In Memoriam

Karen FurstrandOne year ago, my friend Karen died in a car crash, in Vancouver. I found out the next morning from a newspaper headline, while I was waiting at a bus stop with a packet of photos I had taken of her in and around the Nitobe Gardens at UBC. It all strikes me as having happened a very long time ago: from our last brief conversation to walking twenty kilometres home, along the dark sea front, after her candle light vigil.

A year’s contemplation of life and death have yielded little more certainty about how to feel and respond.

As such a personable and enthusiastic individual, I do not doubt that Karen Furstrand is well and broadly remembered. I hope that those good recollections will temper the grief of friends and family as they think back upon her. In particular, my best wishes and condolences go out to her brother Ian, sister Sonia, and parents Erik and Celia.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

22 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. I have many warm memories of Karen, mostly if not all revolving around adventures with UBC debate. People die and pass out of existence but we remain near to them by way of memory, for memory is not the gathering of thoughts but the gathering bringing-near of people and things.

  2. Thank you for being Karen’s friend. Thank ou so much for the lovely pictures and words you’ve shared. Love Karen’s Mom

  3. Thanks for what you said about Karen. We all remembered her that day, and every other day that passes. I am really pleased to have the photos you took of her. I re-did her old bedroom as she had wished me to do so, and framed 3 of the photos you took to put them up in there. Thanks again.

  4. Thank you all for your thoughts. It is still tough and always will be.

    Erik Furstrand (Karen’s Dad)

  5. Milan, Today I missed Karen so very much. I decided to read about her again. I read about what you are doing and wanted to tell you how proud Karen would be of you. I am too. Thank you again for the pictures, they mean so much to all of us. If your ever back in Richmond again please look me and us up. O r e-mail me on how your doing. Any friend of Karen’s is welcome. Take care and good Luck. Karen’s Mom (Celia)

  6. Although I knew Karen not terribly well, even now rarely a week passes without her coming to mind.

  7. Celia,

    Thank you very much for the comment. I am glad to have the opportunity to make Karen’s memory a bit more concrete, through the few photos I was able to take of her.

  8. On June 13, 2009 Karen would be 25. Thank you all for remembering her. Leaving flowers at 2 and Steveston or at the cemetary mean so much to us. I miss her everyday. Celia

  9. It’s been 5 years since you left us Karen. Still think of you, and we miss you.

  10. Thank you everyone for your comments. Its nice to read these now and again and know how much she was loved and remembered.

    Sonia (Karen’s sister)

  11. It is really nice that people remember Karen. Thank you.
    I think of her every single day, and will for the rest of my life.

    Erik Furstrand (Karen’s Dad)

  12. This morning I was thinking of Karen. I remember her so fondly and can’t believe it will be 8 years that’s she’s been gone. I spent several summers with her in comox. The first time I really got to know how generous and amazing of a person she was, was in 2001 when we were cubical mates for 2 months. Seeing your amazing pictures of her smiling face brought back such great memories. The adventures we shared and life lessons he taught me are things I will always cherish. Thank you for sharing your pictures.

  13. Milan, thank you again for posting these. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to your site, looked through your pictures and smiled, thinking of our dear friend Karen. They really do embrace the memory of the girl whose laugh I will never forget. Thank you for your art. It’s clearly been so special to so many of us.

  14. I still miss Karen and tend to remember her more around this time of year. She was a skilled debater during her time at UBC, and would surely be impressing us all with how she would now be making use of her intelligence and determination, nine years later.

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