10 December 2008

farewell to my sister, the turtlegirl

kirsten touched the lives of so many people. through her teaching, her writing, and her life, she made friends worldwide. by posting here, i hope to get the word out to as many of you as possible in a timely manner. as the drama of her death unfolds, and the arrangements are made, i will keep this page up to date. please be patient. i know there are loads of questions, and i'll try to address as many as i can.

first, the facts:
kirsten dahlen was found dead in our mother's home in delaware on the afternoon of tuesday, december 9. she had been in the area about 2 weeks, originally coming to attend my nephew, sebastian's, baptism. she had been in her usual spirits and health during most of this visit, not complaining of any disease apart from insomnia in her last 2 nights. she spent the last day of her life asleep, which we all assumed was the rest she needed. when i came to wake her, she had passed away. the cause of her death remains somewhat unclear, but is apparent that she died in her sleep, and i believe in peace. there is a general agreement that her history of eating disorders may have caused a weakening, and eventual failure in her heart. what actually triggered her death is still a mystery right now, and perhaps will stay so. time may reveal more, but this won't change the reality of her passing.

the target date for funeral services is saturday, december 13. the location will be saint catherine of siena church in wilmington, delaware.

kirsten carried such a bright torch in her environmental conservation work. she worked tirelessly to protect animals and habitats threatened by change. for this, she was my hero. to anyone interested in honoring her memory, i suggest supporting local environmental efforts, teaching a child about the treasures of nature, or simply going outdoors and celebrating the moment in whatever way you see fit. be the change. i hope to have something more complete to post, including ways to donate and contribute in her memory, in the coming week as the dust settles.

again, please be patient. i'll post details as they arrive.
our family is doing as well as we can given the situation, and we are humbled and grateful for the love and caring we've received already from those who knew kirsten.

so many emotions move during such a time... so many questions. in the end i find solace in the fact that kirsten is now resting in peace.



Eri Hariono said...

Please accept my condolence to Kirsten's family, it's great to know her & her dedication although I never met her in person. I thought that we're going to meet in Indonesia, since she had mentioned about Borneo and wish to visit someday related to her work. I'm truly sad to lost such a beautiful soul and great spirit.

Odd said...

Rest in Peace, Turtlegirl...

Barrier Island Girl said...


Thank you so much for trying to help us, her friends, gain some closer on this horrible loss when you and your family must be in shock.

Kirsten was a very special person. She patiently answered questions and encouraged us all to be aware of our actions on the environment. She shared her passion for marine life and I hope we will continue her legacy.

Our hearts are broken.

DJ Zemenick

The Smith Family from Texas said...

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
We never met Kirsten face to face but had the honor of visiting with her a few times over the phone and via email and her wonderful blogs.
Through her my 4 children learned to look at sea life in a different way and we will always treasure the pictures she shared with us!
We will forever call her friend!!!
She will be missed!

Victor said...

Please accept our deepest condolences to Kirsten's family. Kirsten spent only a short time in our organization as part of her diverse activities but she did leave such a positive impression.

I'm stunned and saddened by the news and simply thankful that I was able to know her. Our thoughts are with her family.

Victor & Team AICPA

Jeremy K. said...

I was shocked to get this email in my inbox today. Kirsten had a large impact on my life, even in the short few days that I worked with her in the field as a volunteer. She had so much good to say about the environment, turtles, and wildlife; and a passion that matched her words.

May she remain in our hearts, go forth and rest in peace.
-Jeremy K.

Kelly said...

I am so sorry! My DEEPEST condolences to the family. I am so, so sorry for such a loss.

Twinpreemiemom said...

My thoughts and prayers are with your family. I never met Kirsten but she touched my life by reading her words and absorbing her teachings. I will miss checking in on her along her journey. She is now however on the ultimate journey. I am certain we will see her again one day and I am sure she will be eager to teach us all she has learned prior to our arrival.

God Bless your family

Twinpreemiemom said...

My thoughts and prayers are with your family. I never met Kirsten but she touched my life by reading her words and absorbing her teachings. I will miss checking in on her along her journey. She is now however on the ultimate journey. I am certain we will see her again one day and I am sure she will be eager to teach us all she has learned prior to our arrival.

God Bless your family

kdub said...

