Saturday, November 28, 2009


For exactly one month a year, Kelly-Anne, Kimmy, and I were all the same age. Kell and Kim were only eleven months apart, and I celebrated my birthday a little less than a month after Kell. We always thought this little coincidence was funny. Today marked the end of our month of being 29. Today is Kelly-Anne's 30th birthday.

Birthdays are really hard now. On my own birthday I find myself amazed that I am yet another year older and Kelly-Anne is frozen forever at 24. So much has happened in the past five years, and all of it has been without my dear best friend.

I think a lot about what Kelly-Anne's life would be like today if she had lived. What would she be doing for a career? What sport would be her latest obsession? Would she be married? Kids? Would she live in Canada? Or would she have moved someplace else? How would these past five years have changed her?

It does no good to dwell on this, of course. But as my own life passes me by, I can't help reflecting on the lives of those I must live without. Because I can't give Kell a birthday present or a big hug and kiss today, I will instead offer a list of thirty things about her that epitomize the Kelly-Anne I love and miss.

1) Her smile that would light up any room
2) She was ALWAYS up for an adventure
3) Kell knew everyone on the West Island
4) She loved to laugh--often times at herself
5) The. Best. Ringlets. Ever.
6) Was a serious Martha wannabee
7) Had no sense of her limitations--this led her to try tons of things that others never would have
8) Always carried rubber gloves and a face mask. Just in case her emergency services were ever required by someone needing assistance
9) Always sent me a postcard from wherever her travels took her
10) Loved her stuffed animals, Dwayne and Marmaduke
11) Rode her bike everywhere. Rain or shine, and sometimes snow.
12) Took the time to really connect with the kids who she taught--what other daycare educators would rock out to summer of '69 with the kids
13) Used to coax me into driving through the park because my dad did it once when we were 13 and we never laughed harder
14) Gave me my first beer at age 13 in her parents backyard--then scared the living daylights out of me by telling me to sleep on my side in case I vomitted.
15) Would get out her best crafting supplies to write me a letter when I moved to grad school
16) Wrote a special message to my kids in all of my high school yearbooks
17) When she was really stressed she would become totally forgetful. Milk might be left on the counter all day etc.
18) Was so athletic and sporty. Synchro, waterpolo, rugby, competitive lifeguarding and sporty.
19) Always looked out for me in whatever way she could. Was I studying? Was my room clean? Was I wearing my seatbelt?
20) Was tough as nails--tougher than I'd ever be. This girl could rough herself up on the rugby pitch and be perfect a few hours later.
21) Kelly-Anne was always in motion--couldn't stand to be still. Didn't like being indoors much better. Sometimes I find it funny that she even made the time to sleep.
22) One time Kim and I decided to play a prank on Kell. We made up a fake email address and sent her emails from "Crystal Clydes" who supposedly lived near the Drummonds in Dollard. We then waited for Kell to tell us about her long lost friend, which of course she did almost instantaneously. She tried to convince us to go over to Blue Haven and knock on Crystal's door she was so excited. It was at that point we figured we'd better tell her we had invented this poor girl...
23) I was SOOOOOOOOO proud of Kell when she won an award in high school. The girl worked hard and it was great of John Rennie to acknowledge her.
24) A few weeks before she died Kelly-Anne had me editing resumes and cover letters for jobs in television and radio production. She did not give up on that dream, no matter how hard it was to realize.
25) Kell worked hard every year to make Christmas ornaments for those she loved. They were cute and made a great addition to the tree.
26) When Kell as in university at Concordia, she would take random classes in other fields just to learn something new: geology, geography, etc. She was really intellectually curious.
27) Kell-Anne did a project in school where she interviewed our old neighbors from Pierrefonds to get a sense of the history of the street we grew up on. I'm sure these old ladies loved a visit from her!
28) She had a real OBSESSION with cats. Her little cats Katnip and Trixie so sweet and she was equally enamored with Rugger, Toffee, and Pudding.
29) For Kell's birthday in grade five we got to make a music video and then have dinner at Red Lobster. It was great. Our music video was set to Venus by Bannanarama.
30) She was a faithful, true, and wonderful friend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Nine years ago this month I hosted a very special party. A surprise birthday party for Kelly-Anne.

