It is with deep sadness and loving memory that we announce the sudden passing of Chelsey Lee Barbara Wilkes, daughter to Mary Ann & Brian; sister to Crystal and Heather, stepdaughter to Olivia. She crossed over on the afternoon of Sunday June 24 in Richmond, BC with her family by her side. She was exactly two months shy of her 29th birthday.
Chelsey was a bright, vivacious, vibrant, beautiful woman with a huge personality and unparalleled wit. She was also very intuitive and perceptive. She had exceptional taste and was a talented stylist, make-up artist and craftswoman. She brought excitement, sass and laughter to everyone who knew her. Above all Chelsey was a strong warrior who was working very hard to overcome extremely difficult obstacles in her life. We can only hope and trust that she is now relieved of these struggles and that her powerful spirit will continue to touch our world with her signature sense of humour, magic and love.
It feels super fucking weird to post this on my blog and on Facebook but you know what, it's the times we are in. To be truthful I'm grateful to not have to repeat this over and over. I just need people to know. It's actually a huge relief to have social media for this shit. This was a pretty big shock.
I'm writing this because I always feel kind of awkward when someone close to my friend dies... I never know what the best thing would be to say or how to act or whatever. So I'm going to just be straight cuz that's what I would want if roles were reversed. Realness, let's hang out there - you know it's how I roll. Above all I would just love to know that my West Coast family is around and sending love. I would also love if you sent Chelsey some sassy energy for her journey and just wished her well. She was only 2 years younger than me and we were extremely, extremely close. This was very sudden and I am still dealing with the accepting that it is real. Writing and posting this, in fact, has been helpful in that regard.
It has been a very difficult week, and a week of tough decisions. One thing I have decided in the past few days is that I strongly, strongly feel that I need to keep creating and performing through all of this. I need to be around all my family at Keefer, and the festivals, and to use my outlet for process and release. It's just who I am. Chelsey was extremely proud and supportive of me and I know she would want me to carry through on this momentum. In fact... I honestly think she may be deliberately helping me along in some ways. There are some really big signs of this and I want to honour them. So unless otherwise noted, I intend on following through with all my gigs and professional commitments this summer, including Diversity next weekend. I feel in my gut that this is the right thing to do. And if you are also a performer, you know the feeling I have that I will find solace on the stage like nowhere else.
Having said that, I also intend on being 100% true to my grieving process at all times. So if you see me out, please don't take it personally if I'm a bit more withdrawn or non-engaging, or if I hang close to my close friends, or if you see me have waves of unexpected emotion. Please don't feel awkward if you see me and this happens, at parties, especially if you're drunk / partying or whatever, it's fine. More than ever I want people to enjoy life, please, for the love of sass. If you want to, just send me love vibes from where you're at, and don't worry about what to say or feeling like you need to say anything, especially if you're kind of fucked up. Trust me, I will find what and who I need moment to moment, and if I need you, I'll let you know.
And - I'm just gonna put this out there - if we're on a dancefloor, honestly, sometimes not saying anything is better. Dancefloors have always been my ultimate healing places and sometimes in moments where I need that healing I prefer not to interrupt that, even if by a gorgeous, loving friend. I would much prefer just a smile/acknowledgement and knowing that we are honouring the music together. I know you are rad and that you care, and just feeling your vibes will be support in the best way. We can interact / embrace / talk later. Now I'm just saying this, not insisting on it, but I have to say it because music is my healer, and I expect to immerse myself in its beauty this summer to the fullest degree. So yes... you will often see me on the dancefloor.
I will also most likely be shifting my writing energy over to process and lyrics for the next little bit, so blog posts may be infrequent for a minute. This shift was happening anyway and I think it may be part of a bigger shift for the whole intention behind the blog in general - but don't worry. I'll be back, I will always blog, and trust me I am writing. I am just feeling a little more private right now.I certainly will be dedicating a large amount of time to Chelsey and her memory, and creating space for us to honour her, but right now I am focusing on accepting that this is real.
Please please please hold the ones you love close. Tell them you love them. Honour them. Love them above all. And please light a candle for my beautiful, fabulous, powerful sister - now, or, if you wish, on the afternoon of July 4th, when I will be honouring her with my family in Winnipeg.
With love above all, always and forever. For real.