Lainie Woodward

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When we were little, we didn’t like each other. Well – we liked each other, but I bit her a few times. When we were in Kindergarten & 3rd grade, we would come home every single day & play with our Hannah Montana house. But as she got into 4th & 5th grade, I’d kept asking her to play with it, but she didn’t want to anymore. That’s something I remember a lot. I remember we used to have an apple tree. We’d play circus on it. We’d put hula hoops and balls on it. I don’t know why – it was just a game we made up. When we were younger, I’d bother her & her friends. I always thought she was annoying, but I was probably annoying. I think I was the mean one & she got annoyed by me. Normal sister stuff.

When she was in 3rd grade, she was obsessed with Minecraft & The Sims. She had an Instagram account for Minecraft. There was a bunch of embarrassing pictures of her on there. She reported that account enough times, that it got taken down. I think it took her 4 years to get the account taken down. (Through Minecraft) She talked to & made friends with people over the internet which, at the time was weird. But now when I think back about it, it’s kind of cool.

When she was in 6th grade, we went to the One Direction concert in Chicago. The band that opened up for them was 5 Seconds of Summer & we both started to like them. I liked One Direction before she did, I just want to put that out there. After that concert, we both started liking the same bands. When she was in 8th grade we both liked Hayes & Nash Grier, they were part of the Magcon. I think we just started having the same interests. We just continued to like the same stuff.

When she got her license, we’d go to a lot of places together. We’d go to Dairy Queen & to Ella’s a lot. We’d listen to random throwbacks.

Everyone else says “Kiersten is always herself & outgoing & different”. I noticed though, when she came back to Mooresville, she’d ask me every night for my opinion on the outfit she’d picked out for the next day. She’d say “Should I wear this? I don’t want people to be mean to me”. I’d tell her she should wear it, but in the morning she’d have on leggings & a sweatshirt. She was just too scared. When she would wear the outfits she’d pick out it was like “Wow. She actually built up the courage to wear it”. I asked for her opinion too. A year ago today, we went to the hair salon. I wanted to get bangs & she told me to do it. She said they looked good. Yeah…she liked them.

We left so early for school the morning of the accident because she always wanted to get a good parking spot. We didn’t see each other at school at all. On the way to school we probably listened to music. Swim season had just started, maybe it was that week. Right after school, I had practice until 5:00pm & I knew she had to go to work that night to do inventory. She was picking me & a friend up from swim practice to take us home. I knew she was in traffic because she Face-timed me. She Face-timed me to show me there were chickens in the trailer in front of her. We hung up, & I went back to making an edit of 5 Seconds of Summer because it was their bands anniversary. It was probably around 6:00pm by then. My friend & I had been sitting there for awhile. I had texted her a bunch & called her, probably 20 times. Then my dad called me & said she’d been in an accident. He told me Rod was going to pick us up. We took my friend home & then I was hungry so we got McDonalds & then we went to the Smith’s house a little after 7:00pm.

I thought she was fine because I thought she was the one that called to say she was in an accident. My dad saw that there was an accident in the area so he called her phone to see what was going on & the ambulance answered her phone and told my dad that she had gotten into an accident. I still thought that she was the one that made the initial contact about getting into the accident, so I wasn’t real worried about it.

I texted my mom because she was at the hospital, but she didn’t want to tell me anything over the phone. Then Lori & my aunt came together to Lori’s. I was eating my hamburger & my aunt told me what happened. She said “Kiersten didn’t make it.” I guess I didn’t believe it because I had the thought that she was fine. I think I said “Really? You’re probably joking”.

We left immediately & went to the hospital. When I walked into the hallway to go to where my mom was, I saw Jalen & Gracie. When I saw Jalen bawling, that’s when I realized it was true. I didn’t cry. I was still in shock. I was totally confused & felt like I was in denial. They asked me if I wanted to see Kiersten, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to see her like that. But when my dad got there, I decided then that I wanted to go see her with my parents. I was afraid that if I didn’t, I would regret it. She still had her scrunchie on her wrist. I’m glad that I saw her. I was able to see her one last time.

It’s been a year, but it feels like yesterday. I’m friends with most of her friends now. Being around them makes me feel like I’m around a part of her. Being closer with her friends has helped me cope with the loss of her & continuing to listen to all the music that she loved.
She was nice to everyone, even to me. I think she was different in that way. She just chose to live that way. I think she cared more about other people, more than she cared about herself sometimes.

I think people are scared to talk to me about it. I think they don’t want to bring it up. It’s scary to be vulnerable in front of people. Some days, I’m not really able to talk about any of this & some days I talk to my mom. I don’t think it’s a privacy thing. I just think I don’t know what I’d say to anyone.

I wear her Doc Martens. I liked wearing her clothes because some of it is stuff she would’ve been scared to wear & I could wear it for her. We both really liked this song Equal Rights by The Lonely Island. It’s funny because it’s one of the only not super inappropriate songs they have.

Heffron Drive sings a couple songs that remind me of her. One of them is Parallel & the other is Passing Time. Parallel reminds me of how she loved the moon and space. The whole chorus of Passing Time reminds me of her life. She wanted to seize every moment and live in the moment. She would overthink a lot, but at the end of the day she wanted to keep living her life. That is what I’m trying to do with my life. She inspires me.

Through this I’ve learned that life isn’t fair. I never really thought much of the fact that anything bad would happen to my family. Especially to her. That thought motivates me, but also scares me. It motivates me to make the best of everyday. I try to think of one good thing everyday, to keep me moving forward. I’m scared of this happening at any time again to someone I love.

Probably staying true to myself & not changing just to make people like me would make her proud. She would want me to just keep going.

If I could talk to her again, I don’t know if I would even be able to say anything. I would probably hug her.