Machetes and Spray Paint

I did not expect to destroy a wall last Saturday. Or really, ever.

When you go to a memorial, you expect one type of thing: black, crying, a good dose of awkwardness as you meet people in the worst of circumstances.

Kristin’s celebration, just like herself, was unforgettable. From the instruction to wear bright colors, to the sno-cone machine, to the Hive, to her yoga instructor’s eulogy, to her husband’s thanks. It was all perfect, surreal, and heartbreaking.

As I spoke to some of my closest, I kept thinking: as much as I knew her, I still feel like we were at the beginning. As Kevan (her yoga instructor) shared, most people at the event kept saying how much it felt like she was still here. I kept expecting her to pop around the corner and start the dance party.

For me, ritual can change everything. As weird, and fucked up, and shattering as it all is, something changed as we all gathered together, hugged just a little longer, cried enough to form mountains of kleenex, and laughed as we toasted.

The beer flowed and as we finished cleaning up, Graham invited us all back to his shop to finish off leftover pizza and just be there for as long as we needed.

I trash-talked with DJ’s friends from home, played bartender with Annie, and at some point Graham started a machete throwing contest and busted out the spray paint.

On any other night this would be special and weird and awesome, but on this night it was glorious. The silliness allowed us to share our most honest feelings – alright, assisted by the fact that we drank all the liquor – and feel some form of release.

I broke down in tears toward the end, sitting in the Hive, thinking: Life is oh so hard, but beautiful.

Such a night, beyond description, is the type of tribute I could never have expected, but am also not surprised by – Kristin was totally running the show.

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