A quick note on the passing of Karleigh Baumann.
I wasn’t close with Karleigh. She was a friend of my friends. She was around, I was around. We drank and laughed in the same company. She was quiet and polite, but she had a pulsing personality. I saw her take crap from people with grace and poise, something I’d admire in anyone, but especially in someone so lively and deeply feeling.
And on top of that, she was a hell of a poet.
She was an acquaintance. Scratch that: she seemed like an acquaintance. When I heard she’d passed, it hit me what had been lost, how absolutely unique her energy was. That combination of molecules, actions and feelings came once and went. The combination was too unique for words. We have to refer to it by a name: Karleigh Baumann.
It’s just a darned shame that it took death to clarify that.
The flipside of death is bliss. Death is nothing. Bliss is everything: absolute clarity and feeling. A lot of us spend most our days somewhere in-between, stuck between clarity and the abyss.
I think Karleigh would’ve dug the fact that her passing is a clarifier. It’s the kind of thing she seemed to reach for in her poetry. She had that kind of spirit, the kind of attitude that makes triumph into a gesture: fist in the air on the top of the mountain.
It’s easy to think of death as the end of the movie, or to see it as an absence of that person from your life. But that isn’t it at all. It’s a bullet wound in the universe, and there’s no cosmic doctor.
I’m sure time heals these wounds. But that doesn’t mean we won’t still miss the living daylights out of Karleigh Baumann.

— Tom Benton