This little blog has helped me reconnect with people in a way I never expected. I have one friend… I had one friend in particular that liked my ridiculous little stories and my ramblings. She would email me and tell me how they made her laugh on her best and her worst days.
Today, my friend Kelly lost her fight.
I am heartbroken and tormented by this loss. A few months ago, we all celebrated her life with her. She and I talked about my writing. I asked if I could tell her story. I asked if I could write about her. Right now, I am angry with myself for letting life and obligations get in the way of telling Kelly’s story. And this post, well this post, is selfish, too. When I have so much emotion rattling around inside, I turn to words. I write. Tonight, I am filled to the brim with grief, sadness, and loss. But I want to tell you about her. I want her to know how much she meant to me and to others. She told me a few weeks ago that she “BELIEVED” and that “I Believe” was her motto. And she swore it wasn’t that she was totally hopped up on meds. It absolutely transcended anything I could comprehend – in the midst of the fight of her life – the little nothings I write about helped her cope. I hope she knows how inspiring she was. I hope she knows how she changed me. I hope she knows that this is how I show my love. Its small and its simple and awkward – but it’s all I have to give her.
This is for Kelly.
Well, I believe that the way your laughter reached your eyes
was unlike anyone I have ever known.
I believe that Riley got the very, very best of you.
I believe you are the most courageous person I have known.
Well, Kelly, I believe that someday a pretty blond girl with blue eyes is going to fall in love with Riley’s smile. And I believe she’ll instinctively know that it’s yours.
I believe in your fight, your heart, your soul and your grace.
I believe in the Lord’s goodness and I love the Lord. But I know it’s going to take me a good long while to understand His will in this.
Well, I believe that Riley will be able to feel your arms around him everyday.
And I believe that he will always know your love.
Kel, I believe you spent your last moments on earth showing us how to give.
You fought so hard. So very hard.
Not for yourself. Not for your life.
But for Riley. For his life.
And I believe it was worth it.
You fought for every precious moment you had and
you didn’t take a single one of them for granted.
I believe you inspired me.
I believe you filled my head with thoughts of grandeur.
I believe you believed in me.
I believe you showed everyone around you how to love unconditionally.
Well, I believe that tonight you walk with angels. I know you are with the Lord and have gone on to receive the gift of eternal life. But, oh, Kelly, I believe that it has left a pretty big hole in my heart to not have you here with me.
I believe I should have worked harder to schedule our last dinner date.
Well, I believe that as hard as I try, this will never do justice to how beautiful your soul was.
I believe that 5 years with Riley isn’t nearly enough.
I believe I squandered so many years away with you. I wish I had been a better friend to you.
I wish I’d known all those years ago when I met you how precious time is
and how I should have invested more of it in you.
I believe you have changed me.
I believe you have changed others.
I believe that I am better for having known and loved you.
Thank you for the gift of your friendship. Thank you for showing me the power of a mother’s love. You leave behind a pitiful group of people bonded together in their shared affection for you. You leave behind a group of people who will share your stories everyday with Riley. They will teach him to love with the same purity that you did.
But most of all, Kelly, you leave Riley. You created life beyond your own. You have in a few short years shown him real, honest, pure and unconditional love. He doesn’t just know you love him – he feels the love in his soul. The man that he will be become is because of you. You fought harder than anyone I know to show him that love. To give him love that will have to last a lifetime. He is your living gift to the world. And he is beautiful, just like you.
I don’t grieve for you, Kelly. I know you are with our Lord. I know that you have found the peace of eternal life. I mourn for those of us you leave behind. I mourn that I won’t see your smile or hear your laugh. I mourn that you can’t comment on my stories and tell me if you love them or hate them. I mourn that Riley might some day forget the sound of your voice. But I find comfort in knowing that he’ll never forget the feel of your love. I find comfort that I’ll see your smile or feel your laugh someday in an unexpected place. I find comfort in the legacy of love you leave with us.
We are all better for having known you. Rest in peace, sweet friend.