The pain of losing her beloved daughter is not constant for Armstrong’s Bev Carlson.
But it still comes in waves.
It was five years ago Thursday – April 30, 2010 – that Carlson’s 22-year-old daughter Kiera was walking from her Coldstream home on Venables Drive to her job at a downtown Vernon night club when she was struck by a car shortly before 9 p.m. on Aberdeen Road.
Her body was found the next morning on rocks near the Regional District of North Okanagan.
“April 30, 2010, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. May 1, 2010, was the worst time of our lives,” said Carlson, who said she received her last text from Kiera at 8:49 p.m. April 30, and that she hadn’t shown up for work. Friends were out searching for her at 11 p.m. that night.
“Not knowing where Kiera was or what had happened to her was unbearable. Now we know she is an angel.
“This year, our angel would have turned 27 in February. She has been an angel for five years now. She may have married by now or had children. We will never know.”
Carlson described Kiera, one of three girls born to Carlson and her husband, Len, as a “tiny, pretty girl who would make you smile, laugh or shake your head at her ‘drama.’
“She loved to pretend which led to acting in school,” said Carlson. “She was always the centre of attention. She used to say, ‘I am so tired of everyone’s drama.’
“She took everything to heart and really did care.”
She only lived 22 years but Kiera Carlson made an impact on many.
Growing up in Saskatchewan, friend Janelle Loden remembered a metal bunk bed Kiera had in her Melfort bedroom.
“Every time she and I would have sleepovers, we would sit on the middle of a blanket and lift the corners through the bars of the bunk above,” said Loden. “We would make cocoons. We would fashion them so there were peep holes to send messages through to each other.”
Another friend, Juli Kneller, said Kiera had the ability to love herself.
“I was drawn to her passion, laughter and boisterous personality,” said Kneller, who also recalled a trip to Edmonton to watch their beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders and to get friendship tattoos.
“Her laugh is undeniably beautiful and has marked my heart forever.”
Friend Kisa Tiller said Kiera “was one of those amazing friends who would give it to you straight, even if it might hurt at first, and then within the same day she’d bring your favorite Booster Juice to your work just to cheer you up because you were having a bad day.”
“She taught me so much in the short time we got to spend together and I wish everyday that I could just call her up and chat, laugh and cry,” said Tiller.
At the time of her death, Kiera was dating a man named Nick, who reached out to the Carlson family by sharing a poem called Please Don’t Cry, whose lines include:
“Please don’t cry for me for I am at peace. I now rest. Please don’t be sad. Think of memories at their best…Please be strong. Don’t be in any pain. Please wipe those tears for we will meet again.”
“We will never forget or stop missing our baby girl Kiera,” said Carlson. “Life, sometimes, is not fair.”
The family will host a memorial for Kiera at the place she died, the RDNO grounds, from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Kiera’s memorial cross will be reset in the stones, and there will be candle lightings.
The driver of the car that struck Kiera Carlson was found guilty in December 2012 of dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to 32 months in jail.