A few weeks ago my beautiful friend Lisa (Bona Lisa Kim) died tragically in an ATV accident while working on a farm out in New Hampshire. She was attending vet school in Scotland and this summer she spent on a farm working with animals. She was by herself, no one knows exactly what happened. They gather that it rolled and crushed her, killing her instantly. She was supposed to turn 28 this month.
I was in Seattle when I got a phone call from my girlfriend with the horrific news. It took my breath away, I was in complete and utter shock. I haven't cried that hard in a long long time. I didn't want it to be real, it just couldn't be real.
I flew back to LA a few days later, leaving Elsie with my mom. I attended her viewing the evening after I got back and her funeral the following afternoon. Hundreds of people were there. It was beyond hard. No one wants to see their beautiful friend like that. It didn't look like her, it felt like an awful nightmare. We hugged her family, her parents and two older sisters were so gracious. They were heartbroken but showed such strength. I sat in the pew and watched as the rest of my friends went through the line, the song "Colors" by Amos Lee from the "Just Like Heaven" soundtrack was playing. The line "You're gone. Colors seems to fade" played through my head the rest of that night. I remember walking around in public and things seem to happen in slow motion around me. People going on about their daily business unaware that a special soul was taken suddenly from this world. It made be realize that anything could happen to anyone and any given moment. This scared me. It still scares me.
I know this earth life isn't the end and I do take comfort in that knowledge but I've found I have become quite anxiety ridden. Anxiety is something I have struggled with for most of my life and when tragedy strikes it just heightens it. Sleep normally brings relief but nightmares are still striking. My mind keeps replaying images of that week--As they lowered her coffin in the ground, her father who seemed to be handling everything with a quiet, somber strength cried out, "no, my Bona, my Bona" while sobbing and falling to his knees. You could feel people's hearts breaking even more and seeing her father collapse and call out while his baby daughter was buried seemed absolutely unbearable to witness. This day seemed just that--unbearable... I can't imagine losing my little sister. I can't imagine losing my daughter now, or 20 years from now. I got through it by being surrounded by my friends. Talking about Lisa, sharing photos, holding each other tightly while we sobbed so hard it shook our bodies helped in this whole grieving process. I am still so sad. It still hurts, but I know Lisa would want us all to be happy; to remember her zest for life, her infectious smile... I know she was loving her life until the end. She was at peace. Her last post on Facebook was as follows:
"I went to bed last night on a hammock under a blanket of stars, next to a campfire, a pond, and a field of horses. This is as good as it gets and there's no other place I'd rather be than in this moment. Happy my life has been brought to this point."
We were able to write letters that were buried with her. This is my letter to her. And although it seems personal to post something like this, I think it best describes the fond feelings I had toward
It doesn’t quite seem real that you aren’t with us anymore here on Earth. I know I wasn’t done getting to know you better. We weren’t the closest of friends but you were a friend whom I loved dearly. You were such a great example to me of someone who lived life to the fullest and who pursued their dream no matter how many obstacles got in the way. I have peace knowing you were so incredibly happy and peaceful up until the point you passed. I love that you got to experience that feeling, that maybe you got a sense of heaven before you actually went there. I keep thinking I am dreaming, that you are still just overseas attending vet school, caring for animals creating awesome friendships that you so easily do wherever you go because people can’t help but gravitate towards you and that infectious smile and witty personality. People will say you were off to do great things in this world. I say, you did great things in this world. You loved those around you. You were an amazing aunt, I know lil’ Charlie will surely miss you. You left a beautiful mark on this world. I am grateful to have the knowledge that this life doesn’t end here, that we have the chance for a bigger and better existence in the hereafter. That knowledge helps me get through the pain of a life that ends all too soon. It is sad that it takes a loved one passing to realize all the things and people in your life that you take for granted. Time doesn’t stop nor does is wait for anyone. Life happens all too quickly and you never know when it could be your last day on earth or the last day of someone you hold dear. I know all those you touched in your lifetime will try to be better people, to not take anyone or anything for granted. To love more, to laugh more, to not let little insignificant things alter the way they look at the world or those in it. It’s such an odd thing when one experiences loss because you feel so many things in such a short period of time—sadness, anger, bitterness, heartache, confusion—but you also feel an immense love for those you cherish. It causes you to step back and count your blessings, to say I love you more, to hug your family or friends just that much longer. To appreciate the air in your lungs and recognize the beauty in this world instead of the things and people that defile it. I know you are in a better, a happier place now, but know this world is worse off for having lost you. Your influence and love didn’t die with you. Your family and friends will keep it ever so alive. We’ll honor your memory Lis, I promise to honor your memory. I’ll remember you smiling, laughing, hearing you talk of your beloved music :) that’s how I’ll always remember you. Thank you for bringing happiness to my life. I’ll miss you.
Love you always and forever,