Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with

Sky High

            I initially delayed writing this because I was trying to grasp what happened and trying to bring some eloquence despite having none.  Krystal Koch went missing on August 1st, found on the second, “officially” died on July 30th, and a service was held for her on August 17th. 

            It hardly felt like a funeral service though.  It was more of a tribute and an honor to an amazing someone that touched a lot of lives.  And when I say amazing, I don’t mean that light heartedly.  I don’t mean it like the Amazing Kreskin, she was truly amazing.  Her voicemail recording display just an iota of this; “I’m either building a plane, jumping out of one, or launching a rocket.”  She made over 200 jumps, piloted most every plane ever created including jets, co-oped at NASA, and put up with my random pick up lines through school.  She was my Italian Bird . . . I didn’t have any better lines in 7th grade.

            I met Krys in 7th grade as a result of Sci-O.  Normally I jest that you’ll never meet an exceptionally striking girl in a lab, as with her normal standards, she was an exception.  We worked on a variety of events together though we never competed in an event together.  In an iconic way, her best event was probably Wright Stuff; build a balsa wood plane and make it fly for as long as humanly possible. 

            She did more than just planes though. She was as utilitarian as a Swiss army knife.  One night, she and I went rock climbing, then the next day the two of us set up lights and sound in theatre for a school choir. 

            While see did some very extraordinary things, the one thing I am most grateful for is the fact that she was my friend.  Every day in physics class she would give me a slice of her orange.  I never wanted to take it since it was her food and “Krys, you’re a growing girl.  You should eat it.”  She would have none of that.  She would take the slices force them in my mouth and conjure this cute smile with a scrunched face and nose. 

            That is how I will always remember her.  Sure, I’ll bring up the fact that she is an amazing pilot, that she jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, that she taught me to rock climb (among many things), and that she accomplished more in 21 years of life than other do in 82.  Most people say carpe diem, she was carpe diem.  She died doing something she loved.  Maybe I can be so lucky as to die while telling a joke or saving a life.  Well, Krys, my friend who was going to have terrible wrinkles from all the smiling you did, I did not bring the eloquence I was hoping to this situation but I will not remember you with a somber, sad light but rather a happy, joyous one because that’s who you are and that’s what you want.  Sky high Krys.


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2 thoughts on “Sky High

  1. Benji…

    When I first heard you talk about your friend, I didn’t know who she was or how much she meant to you. But I can tell by the way you talk about her that she was an amazing woman and somebody I can admire even now. Nevermind that she was a pilot or NASA type person, or even one of those pretty and smart girls in lab…I can tell you lost a good friend. Take comfort (like you said) that she died doing exactly what she loved doing. Sky high, indeed.

    High Flight (also known as “the Aviator’s Poem”)

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air.
    Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
    I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
    And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

    Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
    No 412 squadron, RCAF
    Killed 11 December 1941

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