My dad called me tonight to tell me... you are probably too young to remember but our families are friends and I kind of grew up with Kirsten and your elder sibs, you were just a baby at the time. I'm happy that I recently got in touch with Kirsten again through Facebook, it was so great to catch up on all the years. A brief moment to remember the fun times before she was taken. Seems terribly unfair since she was doing so much good, and how many times did she put herself into danger, coming in before or after a storm to make sure the turtles were doing okay? Craziness. Seems like someone should have been watching out for her in the same way.
-Kris Fasig Wolff

Heather B. said...


First, my heart goes out to you and to your entire family. My most sincere condolences.
I was in grade school with Meghan and often spent time at your home in Delaware. I remember Kirsten well. Thank you for finding the strength and courage to share information with us.
I have no doubt that Kirsten is at peace and surrounded by baby sea turtles. She did wonderful work from everything that I read and I always knew her as a kind, gentle soul who wanted the world to be a better place. It is better because she was in it.
Love and Prayers,
Heather B.

Seadog said...

I don't know how to start this, I am not very good at these things, but I feel compelled to let you know how your daughter, sister, aunt, Turtlegirl touched my life and that of a small group of people on Pensacola Beach.

I was one of the lucky people to have met Kirsten. She took time off from her day off to spend time with our group the Pensacola Beach Preservation and Historical Society at the "Spaceship House" to present her efforts on Pensacola Beach to help the turtles.

It was a beautiful June day on the beach, our small group came from Minnesota, Indiana, Mississippi, Alabama, to see how we could help her cause to protect the turtles on Pensacola Beach.

It was easy to see how much she loved the turtles and cared deeply about protecting them.

I was so impressed with someone who was doing what they loved and living the life that many of
us only dreamed about living. After her presentation our group was and is committed to
do what we can to protect the turtles on Pensacola Beach and Santa Rosa Island.

I was so inspired by her that I purchased her book Wrong Way Peach Fuzz: A Turtle Tale and
what a great book for young and old alike to teach that you can do it and as she has on her
blog "Gather courage and go for it".

Later this summer she joined our forum and was always available to answer our questions about turtles on Pensacola Beach and how we could help. She would post to fill us in on the current turtle nests on Santa Rosa island.

I know many of us eagerly awaited her photos and posting on her blog. when her contact was
over with the park service it was not a problem to gather a great many people to email the park service
to keep such a dedicated person to protect the turtles.

So very sorry for your loss, she will be missed and the turtles have loss a great protector !!

Mark (Seadog)

Anonymous said...

Kir was my friend for the past 12 years. We never met and yet she was so important to me. I can't believe I will no longer get an email from her or hear her voice.

I had the privilege to share with Kir many of our good and not so good moments, see her transform into a stronger and deeper person, yet sweet as always.

My dear friend, I wish I knew what to do without you being always there, every step of the way. It was a honor to be a passenger with you in the ship of life and to be your friend, someone you touched with your wisdom, kindness and love. Your beautiful writings, photographs and this web site, are just the tip of the iceberg of the beautiful person you were.

Please keep taking care of us all, now that you are more powerful than you ever were. I hope somewhere, sometime we will meet again and then I will finally hug my beautiful friend.


Jorge Viveros

Sue Murch said...

Mary, Peter, Megh, Sean and Family,
My mind has been spinning since my Mom told me the devastating news about Kirsten. So many memories of our families come to mind, it is hard to know where to begin. May it help in some way to know that friends are sharing the sorrow in your heart.
On behalf of the entire Murch Family, Sue Murch

hipparchia said...

my heartfelt condolences to kirsten's family.

her photos of my favorite spot on earth brought me great joy.

TNubian said...

My sincerest condelences to the Dahlen family.

Kirsten's passing has not been easy for any us. Anyone who knew Kirsten knew what it was like to be in the presence of an angel, a truly beautiful and caring person. I will miss her inspiration and love. Kirsten taught me to see the good in everything and everyone. To live life on purpose and not to be afraid to dream.

Kirsten and I often joked about saving the world and she lived everyday of her life doing just that...one turtle at a time.

Kirsten was the kindest person I ever knew. Though soft-spoken she was never afraid to speak up or fight for what she believed in. I will miss her gentle spirit and encourgement most of all!!

GOD, thank you for bringing Kirsten into my life. Knowing her has been a BLESSING :-)

Good-bye Kirsten. I love you and will NEVER forget you. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you.

Teresa Valentine

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Dahlen and Sean, I am so very sorry for your loss. Kirsten seems like such a wonderful human being. May she rest at peace now.. may she be with God and rest...


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