The extraordinary journey and legacy of Kirsten.

The glorious spirit of Kirsten Andersen lives on in her blog, her incredible writing, her students, her family and her husband, Ian.  I am so grateful to call Ian my friend. Kirsten’s honesty and humor about her journey through cancer leaves me breathless and empowered.

Personally, I am fascinated by the journey family takes after our loved one dies. Where do we go from here? How do we grieve? And how do we carry that legacy forward?

Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore. – Anne Lamott

The impact of a human being… incredible.

From “The Day Was” by Kirsten Andersen

Flooding the valley

between flesh and bone

evicting the good, the healthy, the strong

leaving the wreckage in its place




the highways

the byways

of that bad blood-

my own

Kirsten’s blog entry October 22, 2006:

… Always by my side, of course, has been Ian. He will probably be horribly embarrassed by this public declaration of my gratitude and affection. However, today is his birthday (Sunday), and since I can’t really be the retail phenom I usually am, I wanted to express my love and admiration in words. I hope I can convey a fraction of my appreciation to him. He is more than I could have ever asked for, now and always.

He has laughed with me, made me laugh and caused me to laugh under incredibly inappropriate circumstances. He has held me when I have cried, has cried with me and has wiped my tears as they fell from my cheeks. He has held my hand and held my barf tray.

He has wiped my nose, lint-rollered my noggin and told me I was beautiful even when I said my head looked like a testicle. He has kept track of my appointments, made me take my pills and returned my friends’ and family’s phone calls (most of the time) when I wasn’t able. He has carried me when I could not put one foot in front of the other. He has given me strength when I felt I had none – he has fought with me and for me…

Kirsten facilitated healing writing groups at the Callanish Society:

Kirsten’s button (LOVE IT):


As of Friday August 26, 2011, Kirsten’s husband, Ian Powell, started his own blog where he shares his extraordinary love of Kirsten, his unbearable pain of losing her, and simply how he lives now with grief, and how he struggles to find a “new normal.”

As someone who has lost loved ones and friends to cancer and to suicide, I am grateful to be able to read about Ian’s grieving process because he GETS IT.  There is camaraderie and understanding that strangely comforts me.  It’s not easy to grieve, but there it is.  And we are still here.  So is the love of those we lost.  That love is truly immortal.

Recommended article:

Grief Has A Mind of Its Own, Ian Lawton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *