So you may all ask why am I blogging about Kyrzayda, when I didn’t go to the wake. Well I have my reasons and my story.
I met Kyrzayda in 2009. The Riverside Manor. Paterson, NJ. What I most remember is her perkiness and positive energy. She always complimented me on my style. Ha! I was ten years older and I dressed well but I wasn’t styled. Not like her.
But we connected. I remember one of the first conversations we had was about her wanting a boutique. She loved fashion. She loved clothes. She wanted to go places. She wanted to do things.
She was this petite bundle of energy with a beautiful smile and BIG, BIG, BIG dreams. Now let me back track by saying that we were in the hood and this was way before fashion blogging and social media were anything familiar to many of us here, at least me.
Anyway, eventually I became a bartender at the Riverside and it was always refreshing to run into K (as I heard she was lovingly called by many). She eventually started working at Once Upon A Skirt and she helped me choose outfits a few times.
Always had an eye and was always honest with me about what worked and didn’t. We talked about life and boys and fitness while I tried on outfit after outfit.
So, being a non-fashionista-wanting-to-have-my-own-boutique kind of person, when Kyrz started blowing up my FB thread with image after image of her fitness and fashion journey I unfollowed her.
For no other reason except that it would take me 3-5 minutes to get to any posts of family or other friends. Seriously. (Not understanding that this is part of the business, right?) Building your brand.
Fast forward to last year when I believe it was that I saw www.liverpooljeans.com post something about her that I started following her again and learned of her diagnosis.
I began to follow her journey which now included cancer.
Some people may have loved her and some may not, but there is a lot to be learned from her journey.
I recently watched a Super Soul Sunday with Oprah featuring Dr. BJ Miller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0TAs_QQKHM. (If you guys haven’t heard his story, you should head over there and watch it.)
In a freak accident Dr. Miller lost both his legs below the knee and his arm. Instead of feeling defeated, he decided to embark on a career in palliative care (caring for people who are dying) and now works with the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.
That is neither here nor there. What I want to share is that he says this of death: We view death as an occurrence separate from life, when in reality death is a part of living. Because we are all going to die at some point.
When we hear that someone is dying from some incurable disease, such as cancer, we automatically start viewing or treating that person as if they are already dead, when in reality, they are living to the moment of their last breath.
Kyrz was the epitome of this theory. I mean a week before she passed she was “deciding” whether or not she would go to NY Fashion week and had her outfits laid out.
This was a woman who was in so much pain, but still kept her faith and believed she would be there. No she didn’t attend, but that’s beside the point folks. Imagine the joy she felt just believing and imagining herself there.
The morning before I learned she had passed I watched an episode of Dr. Oz and his guest speaker, Dr. Sam Parnia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHcZc-JJEFw who conducted a research study on what happens when a person dies. Guys! It sounds morbid, but let me tell you, what a refreshing eye opener.
We fear death so much. And we worry so much about the pain and suffering. But this speaker explained what happens physiologically to our bodies right before we die. The first thing is we start losing oxygen, when this happens we fall into a deep sleep – a coma. He describes it as going under (anesthesia).
He then said that of course your heart fails. This is when doctors record a time of death. BUT! you’re not yet done. Your cells can take a few hours to shut down.
So it is in this space when your cells are still alive that near-death experiences occur. This is the time when people who have had this experience and come back describe a very blissful existence, they see the doctors working on them from above or a removed space, they see a flashback of their life. They oftentimes don’t want to come back because it is such a beautiful feeling.
I know, I know ! Kyrz didn’t come back but what a relief to know that she was in this space of bliss and joy and comfort.
Listen, I lost touch with Kyrz however her journey touched me too. I kept thinking and I have often said this to people like “we” could be her. What happened to her can happen to any one of us.
As humans we question like “why?”. “Why” . She was in her prime. Her blogging career was taking off. “Why?”
We can be angry at God for taking her. But I am a firm believer that though she served her “fashion and blogging” purpose here on earth, her death is meant to serve an even greater purpose.
That purpose is that she and her journey will hopefully teach people how to live! Now! because folks as we all know and say – “Life is entirely too short.” And our time of death is pre-written and set in stone. But we forget quickly.
Kyrzayda’s journey left an indelible imprint on me. I found myself constantly sending prayers for her, I started reading the bible in her name even bargaining with God to give her more time. Lord, I’ll quit drinking, I’ll go to church, I’ll volunteer with the needy. Anything to gain her more time.
It broke my heart to hear she passed, but it also cheered me (after hearing these podcasts) that her transition was easy, and pain-free and joyous.
I chose not to go to the wake because #1 I am way too emotional and didn’t want to be that person in hysterics and #2 I wanted to hold with me the memory of Kyrzayda as I knew her back in 2009.
AND #3 I had a dream with her the night she passed. Random, right?
I dreamt we were in this outdoor space like a vineyard or some kind of outdoor courtyard. We were talking and laughing and she had on this flowered two piece flowy pant suit. She kept saying she wanted to go down to beach and so she went.
I didn’t follow because I felt like she was happy and she was joyous and ok. So she went down this staircase filled with flowers and gone.
I woke with this sense of “Oh! She’s fine!” Kyrzayda is good.
Kyrzayda did what most people wouldn’t dare do and even if some do not agree with her decisions or her way of living – who fucking cares?!?!
What we should be focusing on is how we are going to live.
We shouldn’t be questioning God or the Universe or whoever we believe in “Why her?” or “Why did this happen?”
We should be asking, “What have we learned?” What has she taught us?” “How are we going to live OUR lives NOW?”
Hey we could even ask: WWKD? “What would Kyrzayda do?”
I am not concerned with K now and where she is because I know she is fantastically and amazingly and joyously existing in another space. Happy, pain-free, resting.
I just ask the Universe to comfort her mother, her family and her friends in this difficult time.
And more importantly, I pray that we figure out “Why?” not for Kyrzayda but for ourselves and how is having known Kyrzayda going to fundamentally push us to not be left with the question “Why?” at the end of our lives.
Kyrzayda, may you rest in eternal peace and may the Lord grant your mother and family the most comfort at this time.
It was a pleasure knowing you doll!