Today I went to the funeral of one of my best friend's siblings. Keisha was an amazing person, but I'm not surprised. She comes from an extraordinary family who I'm blessed to consider an extension of my own family. One of her sisters, Kamina, is one of my best friends since I have known from Kindergarten. I consider Mr. and Mrs. Ballard additional parents to my own and her siblings as special family members as well. It's been a while since I had seen Keisha but when I had heard of her passing last week. All I could think about was how her family was coping. How her children were dealing with the sudden loss of their mother. How my best friend and her siblings were handling their oldest sister being taken from them. How her parents could deal with the loss of another child.
When I heard the news of her death, I found out through Facebook. Social Media with all it's advantages, does have it disadvantages. Nothing can prepare you for such a shock. To make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me I immediately called my best friend and she confirmed the news. I couldn't believe it and was just in shock. Ever since then and up until the funeral I just kept thinking about one story regarding Keisha.
Back when Keisha was battling breast cancer, which was also around the same time my own mother was dealing with the same battle, I remember going to a haunted house in Soulard with Kamina, Keisha, and some other people. We were waiting in line to go through the "haunted" warehouse and we were just having a ball cracking up and joking with some other people in line. We were talking about how warm it was and why they didn't have any fans or something circulating the air. Around this time Keisha was dealing with chemo and one of the side effects was hair loss. Now I'm not sure if Keisha had on a wig or a scarf at the time, but all of a sudden without any warning, she whips off whatever she had on her head and the reactions around us were in different levels of array. They went from shock to straight up hysterical laughter. I was definitely in the range of laughter. She looked around at everyone and was just acting as calm as can be and just said, "What?, it's hot up in here and I'm trying to cool down."
THAT was the Keisha I remember who could make you laugh regardless if she was going through something. At the funeral today I wanted to tell that story but I was just so sad and I couldn't bring myself to talk. She had accomplished so much in her life and none of the trials she went through in her life were easy, but she had a strong foundation of a family that she knew she could lean on if needed. Watching the church fill up with the people who loved her just showed me a glimpse of how special of a woman she was.
A daughter who loved her parents. A mother who cherished her kids. A sister who adored her siblings. A friend and coworker who definitely left an impression on countless people. A phenomenal woman is what she was and how she will be remembered.
*Update* - There were some links I forgot to share with my original post.
A story that the Saint Louis Post Dispatch did on Keisha back in 2004 --> Click Here
A Go Fund Me account was also set up to help support her children's education --> Click Here
Until the next episode....
All That MsJazz