By: Katie Quilligan
If you met Julia and me when we were younger, you probably wouldn't have guessed we were related. She was blonde and I was brunette; she was calm and cool, while I was slightly spastic. We may have seemed an unlikely pair, but our differences helped me grow. Julia pushed me to challenge myself to try new adventures. When we were on a Lake Mojave trip, she pulled me on the jet ski and told me to hold on. I was terrified, but after the ride was over, I never laughed so hard and immediately wanted to go again. This was a story that manifested itself in different ways throughout our childhood. Without Julia pushing me to try new things I would never have been brave enough to move to New York for college.
After years of living across the country from each other, I told her last year I was coming home. She screamed. Her reaction could not have made me feel more excited, so I immediately put a weekly date on our calendar. The location simply said "anywhere fun." The truth is anywhere I was with Julia was fun. She was always up for the next adventure, whether it was an Angels game, playing cornhole at a local brewery, glittering 150 wine glasses, enjoying a nice bottle of wine and a home cooked meal, or exploring Dana Point.
Just a couple weeks ago, on one of our adventures, we went to the Dana Point Wine Festival with my grandpa, husband and brother. At the festival, there was a patch of grass and some music, so naturally Julia started dancing and pulled the rest of us in. Before I knew it, there was a crowd of people around us dancing. That is what Julia did. She took a single moment of fun and spread that throughout an entire crowd. She touched those around her with infectious joy and the desire to get out there and live life -- to be brave enough to start a dance party in the middle of a grass field.
So this is my moment of bravery for my cousin, best friend and favorite dance partner -- I love you and will keep missing you, but living each day until the day we can dance again.