The Perfect Birthday Gift

SEEK Safely Kirby Brown grief

As a mom, I always want to purchase that “perfect” birthday present for my children. I would try to imagine the look of delight on their faces upon opening my gift, knowing that I had taken time and thought to find the best present possible–the gift that said, “I love you! You are special! My heart is yours!”

As my four children grew, it became apparent that each of them would really prefer the hard, cold cash or a gift certificate. Sadly, I acquiesced, realizing that what I thought was fabulous often did not match the tastes or desires of the recipient. I rarely delivered the “home run” present.

But one year, I was browsing in an off-beat jewelry store with Kirby and saw her looking longingly at a necklace which she decided she could not afford. Around the time of her birthday, I returned to the store hoping the item was still there. It was, and when Kirby unwrapped it, it was a home run!  Her delight filled my heart.

The best presents do something magical to the giver as well as the receiver. Now that Kirby is no longer here for me to buy her a gift, on February 8, her birthday, I often think about what she would want from me right now. On the weekend of her death, I spoke to a young woman who shared a room with Kirby in Sedona. To my immense relief and gratitude, she was staying with Kirby’s belongings until we were able to arrange to have her things retrieved and delivered to us in New York.

Her roommate, still in shock from the traumatizing experience of the sweat lodge urged me not to be sad or angry, to not think any negative thoughts. I asked her what she thought Kirby would want me to do, “sit in Westtown, looking at photo albums?” She carefully replied, “No, I think Kirby would want you to ask the hard questions and find out what happened.” Well, within a few weeks we did find out what happened. We learned about the lies, the mind control tactics, the lack of human response when people were unconscious and having seizures, and there was total chaos and disaster.

SEEK Safely is the result of that information. We know that self-help leaders can become reckless, corrupted by money and power. We know that intelligent people can be manipulated and deceived, wanting to believe in a leader who never deserved their trust.

So, five years later, Kirby, the best present I can offer you on your birthday is to tell your story, hoping it will save lives, while knowing that I cannot bring you back. But I can work to have something positive emerge from our horrific loss. You will always be missed but SEEK will work to keep others safe and to introduce people to your love of life, your inexhaustible energy, and we will all be better because you were once here. The gift of your life will change us all.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Here’s a very “Kirby” song, with a message I know she would want to send, enjoy!

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