Oh Kait, I have so much to tell you

22 12 2011

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

Kaitlin LaBuda is my best friend. On November 25 she left this world and went to be with Jesus in Heaven. How bittersweet, gone from this life but so alive in the next At home with Him, reunited with our Creator, exactly where we all hope to be. But yet, for those left behind, a time a loss, and sadness and lonliness trying to figure out what life will look like without my precious best friend. Someone told me that the loss of someone special is not something to get over, but something you get used to. I pray everyday for the Lord’s comfort, that I can rejoice in the knowledge that Kaitlin is with Him. And know that He is still good, He is still loving, He loves me and He loves Kaitlin. He is redeeming humanity, He is salvation. That is the greatest story of all.

The following is the speech I presented at Kailtin’s memorial service in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Dec. 19:

I was up to my elbows in laundry. It was a Sunday afternoon in November, and I’d just arrived at the laundry mat when my iPhone started ringing.  I looked down and saw it was Kaitlin calling.  “Hey Kait! What’s up?” I said, trying to juggle the phone in one hand and three weeks’ worth of sweaters and jeans in the other. We talked for a minute about finals, dates and the number of times we worked out that week (me 0, her 5). It was the normal stuff, but not the reason she had called. There was a pause as I loaded my cardigans into the machine “So hypothetically speaking, if you were getting married tomorrow, would I be in your wedding?” she asked, unsolicited.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the unexpected question that had such an obvious answer. “Are you kidding?” I said. “I couldn’t have a wedding without you! And I’m not getting married either.” I laughed it off. “Right, yes I know that, she said, but seriously, like, what number bridesmaid would I be?” she continued. “This is important, Stacey.”

If you had told me THEN that I would be standing here today, I would have said you were crazy. The reality of the past few weeks could not be possible, because Kaitlin and I already had too many plans. Too many standing dates to bake cookies each Christmas. Plans to see each other complete grad school and law school next  year. Plans to be in each other’s weddings.

Three weeks ago, those were the first things that flooded my mind, those plans unaccomplished. And I was sad. But what flooded my mind second, and third, and fourth were memories of Kaitlin that weren’t sad at all. They were funny and wonderful and happy, just like her. There are Funny memories like the weekend we became best friends on a Campus Crusade retreat. Kaitlin left her alarm clock in her dorm and asked if I would wake her up each morning for the sessions. I think she missed half of them. Waking her up turned out more difficult than I imagined. “Just a few more minutes I promise!” she would plead.

There are Wonderful Memories of being her roommate and sharing EVERYTHING, shoes size 8, clothes, I won’t disclose the size, craft supplies and even dates. On more than one occasion we turned our room into a crafting workshop making gifts for sorority bigs and littles. And once we contemplated turning our walk-in closet into a bedroom and the bedroom into a closet. We needed more space for clothes and “important” things. Being her roommate was the best, even the time when she tried to dye my hair in the sink and it turned grey.

For Kaitlin and I, our friendship was… fun. To me, that is the best word to describe it. Things were just better when we did them together. If we went to Swamp on Monday or a kappa sigma party on Saturday, it was more fun with Kaitlin there. Everywhere we went, Kaitlin knew everyone. We always joked that at the end of the night, we were the last ones to leave because Kaitlin hadn’t said hi to everyone she knew by the time the bar closed or the party was over.

But it was no surprise to me why Kaitlin knew everyone, her smile was infectious, her kindness, extraordinary and her determination was inspirational.  Kaitlin always set out to do something great. She excelled in school. Got accepted into Cicerones, which was the most coveted organization on campus. And she always had the best story to tell. Just like I am telling stories about Kaitlin to you, Kaitlin and I were always telling stories to each other. We talked on the phone often even though I live in California and she was in Arkansas. And almost always the first line was “Oh My Gosh you will never believe what happened to me”… And if we called and one of us didn’t answer then there was a long string of text messages saying the same thing: OMG I have so much to tell you, funny story call me now, where are you? Hello? I need you!

One of the last conversations I had with Kaitlin was just that. Right before Thanksgiving I got potentially the worst haircut of my life and needed her to tell me it was going to be ok. So I called. No answer. I knew she was probably at work or studying (where else would she be?) but I knew Kaitlin was the only one who would understand my plight. So my text said, “Remember when you died my hair and it was grey? This is worse. Call me.” In fewer than 10 seconds, the phone rang. She was on the other end, staked out and hiding in the corner at work trying to talk me down and convince me  that it didn’t look “ thaaaatt bad” from the picture message I sent. I reminded her that she said the same thing when my hair was grey. “Well, ya’ know, that turned out okay. Right?” she said, reassuringly as we both laughed.  Kaitlin was always there to lift my spirits when I needed her. When I broke up with my college boyfriend, Kaitlin was over in fewer than 20 minutes. She looked me over from top to bottom and proclaimed “Girl, you know you are way more legit than him anyway. Put on some heels.  We have to go make someone jealous.” And we did.

When I look back at all these memories I have of college and of Kaitlin, I can’t help but laugh and think oh wow Kait , I couldn’t have done it without you. God truly brought us together that first month of freshman year, at a Campus Crusade Scavenger Hunt with 6 people piled into my red mustang and Kaitlin trying to give directions from the back seat. He brought us together right after both of us dropped out of sorority recruitment the first time and thought we would never make any friends in college. God had a better plan that year. He knew that Chi Omega would hold a special place in Kaitlin’s heart one day, but He gave us each other first. Kaitlin came into my life and each of our lives just for a season but her memories will last forever.

And I continue to have hope in the knowledge that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose as Paul says in Romans 8:28. Even on days when I know I’ll miss her, when I pick up the phone to call her and realize I can’t, when I do walk down the aisle one day and my number one bridesmaid won’t be there, I know that even on those days God is still good because he gave me a roommate, a best friend, and now an angel. I can’t wait for the day I will see her again and say Oh my gosh, Kait I have so much to tell you.

Kaitlin and I at graduation

 

One Day Kaitlin,  we will walk the streets of Heaven together

 

In His love,

Stacey

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3 responses

22 12 2011
Gil Sills

Stacey,

You made me cry at work. Hearing you talk about her with such passion, compassion and love is overwhelming. I know it’s hard and it’s going to be one of the most difficult things you can do, but you can still talk to her. You can still tell her all those wonderful…and slightly irrational stories of yours. She’s still there to listen. I love you Staceface and I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you. You know you can call me whenever you need me.

22 12 2011
Mary Polonitza

Stacey, thanks for being the bravest, most loving cutest, smartest young person I know. You make it evident there is a loving, great, amazing Lord that is worthy of all our adoration and praise!! What a joy to know I have such an amazing family in my family of God!!!!! I am sorry for your loss. I am always here to listen (while I boss you around:)!!! Love Mary

23 12 2011
christina allison

OMG Stace, my heart aches but is happy at the same time that she is with Jesus. Love you stace, love you and Kait’s love and friendship. Love Christina A

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