Today I planned to write a blog about the incredible Mexico family holiday I just returned from. Instead, I woke up to the news my friend Megan passed away last night. It was a car crash and she was thrown from the car. She was only 21. We had just celebrated her birthday this past summer in Costa Rica where we were both attending an intensive yoga teacher training.
In a group of twenty plus girls, there were five of us who planned to stay longer for an extra 300 hours of training. For those of you unfamiliar with Yoga Teacher Training, it’s two months of intensive yoga studies from dusk till dawn. As you can imagine, when you spend every waking moment together for a long period of time you get to know each other real fast. Megan was the youngest in our group of five. She was 20 years old.
Yoga Immersion isn’t just about getting into pretzel like poses for hours at a time. It’s so much more than that. We go deep. We open ourselves up to each other and lay ourselves bare. We tell each other the stories of our lives, all the heartbreak and the joy. We tell each other our darkest secrets and listen without judgment. We heal.
Megan had an incredible story. Though young, she had been through so much pain in her short lifetime. I don’t feel comfortable sharing Megan’s story because when she talked to me in the late hours of the night, I was her vault and I plan to keep it that way. She would always tell me I was her big Sister and I LOVED having that honor. Though I was 39 at the time of the training, I spent the most time with the younger girls in the program. Even though I was older, I never felt much of an age difference because we were all so similar. We wanted to travel, teach yoga, and make this world a better place. We were healers, peace keepers, and spiritual seekers. My time with these amazing women are some of the most incredible moments of my life. There were so many tears and so much laughter.
What I will tell you about Megan is that she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. Personally, I can not imagine undertaking 500 hours of Yoga Training at that age. Sure, physically speaking, it seems twenty would be a perfect age for this kind of a grueling and intense training. But the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the course are the hardest to get through. You have to look in the mirror and really see yourself, the good, bad, and the ugly. It was intense. And then, you have to show your soul to a roomful of women you have only just met. It is beautiful, soul shattering, and life transforming. Meghan was so courageous through the whole process. She worked so hard and watching her transform into a yoga warrior goddess took my breath away. She amazed me.
So here is where I tell you stories about Megan:
Even in YTT, which I lovingly refer to as Yoga Camp, I was the happy hippy of the group. The young girls nick named me Snow White for my penchant of talking to all the wildlife and even the trees. And while I raved about the amazing vegan food, Meghan would give me death stares across the dining table because by the end of the first week most of the girls needed a burger so badly they were willing to walk miles through a desert jungle to find a burger shack. There were days she would say to me, “Katie, I just can’t take your positivity right now. You are driving me crazy!” I would erupt in laughter. I enjoyed making her laugh with my over enthusiasm for pretty much everything.
She would often come to my room at night. We would have deep discussions about life and death. We would share all the details of our lives, our hopes, and our desires. I would look at her and think, “Wow, as long as there are young people like you in this world, the future will be bright.” About a month into our yoga adventure, twenty plus girls left and lots of new girls arrived. One of those girls was Jessa. She was my roommate. She reminded me a lot of Megan. Jessa’s gorgeous, fun and has a heart of gold. I told Jessa, “There is this girl you have to meet! I know the two of you are going to be best friends!” I was right. Megan would come to the room Jessa and I shared most nights and I loved it. We all laughed so hard and shared so much of ourselves with each other.
I remember one night with particular fondness even though at the time I wanted to throttle both Megan and Jessa. It was her 21st birthday. Though she would always invite me to go out on the few nights where we wouldn’t have to practice yoga at 5am the next day, I usually declined. I lost the urge to attend late night jungle parties over a decade ago. I much preferred to stay in and read while waiting for their epic stories the next morning. I enjoyed living vicariously through my young friends from the comfort of my bed. But on her birthday night, or I should say in the early morning hours of the next day, I heard lots of giggling outside my door as they nervously tried to get in the room with out waking me. It wasn’t a success. I pretended to sleep when the girls entered completely soaked. They had been swimming naked in the ocean under the moonlight. Now, they were in my room making their way to my bathroom to shower. They were so loud and giggly, and I just wanted to sleep. Still, I didn’t say a word because it was Megan’s birthday and I loved her. I was not about to end her celebration by screaming at her in the middle of the night or rather morning. I wanted her to have only beautiful memories of turning 21 in Costa Rica.
Let me tell you, the next morning I was pissed and sleep deprived. Both Jessa and Megan could tell I was fuming. Later, Megan ran up to me and threw her arms around me apologizing for waking me up. My anger evaporated the instant I saw that glorious smile of hers. It was impossible to stay mad at her. Instead, I told her that there was a shower by the outdoor pool and to make use of it during her next ocean skinny dipping adventure. Looking back, I am so happy she spent her last birthday moon drunk swimming in the ocean with her yoga camp best friend.
Megan was joyful, brave, hilarious, caring, complicated, kind, and gorgeous. I will always remember her laughter. It was special. The kind of sound that makes your heart explode with happiness. I can still hear it now as I replay it over and over in my head. She will be missed by so many including me.
My bright and beautiful Meghan, fly with the angels. I love you beyond time and space. I will carry your effervescent spirit with me always.