She was celebrating her 21st birthday and I decided it was an extra special occasion. Unbeknownst to her I got the emails and phone numbers of all her closest friends and invited them to come celebrate. Everyone was very eager--they loved Kell as much as I did.

We got together that night at Boccacinos, where Kell thought Jeff was taking her for a romantic dinner. Instead she came in to a huge table of friends shouting surprise! We had balloons, drinks, dinner, and a great cake. It was awesome.

Kelly-Anne was truly floored and the look on her face is one I'll never forget. Below is a photo from that special night.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Appeal, Rejected

Killer's appeal rejected
Court makes decision in minutes; Girlfriend slain by steak knife that flew through air by accident, murderer claims
Thursday, October 8, 2009

Three judges took just 15 minutes yesterday to toss out an appeal by Martin Morin-Cousineau, convicted in April 2006 of murder after he claimed his steak knife flew through the air and accidentally lodged in his girlfriend's neck.

"No one would ever believe a knife could hit with such force," said Nicole Duval Hessler, one of three Quebec Court of Appeal judges hearing the case.

"It's not even a heavy knife. The blade snapped off and stayed inside her neck and the handle was found on the kitchen counter."

In a rare move, the court rendered its decision almost immediately after hearing arguments by the defence and the Crown.

Morin-Cousineau, 35, was found guilty of second-degree murder. He must serve 13 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

His lawyer, Clemente Monterosso, argued yesterday the judge at the Superior Court trial should have given the jury the option of finding Morin-Cousineau guilty of manslaughter, meaning he didn't intend to kill Kelly-Anne Drummond in their Pierrefonds apartment in 2004.

The judge also shouldn't have allowed testimony from two witnesses because it was hearsay, Monterosso said.

The appeals court rejected both arguments.

Morin-Cousineau claimed that while he and Drummond, 24, were arguing, he threw his hands up in frustration, sending the steak knife with which he'd been eating through the air, stabbing her in the back of the neck. The defence theorized that Drummond tripped on a soft-drink bottle and fell back against the stove, which pushed the knife farther into base of her skull, snapping off the blade.

Yesterday, crown prosecutor Michel Pennou pointed out that Morin-Cousineau never said at his trial that he threw the knife. He simply said he threw his hands in the air, noticed the fork had landed next to him on the couch, but didn't know what happened to the knife.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Five Years

Five years have passed by in the blink of an eye. My life was forever changed five years ago. I've never quite been the same.

A phone ringing unexpectedly early in the morning--as it did when my parents called that Monday morning to tell me Kelly-Anne had been attacked--can still bring me to my knees. The approach of the crisp fall weather reminds me of what I've lost. The sight of someone with beautiful ringlets and a wide smile can still bring tears to my eyes.

Some of my memories of Kelly-Anne have faded. But some are as clear as if they happened an hour ago. I haven't found anyone or anything to fill the void that Kelly-Anne left in my life. But I have not allowed this to break me, either.

I try to honor Kell's memory and legacy in big and small ways: the photo of her with a Canadian flag on her cheek that hangs above my desk; smiling and dancing at a Great Big Sea concert; endless roadtrip adventures; this blog; a Martha Stewart crafting project.

As we approach yet another unhappy anniversary, I hope you will honor Kell's memory in your own life. Reach out to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Encourage a small child or teenager who is searching for his or her path. Attempt a crafting project just for the heck of it. Stop, literally, and smell the roses. You never know how much time you have left.

