“I met Kiersten in 6th grade because my best friend, Gracie, had moved to Waverly. Gracie wanted to go to the Doctor Who Museum. I had seen Kiersten at other parties but I had never really talked to her. Me, Kiersten, and Gracie went to the Doctor Who Museum together. That was the first time I had a conversation with Kiersten & got to know her. I was really nervous because I was thinking “Who is this girl that is taking my best friend away from me?” It was weird because I was Gracie’s best friend, but Kiersten was too & it was hard for me, in the 6th grade, to wrap my head around the fact that you can have more than one best friend. We hung out that whole day, we went to the museum, we all got matching shirts, then we went shopping. After about 10 minutes, we all became best friends. From that point on & into middle school & freshman year, it was always us three.
In junior high, it was the three of us a lot. But we had also had Josie, Elizabeth, and Shaelynn & some other friends we were close with. We had a typical middle school experience. We went through our “emo” phase. We thought we were so cool with our rock band t-shirts & chokers. That’s how we bonded. That and music. We all had a love for music. We were usually at someone’s house, laying on a bed, listening to songs, finding new artists that we liked. Listening to music with each other brought us so much comfort. We called ourselves the “outcasts” even though we weren’t at all. We voluntarily chose to sit by the trashcan at lunch. So it was just an on running joke that we were the “emo” girls. It kind of just “became” us.
Something I saw in her, through our entire friendship, is she’s so good at meeting new people. She was just so open & anyone was just so comfortable right when they met her & felt like they could have a conversation with her.”
- “We used to ride bikes a lot. We thought it’d be a great way to “get fit”. So we were like “we’re gonna ride our bikes all the time!” so for a good 3 months we literally rode our bikes every weekend & that’s all we would do. We’d go to my house or Ross’s house & we’d ride our bikes. That was junior high.
I was very angry when Kiersten told me she was going to go to Herron. I had best friends who moved to different schools when I was younger & felt all alone. So when Kiersten told me she was moving schools, I felt that again. I didn’t understand. I enjoyed my school and it didn’t make sense to me. I was being selfish, because it was what was best for her. I remember my mom telling me (about Kiersten changing schools) in the car. I remember crying because high school was so scary, and now I was down a friend. Some of that resentment carried on to why we drifted during that time. She didn’t do anything to me, but in the back of my mind, I think I blamed her for how much I was struggling in high school. I lost a person on my side. It was really hard. It was hard finding a new dynamic. We’d always said that she was the glue, and she really was. I lost the glue. I didn’t just drift away from her, I drifted away from all those girls that we hung out with.
We never stopped contact. I think, at that time, we were both just overwhelmed with starting high school, that it didn’t cross our mind as often to reach out to each other. But she was definitely better at staying in contact than I was. I didn’t really know where I belonged & there was a lot going on during that time. Freshman year was just such a big change. She moved at such a dramatic shift in our lives.
She came to football games with us freshman year. We all have winter birthdays so we’d all hang out in December & January. I think spring to summer of freshman into sophomore year was when the majority of the fading away kind of happened.
She was always the person I went to when I felt like I had no one else. I knew that she was going through a lot of the same things I was at the time. I knew she was someone I could trust. Instead of just saying “everything will be ok”, she would give me advice.”
- “Although now I regret only going to her when I needed her. She saw that I was someone who needed help and I needed someone to be there for me. She was always 100% willing to fulfill that role. We both were going through the same things. At that time, we both didn’t really know who we were. We had a lot of different people coming into our lives and we didn’t know who we were or who we wanted to be, what our morals were, what our values were. There was a lot of confusion about my own self. Along with that comes other problems. If you don’t know who you are, how are you supposed to fix things in your life? That was something that we talked about a lot. Sophomore year we talked a lot over texts and phone calls.
