I write this story today for my sister Kassidi Coyle. Today and for the rest of my life, I will be her voice. I will fight for you Kass. I’ll tell your story. That’s what a big sister is for.
Kassidi was a bright and fun 20-year old. Kassidi lit up every room that she would walk into. Kassidi always had a smile on her face and could make any grey day sunny. Kassidi was the youngest of our 3 sisters. We all grew up really close. My mom was a single mom and always worked hard to make sure we had the best life growing up and made sure that we had the nicest clothes for the first day of school. Despite whatever life tossed our way, my mom always stayed strong for all of us.
Kassidi growing up was always the troublesome one. She was the youngest so she always got away with just about everything. When we were kids, my mom would always have to put the child locks on the car doors. If she didn’t then right when the car would stop in the driveway, Kassidi would get out of the car and bolt down the street. When we were younger, we had gone to Centre Island with my mom’s work. Kassidi kept getting free ice cream and all I can remember is my poor mother running all over the island to get her to stop. Kassidi always gave my mom a good run.
Kassidi and I were really close. If I ever needed someone to talk to, she would always be the first one to reply and always knew the right thing to say. We both shared an undying love for Taylor Swift. Kass and I would religiously go to Taylor Swift concerts. We’d sing so loud (and so offkey) and drive everyone around us up the wall. We would have the time of our lives. We were both so happy. Every time I think of my little sister I go back to the 1989 tour and think of that night. I think about how much fun we both had and about how big the smile was on Kassidi’s face. I like to picture Kassidi up in heaven having the biggest Taylor Swift dance party while wearing my clothes (which she loved to do without me knowing.)
Kassidi was a free kindred spirit. She had so many friends. She could spark up a conversation with just about anyone. She radiated confidence. She never hesitated to help others. She would bend over backwards for anyone whether she knew them or not. If her friends were sad, she would always go the extra mile for them and comfort them in any way she could. Kassidi only ever wanted to help others.
Canada Day of last summer was when everything changed. Kassidi was sexually assaulted last summer. Following this attack, she developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kassidi was then put on a 4 month wait list for support services. Kassidi had then become very withdrawn and isolated. She had nightmares and couldn’t go anywhere alone or stay anywhere alone. Kassidi, the bubbly and outgoing girl we all loved, was gone. It was like night and day. November 1st our lives changed forever. We lost my little sister. Kassidi ended her life weeks before her scheduled appointment for support services.
Every day I live without my sister. It feels as though a big piece of my heart is gone forever. Every morning it feels like the wind has been knocked right out of me. I can’t help but think that maybe there was something more I could have done. It will never get easier and I don’t think it’s something I can ever accept. I want to believe that in life everything that happens is for some kind of reason.
Kassidi was a miracle baby. My mom had had her tubes tied and found out not much long after that she was pregnant. Pregnant with an angel by the name of Kassidi. I like to believe that maybe Kassidi was here to teach us something. She wasn’t here for long but she wanted to leave a big imprint on all of our hearts.
We started up a charitable organization #JusticeforKassidi in her honour. We sell merchandise with her hashtag and donate to mental health initiatives in our hometown of Barrie. With the hashtag, we wanted to gain a bigger social media presence. This was all started in hopes of pushing Kassidi’s story out there. Pushing the story created dialogue. A dialogue that is still going and fighting for my sister on her behalf. We want to bring awareness to Kassidi’s story and we want to prevent this from happening again. We want to raise more awareness to mental health.
Mental health is something that needs to be addressed. The system is failing too many young people. No one should have to wait 4 months for support services. Change starts with us and talking about it and being a voice is the first step. That is what Kassidi would have wanted. Kassidi wouldn’t want anyone to experience the pain she endured. No one should ever feel that suicide is the only way out. No one should ever feel this alone. If you are reading this, know that you are not alone and someone out there loves you so much and you mean the world to them. Live your life for Kassidi.
I will miss our silly snapchats, our Taylor Swift singalongs, our fun adventures with mom, our silly talks, your witty humour, your hilarious one liners, your patience, and every single thing about you. You will forever be my little sister and I will carry you in my heart everywhere I go. I will love you forever and miss you for always.
I was enchanted to meet you. xoxo