Funny Memories--Post Five

This one comes from a comment that was left in Kelly-Anne's online obituary by the mother of one of her students at L'Academie Marie Claire:

"Kelly-Anne was a remarkable person with many facets to her life. I knew her not as an athlete or a team-mate but as a teacher to my young son, Zachary. She encouraged Zachary to express his uniqueness, to laugh loudly, to play boisterously and, most of all, to just have fun. She was a breath of fresh air, and her tragic death has left a hole in my family's hearts. What other educator would play air guitar with Zachary and actually know the words to "Summer of '69" to sing along with him? We were lucky to have had her in our lives -- and are blessed because of it. Doreen and John, you raised a wonderful daughter. I think of you and Kimberley often and hope peace finds you. And I will never forget Kelly-Anne. "

Article from the Hudson Gazette

A mother's journey
By Suzana Vukic
Hudson Gazette

It happened five years ago but for Doreen Haddad-Drummond, it feels like yesterday. On October 3, 2004, just before midnight, she got a phone call from her ex-husband John Drummond. Their daughter Kelly-Anne had been attacked and was at the Montreal General Hospital. Doreen was half-asleep when she took the call. It all seemed like a dream.

Once at the Montreal General Hospital's trauma unit, in the midst of chaos, she saw Kelly-Anne hooked up to life-support machines. A brain scan revealed a knifeblade still embedded in Kelly-Anne's head. Her brain stem had been severed from her spinal cord. No medical solution existed to fix this. The stabbing left Kelly-Anne brain-dead and paralyzed, unable to breathe without life support.

Doreen wanted to hold on to hope but realized that was impossible. On October 5, 2004, at 3:30 p.m., the family decided to turn off Kelly-Anne's life support.

Martin Morin-Cousineau, Kelly-Anne's boyfriend, stabbed her behind the neck with a steak knife, approaching from behind, in the apartment they shared in Pierrefonds. It emerged that Morin-Cousineau had a history of violence towards women and that Kelly-Anne had been considering leaving him. He pleaded not guilty and claimed the fatal blow was an accident.

At his 2006 trial, a jury found Morin-Cousineau guilty of second-degree murder, a charge which automatically carries a life sentence. He must serve a minimum of 13 years in prison before being considered for parole. He remains unrepentant to this day.

It's hard to fathom a mother coping and going on with the knowledge that her precious daughter, at 24, lost her life at the hands of someone she knew and loved. Yet go on she must, and Doreen has found the courage to do so with great dignity and purpose. Since Kelly-Anne's death, Doreen has been involved with and given support to families of homicide victims. These days, her efforts are focused on speaking at conferences and getting her message out to women who are victims of abuse and violence, urging them to leave their abusers before it's too late. "We've lost too many women in Quebec", says Doreen.

Kelly-Anne left behind her parents and sister Kim, exactly 11 months younger than her and someone for whom Kelly-Anne was a great friend and mentor. Kelly-Anne also had many friends who mourn her to this day. She was a popular young woman, an accomplished athlete and team player. She played rugby and water polo, among other sports, and was a lifeguard. She had gone to Italy weeks before her death to compete at an international lifeguarding competition in Viareggio. Kelly-Anne had graduated with a communications degree from Concordia University in 2002. She worked as an educator in a daycare with small children.

On October 5, the family will commemorate the fifth anniversary of Kelly-Anne's death in a small, private remembrance ceremony.

On September 29, a fundraising women's rugby event was held, as it has been every year at around the same time since Kelly-Anne's death. The Kelly-Anne Drummond Memorial Cup is played between the Concordia and McGill women's rugby teams in her honour (Kelly-Anne played for the Concordia Stingers). This year the money raised will go to Women Aware, an organization that provides support to women facing conjugal violence. Each year in March since her death, the Montreal Barbarians Rugby Club (for whom Kelly-Anne also played) hosts a fundraiser at McKibbin's Irish Pub, West Island, "celebrating the spirit of Kelly-Anne".

On November 28, as in every year since her death, the Quebec Lifesaving Society will hold a cocktail fundraiser for the Kelly-Anne Drummond Foundation to commemorate her birthday at the D.D.O. Aquatic Centre. This is the year she would have turned 30.
All of these events are hosted by Kelly-Anne's friends, peers and fellow athletes, something Doreen finds deeply touching.

