Until just recently, Kara LaVoy didn't know if she'd ever be the person she was four years ago.
I can finally talk about Kristen and not cry. She was like my identity in a way and I was hers, so you don't just have the pain of her being gone, you have no idea who you even are, said LaVoy.
Kristen was more than just LaVoy's sister"she was her twin, her other half. So when she died from autoimmune kidney disease at age 36, LaVoy's life was shattered.
"I actually went away for a couple weeks and really tried to handle it and feel like a whole person," said LaVoy.
It took so long to heal because of the twin connection the two shared. Shortly after her death, LaVoy said her sister gave her one last gift: identical twin daughters.
"I think the twins [Rayn Kristen and Sage Kristen] are a gift from her. When I see these two girls together and they look at each other and say 'You're my best friend,' it's beautiful," said LaVoy. "They even have a twin language."
Just like the now 3 1/2-year-old twins were Kristen's last gift after death, their older brother Sky, now 6, was her last gift before death.
"She waited for my son to be born and got on an airplane and came to Florida to hold him for about a week; she died four weeks later," said LaVoy, who said she believes her sister wanted at least one of her nieces/nephews to meet their aunt.
Kristen's strength and compassion was evident by more than just her family, it also touched her best friend Tonya Pellegrini Lawrence.
"I grew up with Kristen, we knew each other since we were 12 years old," said Lawrence.
When Kristen became sick at 18 and was lucky enough to receive a kidney transplant that same year, Lawrence was by her side every step of the way.