Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Kelly-Anne Drummond was born twenty-eight years ago today, on November 28, 1979. This should have been her lucky birthday—but we are not, unfortunately, so lucky. We are not lucky because she is not with us; we can not celebrate with her today. This is the fourth November 28 that has been completely hollow.

Although I can't celebrate with Kelly-Anne today, I still choose to celebrate her. This morning I set my i-pod to play some of her favourite songs: Sleepy Maggie, by Ashley MacIssac; When I'm Up, by Great Big Sea; Summer of '69, by Bryan Adams; and Stacey's Mom, by Fountains of Wayne; and Hasn't Hit Me Yet, by Blue Rodeo. None of this brings her back, but it does make me remember the good times we shared over the years.

I miss you so much, Kelly-Anne. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Tragedy

My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Jayne McGowan, another lovely young woman whose life was tragically cut short in its prime this week. I remember vividly the feelings after Kelly-Anne died: immense sadness, shock, anger, lonliness, confusion, and guilt. I will be praying for the McGowan family and all those who knew and loved Jayne.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Profile of Kim Drummond in the Gazette

"It's what we do next that really matters"
By Huntley Addie
Montreal Gazette, November 1, 2007

Losing your son, daughter, sister or best friend in a hideously unjust sudden theft of life has got to be one of the most difficult things human beings face.

So what do we say to this person, our friend or ex-student or co-worker, who has experienced this horrific loss? We say we're sorry - for that is all we have. And, according to Kim Drummond, sister of Kelly-Anne Drummond, who was killed three years ago by her raging boyfriend, "You only need to say it once." We shouldn't treat the person like china; nor should we ignore them; nor treat them like they have some contagion. "For," as Kim continued, "life goes on, and we need to move with it. Who wants pity, really?" Kim asked me to tell her story, and with a smile and a shrug, she wanted: "Maybe to give some advice on what to say to the sister of the murdered chick." We laugh at the use of the word "chick." She's laughing and that's good.

Some might wonder how Kim manages to smile at all. Shouldn't she still be sobbing, depressed - locked up? "Been there, done that," is Kim's reply, and we're smiling again.

When I began at John Rennie, I was a resource teacher working with students with various different needs. I spent a lot of quality time with this caring, intelligent and yet thoroughly disenchanted young lady. High school was a struggle as grammar and math, in particular, thwarted good grades.

Yet this was not a person to wallow in the negative energy that seemed to surround her high school experiences; for she had her sister solidly in her corner, always sweeping that energy away.

After squash matches, Kim, exhausted, would often turn to Kelly Anne, pinching a semi-inch on her thigh or wherever, and say: "I'm sweating like a savage, and yet I'm still not losing weight." To which Kelly Anne would reply: "Don't go into sports to lose weight, Kim. Do it to get better at the sport!" And the words stuck.

Kim Drummond is one of the most dedicatedly selfless people I have met.

Immediately after the traumas of high school, Kim went to Dawson College, then moved to Ontario, ending up at Carleton University in women's studies. It was a tough haul for a student who had always struggled in school but, as she persevered, it soon became the best time.
And through it all, Kelly Anne was there. Kelly Anne, Kim's best friend and mentor, pushed education and athletics above all things. She read and edited Kim's papers, and rallied behind her sister if she faltered.

In October of Kim's final year of university, Kelly Anne was ripped away. After studying thousands of statistics on violent crimes against women, Kim now had her sister as an addition to the stats.

Screaming with pain inside, Kim pressed on and returned to school two weeks after her sister's murder.

"Losing Kelly Anne, losing a sibling, is the most horrible thing. It is. There is no question," Kim told me. "But what I think is most important for people to hear is that my life can still be filled with good things.

"And for the past three years I haven't locked myself in my room. I have graduated from university, worked with the MS Society, volunteered like a madwoman and continued our family tradition of always doing Christmas baskets on our own.

"I have travelled to five countries. I have continued to work at camps for the 'disadvantaged' as I have every summer for the past nine years. It didn't all stop three years ago.

"This past summer, in fact, was my proudest achievement, at Camp Moomba in Port Moody, near Vancouver. This is the only camp in Canada for kids living with, or affected by, HIV/Aids. These kids inspired me to continue pursuing nursing.

"They reminded me how we all need to continue beyond just ourselves."

Huntley Addie is an English and journalism teacher at John Rennie High School.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Three years.

Three years ago today I lost my best friend. In some ways it seems like yesterday. Her life was taken from her in an instant. In an act of rage and anger she was snuffed out. She fought hard—Kelly-Anne Drummond didn’t want to die. She had great plans for her life: travel, a career in radio or television production, a husband and kids one day, the ability to experience life’s simple pleasures, and eventually growing old, surrounded by her family and friends. But because of the actions of one person, she won’t ever get to accomplish any of those things.

Every day I struggle to figure out how to properly honor Kelly-Anne’s memory. I miss her so much, and I wish more than anything we could have the chance to talk one more time. If I could speak to her again, I’d tell her that I love her and thank her for being such a great friend to me for almost twenty years. I would tell her that nothing has really been the same since she died: I can’t swing by her house to say hi, or pick up the phone for a long chat, or open my e-mail and find a description of her latest adventures. Above all, I’d tell her I was sorry. Sorry that this happened, and sorry I couldn’t do more to help her see that the boy she was dating wasn’t right for her, and was in fact, downright dangerous.

I hope you will all remember Kelly-Anne this week. Do something to honor her memory in some way. And please, above all, try to help your loved ones who might be caught in a bad relationship. Things can go tragically wrong in an instant. Kelly-Anne certainly never thought she would wind up dead. Although Kell is gone, her legacy will live on forever through those who knew and loved her.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Kelly-Anne Drummond

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Beyond keeping the memory of my dear friend alive, one of the things that I hope this blog will do in the future is help other people who may be facing similar situations. I will never forget how I felt when Kell was murdered. The sadness, anger, disbelief, and pain were overwhelming. I vividly remember constantly feeling lost and hopeless—blaming myself, blaming others around me, even blaming Kelly-Anne herself. These emotions were always there, but it was only when life began to return to normal, and when I began discovering that my normal was forever altered, that they became completely overwhelming.

I can remember wondering how I would ever go on without Kell? How could I possibly be expected to live a normal life again when something so tragic happened? I can remember hours spent in front of my computer desperately hoping that I might find a resource to help me. I knew there were grief counselors and therapists, but they weren’t going to change what happened—no one could bring Kell back. What I was really searching for was a person going through the same thing I was. I think I probably googled thousands of things ranging from “coping with murder” to “how do you deal with the loss of your best friend” and couldn’t find anything that I was really looking for.

I hope this website might be that resource for others. I hope that through my writings I will show that though Kelly-Anne is something that can never be replaced, the pain of the loss will eventually subside somewhat. At first, the grief is so completely overwhelming you can’t begin to understand how your life will ever go on. I vividly remember, maybe a few weeks after Kell was killed, my dad telling me that one day my pain won’t be as raw as it is now. Though he was absolutely right, it actually made me feel worse. If I accepted that the pain wouldn’t always be this bad it might actually mean I was accepting that she really was never coming back. And that, of course, was something I couldn’t really accept.

I could never really find what I was searching for. I wanted someone to tell me what it was like coping with murder. I understood losing people because of illness and tragic accidents, but murder was a completely different ball game. How could someone have decided to take her life? Why should she have suffered such a horrendous fate? Did she know exactly how much she was loved even though none of us got to say goodbye? How could I have spent time with someone who was capable of killing another human being?

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t have answers to most of these questions, but I have learned to deal with them day by day.