Especially heartwarming is a blog created by Kelly-Anne's good friend, Rachel Ayerst, in remembrance of Kelly-Anne ( Doreen has also created her own blog in remembrance of her late daughter ( In reading it, one can see that Kelly-Anne's spirit is still strongly felt by Doreen as she lives out each day without her. Doreen looks to Kelly-Anne for an example of how best to live life. She sees her daughter as her guide and mentor. Kelly-Anne loved life and people. She had a great sense of adventure, always smiled and laughed, and was forever keen on learning and being involved.

"It's a life sentence that we're living," Doreen says. "Every day that we're alive and that Kelly-Anne isn't here with us is a life sentence."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Funny Memories--Post Four

Today's funny memory about Kelly-Anne comes from her mother, Doreen, who keeps a wonderful blog over here. Here's an excerpt from Doreen's story. Read the full version here. If you want to read earlier posts in this series, click here, here, or here.

Kelly-Anne really like Ashley McIssac...a singer from the east coast. Kell had a thing for Celtic music. One day, later in the evening, Kell had come home from Waterpolo practice. She had been to school that day, and decided sometime in the morning to leave school to go downtown to find McIssac. He was in town doing a show and Kelly-Anne decided that she would like to have a one on one with him. I was shocked that she just left school without notifying us or her teacher. I said Kell..".how did you do that?" She responded..."Mom, I opened the front door of the school and put one foot in front of the other and left." She rode the bus downtown, walked Ste. Catherine street and low and behold found McIssac walking out of a resto. She spend her quality time with him alone chatting on the street, then made her way back towards home to go to her waterpolo practice...

That sums up Kelly-Anne in a nutshell. She dreamed big and believed things were possible that no one else would every try and attempt. And sometimes, as evidenced by the story above, she succeded!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Funny Memories--Post Three

Read earlier posts here and here...

Kell used to be obsessed with finding out what our former friends and classmates from elementary and high school were up to. This was actually hard in the pre-facebook era! In particular, she loved discovering that someone was "following their dreams." I can remember her being so happy when she found out that someone who wanted to be a pilot in elementary school had actually followed through. She also like to point out that she too was following her dreams to have a career in communications. Here's a pic of Kelly-Anne at our grade six graduation... when her lifelong dream was to become a television newscaster!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Funny Memories--Post Two

Here's the latest in the series of funny Kelly-Anne stories... Click here to read the first post from yesterday.

Kelly-Anne was a lifeguard at Fairview Pool for many years. She really loved guarding--it was the perfect way to combine her passion for athletics with her passion for helping people. Each year at Fairview, the staff would get together for a group photo. Kell loved these opportunities, and would always try and top the creativity of last year's photo. In the summer of 2000, she had the brilliant idea of getting the staff to hop aboard a Montreal city bus to take the photo. Here are the awesome results.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Accidentally on Purpose?!

There are so few "trivial" posts on this blog, that I can't pass up the opportunity to mention that Nic Wright, a dear high school friend mine and Kelly-Anne's, will be starring on the new CBS show, Accidentally on Purpose. The premiere is tonight on CBS. Nic is a very talented actor and I am sure that he is going to be awesome!

Nic actually created the tribute video to Kelly-Anne that was played at her funeral and visitation. He owned a production company at the time and generously volunteered his time to stay up with me late into the night creating the beautiful testament to a life well lived. (Note to self: find a way to get that video on YouTube!)

Anyhow, tune in to the show if you can. I am sure it will be great! I'll leave you with a fun photo of Nic, Kell, and Scott goofing around in Ottawa for Canada Day.

The Kelly-Anne Cup

The annual Concordia-McGill Women's rugby game played in Kell's honor will be hosted by Concordia University on Tuesday, September 29 at 8 pm at the Loyola Campus field on Sherbrooke Street West.

This is a great event and one that Kelly-Anne really would have appreciated. She loved the chance to play a good rugby game and especially loved to try and beat McGill!

The cost to attend this event is $5 and funds raised will benefit WOMEN AWARE, a non-profit that has been helping women who are victims of domestic abuse for over 13 years. Kelly-Anne's mother, Doreen, works with WOMEN AWARE on some of their initiatives.

