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.