February 11 marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of my first cousin, Kelly ‘Kali’ Doukas. Up to a month ago, I hadn’t even realized that she passed away in February. I was pretty sure it was in April. While trying to work on my annual activity report, I noticed that there were two months I barely remembered anything about. Our brains are rather remarkable in their ability to suppress. I remember telling myself that I had neither time nor room for mourning. Apparently, I was pretty convincing.

I am learning how to mourn again. For Kelly and for others lost the past two years. For 21 years, Kelly defended me against my premature adulthood. We had both lost a lot, but she always knew how to keep on living. She was responsible for almost every first-time experience I had to have in my life that my parents would have objected to. None of it hurt me. Most of it helped me. I always resented her for trying to make me have fun. I never thanked her for it. Our last encounter was harsh. Both of us would rather pretend it never happened. Unfortunately, it is burned in my memory like an ugly photograph.

Kelly was a gifted photographer. For someone who moved at the speed of light, I was amazed at how quickly she could capture images of profound beauty and inspiration without blurring. How could she notice anything while moving so fast? Her piercing blue eyes could stop traffic. In fact, they did so many times when we would go out for a night in the town. What was the last thing she saw when the lights went out? I wish I could have looked at those eyes one last time. She could stop time while staring at you, yet she moved so fast while the world stood still.

I wish I could stand still while moving to see what she saw. I wish I could see her see me one more time.

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