The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be*

Dear Kelly,

You know as well as I do that this is exactly the kind of corny thing a grief counselor would tell you to do if you were in my boots. Write you a letter, send it off into the ether.

I will always be surprised, delightfully so, that we were "seesters" these last couple years. You, a luminescent, adorable fairy person, complete with cabbage patch dimples, found the bog witch at the dark edge of the woods and decided to drag her along on your adventures. On the surface, it just doesn't seem like there's any good reason why we understood and respected each other so readily and so deeply. But that's how the best stories start.

Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. 

Maybe in other lives we would have been stitched into opposite ends of life's tapestry, but our trauma, our crazy, our desperate need to puke a rainbow of love into the faces of anyone who stands too close to us fashioned us into the broken puzzle pieces that now fit together perfectly.

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

I know I don't need to "make this about me," but I have an ocean of guilt over this. I feel like I failed you, but to feel that way is to insult your intelligence and your Will. I'm trying to lay it all down because it's the wrong part of you to hold onto. I will, however, seek justice on your behalf whenever and wherever I am able.

They've summoned up a thundercloud, and they're going to hear from me.

I want to hold on to the girl that taught me how to play poker by hustling a charity event. You were counting cards, brazenly, telling everyone what you were doing, and everyone let you because you are you and no one can resist you. And because you are you, you gave all your winnings to two beautiful drag queens so they could keep playing all night.

You are the only person to ever give a solitary crap about what my favorite color is, and I still don't know how you knew. Creepy. Also, an excellent gift giver. I thought I was good; you put me to shame. Who could know that a bog witch really likes soft stuffed animals?

You can add up the parts, You won't have the sum

Who is going to bully Justin with me? Who is going to wing off zingers at dad with me? Good God, you are hilarious to the core. It's sexist and stupid, but how many really funny women do you encounter? You are among the finest. You made me laugh every time we talked, even if what we were talking about was heavy or sad.

I promise to keep laughing for you.

I promise to keep puking love for you.

I promise to get better at poker.

I don't have to promise to never forget you, that's just impossible.

I love you forever, Sister Kelly.

-- Renee Raven

* Lyrics by Leonard Cohen, "Anthem" 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Resource information is provided for free as well as a chat message service. To speak directly to a professional, call 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone and help is available. Every life is important.

Remembering Kelly Plasker

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