new friendships has been very hard because I don’t ever want to form another best friend. Kiersten is my best friend.
I feel like she’d want everyone to be able to find other things to fill that void. Like doing things that maybe she wanted to do, but never got the chance to or doing things that we want to do, but are too scared to.
I would say a part of me died with her. After everything happened I just got rid of the person that I knew myself to be. I changed my name. I bleached my hair. I got rid of all my clothes. I got rid of a lot of people that were in my life at that time. I was just scared of reminders, of everything. I became someone new. Someone that I’m not completely proud of all the time. Working through this is such a tricky process and I feel like it left me bitter. I feel like if who I am now, tried to talk to the person that Kiersten was, I’m scared that she wouldn’t recognize me. Which is kind of hard to think about.
I was lucky enough to have the kind of relationship with her where no love was ever left unsaid. We told each other every day. I feel very grateful for that. I feel like what we had was absolutely perfect the way it was. #friendsofkier