For My Cousin and Best Friend

This Essay was written by Emily MacDonald, Keisha's cousin and best friend shortly after Keisha's death. Emily was 2 months older than Keisha and will be getting married in 6 months. Another milestone in the MacDonald family that Keisha is not here to share.

Dare to Dream

Emily MacDonald
15 March 2007

Thinking back to every Saturday when I was a little girl, playing dress-up at Grandma’s house was my favorite thing to do. My cousin and I would put on costumes, wigs, and makeup; trying to look like the supermodels we saw in the recent Teen-Bop magazines. Taking turns, we would walk up and down the hallway that was our make-shift runway. My cousin was always a more stylish walker than I was. She would repeatedly give me tips on how to playfully throw a pillow or end the walk with a believable wink. At Grandma’s house, we were superstars! My favorite cousin, who happens to be my best friend, is next to me in almost every one of my childhood memories, all of which I will never forget.

Ten years later, where dress-up clothes and play have been replaced with studying and books, I found myself driving home on a foggy morning with my sister sitting next to me. It was four in the morning, thirty minutes past the phone call from my mother that woke me in the night. Something was wrong, something was very wrong and she wanted us home immediately. My soul was praying that the situation wasn’t too serious and that everyone was alright.

We finally pulled into our dark driveway and my sister and I walked hand in hand to the front door. Facing my parents in the kitchen came with a foreign feeling that I didn’t like. Seeing the tear stains on my dad’s face and my mom just sitting there staring into space, my sister took a seat at the table and I followed her actions. Within one minute of my dad opening his dry mouth, my life began to turn 180 degrees. The terrible words that my dad spoke informed us that our close cousin had been tragically killed. In one minute her life was gone and my family would never be the same.

Keisha Michelle MacDonald was a beautiful woman who was taken away from this earth late on February 20th of 2007. A fatal car accident with an eighteen wheeler cut her life short. Keisha was 18 years old and enjoyed life to the fullest. She was following her dream to pursue modeling, all while attending college at Lansing Community College. I got to grow up right next to Keisha and more memories still come to me every day. We started and graduated school right next to each other. We were not only cousins but promised to be best friends forever. Keisha’s death has not only impacted my family and me, but many other people in the United States. A Facebook group, a place where students and friends can keep in touch with each other, has 681 members in the group titled “In Loving Memory of Keisha Michelle MacDonald”, and this group grows every day. Myspace, an internet site designed for people to chat and send messages, also hosts a site named “R.I.P. Keisha MacDonald” being shared with 177 members, continually increasing each day. Keisha was an inspiration to many friends, family, peers, and children.

One huge quality that still stands out about Keisha is the way she followed her dreams. Not scared of failure, she took off with her dream to be a model and sailed. Keisha started modeling in middle school and her career was just taking off when the accident occurred. Upon learning of Keisha’s death, her agent immediately sent word of the results from the last runway show she was in earlier that week in Detroit. The phone call informed the family that Keisha had been discovered. She was wanted at four major modeling agencies; two of which sent a contract including photo shoots in Asia. The smallest salary offered for a year’s work was over six figures. Keisha was going to be a star, but her life was too short for her to realize it.

Following a dream is a hard concept to understand and accomplish. Being able to follow a dream includes bravery, attitude, and confidence. Everyone is born with these qualities, but people rarely take advantage of them. Being able to achieve a life-long goal is an accomplishment that people are seldom rewarded with, but it is one of the details in life that is easy to accomplish with the right attitude. Once a goal is reached, a hero is identified as someone who never gave up, tried with all their heart, and always believed that their dream was in reach. A hero lies somewhere in everyone.

The first step to achieving a goal is daring to dream. Keisha decided early that she wanted to be a world known model, and little was going to get in her way. A dream must be identified and chased after with no barriers. Many people claim that they don’t have a dream, or are too old to accomplish their goal. William Arthur Ward, an American author, teacher, and pastor does not agree. Ward is often quoted from many inspirational poems written. He states, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” (Ward Quotes). This quote is completely true, and is reassuring that dreams are only an arms-length away. Thinking back to adolescent years usually brings back vivid dreams that were thought to be unreachable. Now picturing the dream, it might not seem that far out of range.

What is your dream? Is your dream to be sitting in this conference room reading this essay? Or is your dream to solve the mystery to cure cancer? Is your dream to be an astronaut and see the earth from a view that only God himself claims to see? My dream is to be a singer/songwriter. Although, I have doubted myself my entire life, Keisha’s memory pushes me to try. Knowing that I live in Michigan, that I’m already 18 years old, and that the money needed for an occupation of a performer is not at my fingertips; those are my doubts. Believing that God put me on this earth with a purpose to please others, being blessed with a harmonic voice, and knowing that if Keisha could chase her dream makes me believe I can too; these are my determinations of completion. Believing in yourself will begin the dream, and belief will also capture and conclude the dream being chased.

On that tragic day when I found out my best friend wasn’t ever coming back, I began to look at life in a completely different manner. I am done doubting myself, I’m done giving up, and I will always believe. My dream is in reach and it is truly sad that I never realized it until the death of someone I truly loved. Keisha taught me to be brave, and she taught me that I could hold life in my hands if I knew where to start. My cousin is gone, but she will always be in my heart and my biggest fan in life. Keisha has inspired me to step into the world and dare to dream.

Works Cited
"William Arthur Ward Quotes." Inspirational Words of Wisdom. Inspiration; Pass it On. 5 Apr. 2007 <>.

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