As volunteers, we sometimes forget that life continues a world away from our service in-country. As much as we would love the world of our friends and family to just freeze the moment we get on the airplane to staging and only resume the day we return back home, this simply cannot be. Life continues for everyone. Our friends and family get jobs, get engaged, get married, and continue celebrating in our absence. We feel left out during the good times and helpless during the bad. This one of the hardest parts of service. Especially on a day like today.
I can usually find the words to describe how I’m feeling, but today, the words escape me to elaborate on how much my heart aches. To my dear friend Kelsey McLean, you are an amazing soul and were one of the most joyous people I have ever known. Never has anything like this happened to a person so undeserving. I feel honored to have known you, to have had you as a lab partner through so many ecology and chemistry experiments, to have sat with you on sunny days studying on the green grass lawns of Gonzaga, discussing how we’d rather be camping or hiking than doing another lab report, to have had your support from day one in this endeavor to join the Peace Corps and embark on a great new adventure, to have laughed with you and been able to have heard your laughter and see your smile, brilliantly on display under a backwards blue floral snapback. On every adventure from now on, every hike, every camping trip, every bike ride through the woods, every exploration, I will think of you and raise a gluten-free beer to your memory. Rest in peace Kelsey, and never stop exploring.