Funny Memories--Post One

I always find myself down in the dumps at this time of year. I think about Kelly-Anne and her tragic death and how much I miss her. Each year, as we head in to the fall, I am reminded that another year has passed without sweet, fun Kell in my life. And as I celebrate my birthday year after year, I am reminded that Kelly-Anne wasn't around to celebrate her own birthday...

To combat this negativity, I've decided to post a series of funny memories about Kelly-Anne over the next month or two. Check back often for a new story, and if you have any ideas or memories abotu Kell, please feel free to send them my way...

Kell was an entreprenurial soul. She used to generate lots of ideas for projects, crafts, business opportunities, you name it. Whenever she would come a up with a new idea and found herself discussing it with a close friend or family member in a public place she would try and protect her intellectual property by making a loud declaration: "that idea has been trademarked by Kelly-Anne Drummond."

If some nefarious character riding on the bus (or wherever Kell was discussing this) had been planning to steal her idea, surely they would be disuaded by this!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You never know...

Have you been following the news about Annie Le, the brilliant doctoral student from Yale who was found murdered and stuffed into a wall of the campus lab she worked in? It is a tragic story and a very, very sad end to another promising young woman's life.

After a lengthy investigation, police in New Haven have arrested Raymond Clark, a lab tech who worked with Annie, and charged him with murder. This is not a case of domestic abuse--in the end, there's probably nothing that could have saved Annie. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But, according to this article there were plenty of warning signs about Mr. Clark's behavior that should have been red flags for his friends and family.

Mr. Clark's past girlfriend "claimed she had been forced to have sex with him and feared what Clark might do if she broke up with him." A neighbor of his is quoted as saying that Clark was "very controlling of his girlfriend. He wouldn't let her talk to me, or anything."

Do you know someone like this? Are you ever afraid of your significant other? Do you ever just get a "bad feeling" about someone close to you?

If I have learned one thing from Kelly-Anne's death it is this: trust your instincts. If you are worried about someone's character, go to the police station and find out if he or she has a record. If you know someone is abusive and dangerous, take action before it is too late.

Of course it could be different this time. But maybe it won't be. Maybe it will even be worse. You really never know. I can assure you that my strong, confident, and life-loving best friend ignored some serious warning signs. Why did she ignore them? Because she thought things were different and she thought she could handle it. In a million years, Kelly-Anne never thought she would wind up dead.

Obviously, that was not the case. But had she recognized the signs of escalating abuse and gotten out while she still could maybe Kelly-Anne would still be alive today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

When do you stop feeling pain?

The five year anniversary of my last visit with Kelly-Anne is fast approaching. Sometimes the pain of her death is as raw as it was in the weeks and months that followed her murder.

In the summer of 2004, I had just moved to Washington and Kelly-Anne had just moved into the apartment with Marty. When I went home in early August to move my stuff down to DC I visited with Kell several times. She was SO excited about her new apartment and new appliances. I remember being surprised to see that Kell had a new fridge and stove and washer and dryer. Kelly-Anne was unbelievably careful with her money and this must been one of the biggest purchases she ever made. I was stunned, however, when I saw she had also purchased an expensive looking stereo. When I commented to her that it was out of character, she said Marty had wanted it. I was surprised, but said nothing more.

She had picked out all sorts of paint colours for her walls. In true Kelly-Anne fashion, they were bright and colorful. And there had to be at least six different colors throughout the apartment. (I sometimes wonder if the kitchen of the apartment is still bright yellow?)

We had fun together during that week that I was home. We laughed and talked and acted silly as we always did when we were together. We were both excited for the future: Kelly-Anne was heading to Italy in a month for the lifeguarding comeptition, and I was heading back to DC to begin a new job.

I had no way of knowing then that I'd never see Kell alive again. I wish I had spent more time with her, told her what a good friend she really was. I don't have any siblings and Kelly-Anne was the closest thing to a sister I'd ever have.

We didn't always see eye to eye and we didn't always have the same outlook on life. But we loved each other deeply and saw each other though thick and thin for nearly twenty years.

I doubt I'll ever have another friend like Kelly-Anne...