The world is missing a good soul today. My beautiful cousin Keeley passed away yesterday after a brave battle with cancer. She was an amazing woman -- a world traveler, a daughter, a sister, a social worker in a public school system (need I say more?). Someone who left this place better than she found it and touched more lives than she will ever know along the way.

She was one of our 17 first cousins who grew up together in a tightly-knit family. Our pack spent numerous holidays and summer vacations together at our grandparents' home, creating a wealth of memories over the years. We've seen each other grow up, go to school, travel, fall in love, get jobs, change jobs, mourn loss, get married, mend broken hearts, and have children. It feels very strange that one of us was taken so soon. Too soon. I tossed and turned last night in the early hours of the morning, unable to sleep, thinking back across our shared history with a heavy heart... and I had the strange feeling that many of my cousins were likely doing the exact same thing at that very moment.

Keeley used to tell me she would read these entries and laughed about her 'blog stalking.' But that's exactly what it was always about in the first place, making us feel more connected as we all scattered across states and the world. And I hope wherever her spirit is now, that she is still laughing and that we'll be connected once again. She will be dearly missed by many.

My aunt passed along this beautiful post written by one of Keeley's closest friends who is in the midst of her own battle with cancer. Her words are a powerful and moving testament to Keeley's life.