I think she casually brought up in conversation that she was coming back to Mooresville summer before junior year. My first instinct was, I’m so happy to have her back! But my second instinct was, I have a whole new group of friends. I’m not that person that I was when we were at our closest. I was nervous about how her coming back was going to affect that social dynamic that I established for two years with my peers. I was mostly ecstatic. But there was a part of me that was nervous. I was nervous for her too. I didn’t want her to feel like she didn’t fit in.
When junior year started, it went perfect. We sat next to each other in American Studies. I talked to her every single day. I could tell that our friendship was rebuilding again & honestly it was like no time had passed. We even had plans the weekend before she passed away to spend the night & that was going to be the first time we had spent the night with each other for probably a year. It just sucks. If we would have made those plans a weekend earlier, we would’ve had one last weekend together.”
“I wish I would’ve shown more gratitude for her. Hearing other people talking about their relationships with her, I realize I wasn’t the only one that she helped so much. I know that I get overwhelmed when someone comes to me for help. People would go to her for help with homework, family issues, a big breakup. I just wish I would’ve been more appreciative of it. She was just so selfless.
The day she passed away seemed like it was just yesterday. I had my friend, Max, over & my parents were away for a Christmas party. It was just me, Max & my little brother. I got a call from Gracie saying that Kiersten got into an accident & to start praying. I remember thinking “I’ve gotten into fender benders, so she’ll be fine.” But I thought it was weird that Gracie was calling me & telling me. I kind of just dismissed it. We were working on homework a little later & I got another call from Gracie. She said “Kiersten didn’t make it. I have to go. Bye.” Max just ran out of my house. My first instinct was to go find Max. I was literally running through my neighborhood trying to find him. I finally found him. When we got back, my little brother was just sitting on the steps crying. Kiersten played a very big part in my brother’s life too. She would always make time for him & talk to him & ask how he was. We all just sat on my stairs crying. What else do you do?
Max called his mom, & she came & picked him up. So then I called my parents and they left the party immediately & came home. They were 40 minutes away. I didn’t want to be alone so I called my ex boyfriend who lives somewhat close to my house. I said “Kiersten passed away. Can you come over?” He immediately came over & he got to my house at the same time as my parents. We just all sat at my house in silence. We were all grieving. None of us knew what to do.
That night Gracie had a lot of girls come spend the night. It was very comforting to have a support system so soon after it happened. It was hard to drive to school the next morning. We drove passed the scene of the accident & I could see the skid marks on the road. That was very hard. I had to pull over.” Thank God for Sally, Katelyn & Jonah because they got to school early so they’d be there when I got there. The song “Tremble” was playing & just having those people hug me & cry with me was one of the worst but most comforting moments.
Our middle school group of friends all got together & all of us piled into my car. We all cried & just played 5 Seconds of Summer. I think there were 12 of us in that car. Listening to 5SOS gave us the motivation to walk into school. I was feeling fine & felt like I could do it. Then I walked in & saw the poster everyone was signing to give to her family. The moment I saw that, I knew it was all real. I immediately fell to the floor & said “I can’t do this”.
I have a 20 minute drive to & from school every day. I’ll turn on old music that we used to listened to. I have a picture of her on my dashboard and I’ll just think about her. It makes me sad, but the comfort I get from it, outweighs the sadness. I think that’s when I find the most comfort & when I feel the closest to her.
It sounds silly, but I’ll let people out in the parking lot. Every single day, she let me out ahead of her. When people need help with homework, I’ll help them. She always helped people with their homework. Another thing she did was check up on people. So I try to check up on my friends as much as I can. I try to be kind to everyone. Everyone has a story, something they are going through. Life is hard & although my issues may be bigger or smaller than someone else’s, it’s still what’s affecting them in that moment. I hope that people look at me & see someone who is kind & cares for others & is willing to help others. Kiersten was that person to me. A lot of people lost her & she was that only kind of person to them. Although, I could never replace her or be half the person she was, I’m striving everyday to live like her. She was just so selfless. #friendsofkier