Truth be told, there’s no way to tell how you’re going to deal with a particular circumstance until you’re faced with it. There’s no way to predict your reaction to any situation until it hits you. This is especially so when it comes to losing friends or family members. Even though we know all too well life and death are the formidable twins, the latter is oftentimes harshly unexpected.
“You’re never fully affected by it until it hits home,” said Cherice Lake, friend of Krystal Felix, the 23-year-old who was fatally shot recently after a boating expedition.
Krystal’s friends are determined not to let her death be in vain. By speaking out about it, they hope to switch the focus to ‘Respecting Life.
“It isn’t just another nameless, faceless person who got shot that you just forget about in a couple days,” said Cherice. “In getting to know who Krystal was, maybe it will help people stop being so desensitized when it comes to issues like this. People lose their lives violently and everyone says, “It was their time to go.” But there are things in society that need to be addressed if we are to save lives. Krystal was a very outspoken individual, and this is what she would want.”
Cherice shared aspects of her friend that she will never forget.
“I remember her optimism in every situation. Her faith and spirituality touched our lives,” she said. “Her belief in God was so great that any problem shared with her would be answered with her insistence of prayer. She always said: ‘Never question God’ and that, Krys, we are trying hard not to do. She always said you could not be her close friend if you never went to church with her. That if you could stay up all night or go clubbing then you could wake up to go to church. She always prayed for her friends, those in need and especially her mother who worked so hard. I remember when I used to have nightmares and she told me to put my Bible on my bed, and guess what? My nightmares ceased! Her last BlackBerry status still says: ‘God is everything.’ That says a lot, huh?”
She added: “We were so close that we can even be considered family. Friends so close that a couple of us paused our schooling overseas to be a part of her farewell. Krystal’s impact on our lives will remain forevermore. Her home was our home, her bed our bed, her happy and sad times were ours. I’m happy to have known her personally because she was blessing. We’ve had many heart-to- hearts that I will never forget. We will surely miss her. To her I say, I’m hoping that when you appeared in my dream two days after your death, smiling at me, it meant you are at peace looking over us, sharing your strength with us to move on.”
Taking the opportunity to say to Krystal some of the things left unsaid, another friend, Nykole, shared her thoughts: “Never thought I’d be here talking about the story of our life together. Our book was not finished being written. Krys, what an impact you’ve had on my life. We shared laughs, good times and when you needed to set me straight or call me out on stuff you didn’t like, I’d sometimes get upset and feel like you were wrong, but you would always give me time to cool down and we would talk about it and apologize. I always appreciated that. You made me strong and always told me to stand up for what I believe is right. You were so understanding and you always had my back. Even after we left SALCC we remained close, but your love could not be for me alone. Your big heart took in so many other people. It was then our friendship with the girls became rock solid.”
Other friends remembered her encouragement to pursue avenues in their careers or take steps further with education.
“You were always positive and encouraging. All in all it has been a great honour to have known you, shared with you, experienced life with you, fought with you and made up again.”
And then there were the moments of enlightenment: “Thoughts of you exist throughout my daily living, and I find myself speaking of you like you’re still here with me, but that’s just it,” a close friend Kalila added. “Over the past few weeks I’ve realized — existence doesn’t end with the loss of the physical body. Your physical being may not be with me, but your friendship, words, actions and especially your laughter are everlasting in my mind.”
The tributes keep pouring in: “She was a very outgoing and loving individual whose focus was never on herself,” her best friend Stephen told the STAR. “She kept in touch with friends who were out of state. It made us feel as if we were still home. Krystal didn’t just make friends with people, she was the catalyst that helped in the creation of bonds between her friends.”
“Her faith was so strong her spirit was so bright, she always told me never wish bad for people; pray for them instead, never question God,” Melissa added. “I could not fathom how she went through so much and was yet so faithful. Her favourite song was “Smile”, by Kirk Franklin, and now I realize why.
Krystal’s friends will soon be part of an educational campaign in her honour that will pay particular attention to gun violence.
“It’s about more than just gun violence,” Cherice explained. “People, especially young people, lose their lives in so many different ways. This is about respecting life and not taking it for granted. We will always remember Krystal… for all that she was.”