Kaley German shares her thoughts and feelings about her best friend Rachel Kekauoha, a 2011 Mira Costa High graduate, freshman at Brigham Young University, Idaho and Manhattan Beach resident, who died on April 6 in an SUV rollover while on her way to spend time with Kaley at Laka Havasu.
The funeral service for Rachel is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 at the Redondo 2nd Ward building of , 715 Knob Hill Ave., Redondo Beach. A visitation will be held Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Manhattan Beach Patch: When and how did you meet Rachel?
Kaley German: I met Rachel when we were about 11 years old. We both played for South Bay Soccer Club. We were on the same team for seven years; when I switched soccer teams, she followed me. We became really good friends really fast.
MB Patch: How did hear about Rachel's death and what was your reaction?
Kaley: I heard about Rachel’s death the morning of the accident. Around 7 a.m., [the driver's] mother called my boyfriend and told him that [her son] and Rachel had gotten in a horrible car accident. She said that she didn’t think Rachel had made it. My immediate reaction was to just break down and cry hysterically. I didn’t believe it, it seemed like a horrible nightmare and I was just praying that I would wake up and everything would be normal again.
MB Patch: When was the last time you saw her?
Kaley: The last time I saw Rachel was at my house. I hugged her goodbye and told her I loved her. I was leaving on a trip to Canada with my boyfriend. While I was in Canada, she left for college. We stayed in touch, and talked every day on the phone and on Facebook. We were so excited to be able to see each other over spring break this year.
MB Patch: I understand you were going to spend some time together at Lake Havasu. Was that a trip you two typically did together? Why were you going there this time?
Kaley: Last summer, Rachel and I would go to Lake Havasu all the time with [my boyfriend's] family. We always had so much fun jet skiing, wake boarding, tubing and hanging out by the water. Lake Havasu was our favorite place to go together. It was so much fun to get away from the city and focus on having fun.
MB Patch: What are some of your best memories of things you and Rachel did together?
Kaley: Rachel and I have so many memories together. We were together almost every single day for seven years! One of my favorite memories with Rachel was when we rode our bikes all the way to soccer practice in Palos Verdes from my house in Redondo. It was so much fun. We always liked to go on hikes and crazy adventures. When we were 13, we would spend all day making soccer videos of cool tricks and moves we would make up. There are so many more memories I have with Rachel, too many to count.
MB Patch: That video tribute you did blew me away, in that it was so incredibly moving and a wonderful tribute to such a sweet girl. How long did it take you to put it together and what gave you the idea to do it?
Kaley: The video I made took me about one day to complete. Rachel and I always liked making videos together. I was going through my phone and I saw that I had so many videos of Rachel and decided to put them all together in one video so I could show people Rachel the way I saw her.
MB Patch: What school do you go to? What city do you live in? How old are you?
Kaley: I went to Redondo Union High School. I live in Redondo Beach. I am 18 years old.
MB Patch: If you could say anything to Rachel, what would it be?
Kaley: If I could say anything to Rachel, I would tell her that she was the most awesome friend I could ever ask for. I would tell her how much I appreciated having her as my best friend for so many years.
MB Patch: If you only had three words you could use to describe Rachel, what would they be?
Kaley: Pretty, Awesome, Spontaneous.
MB Patch: Did you and Rachel think you'd remain friends through the years? Was it that kind of tight relationship?
Kaley: My relationship with Rachel I believe was closer than sisters. I loved her as if she were part of my family. I told Rachel absolutely everything; Rachel knows me better than anyone in this entire world. We spent almost every day together for years. We could be doing absolutely nothing but be having so much fun.
MB Patch: Did you have any tattoos before the one done in Rachel's honor?
Kaley: I have a few small tattoos that I got before I got the one in memory of Rachel, none of them as big and as meaningful as my tattoo for Rachel.
MB Patch: Where'd you have it done and how did you create/select the design?
Kaley: I got my tattoo done at 3rd Street Tattoo in Hermosa Beach. I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, and I explained what I had in mind to the artist and he drew it up absolutely perfect for me. I wanted the tattoo to be bright, happy and pretty, just like Rachel.
MB Patch: Why did you have the tattoo done, was it painful and do you think you'll do more things in honor of Rachel? If so, like what?
Kaley: I had the tattoo done because Rachel was a big part of me; I wanted to get something that would stay on me forever. I got the tattoo done on my side because I want to keep her by my side with me for the rest of my life. For as long as I live, I will do everything I can for Rachel’s family; they are like a second family to me.
MB Patch: You mentioned doing some fundraising for Rachel's family. Why, and what is it?
Kaley: I’ve been setting up some fundraising for Rachel’s family to help them cope with the loss and pay for the expenses of the funeral service, etc. There is going to be a fundraiser at Joe’s Crab Shack in the Redondo harbor on April 23rd-26th. A portion of your check will be donated to the Rachel Kekauoha Memorial Fund.
MB Patch: Visitation for Rachel is Friday and Saturday. Will you attend visitation?
Kaley: I will most definitely be going to visitation and the funeral.
MB Patch: How is the funeral going to be for you?
Kaley: The funeral is going to be very hard for me. I never in my entire life thought I would be going to my best friend’s funeral being only 18.