I've experienced the full range of human emotion from others since Kelly-Anne died. I've seen it all--the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Here are some of the kindest, sweetest, most loving gestures I've experienced since Kell died.
--When I returned to work (a job I had held for only 2 months) after Kelly-Anne died, my boss at the time had a lovely vase of flowers with a short note waiting for me. She was an incredibly reserved, understated woman. But she made sure I knew she was thinking of me and that she was deeply touched by this experience.
--There were a couple of friends of mine who--despite being at far distance--made it clear that they wanted to support me and that they would do anything that was necessary. I can vividly remember one friend, in particular, who would listen for HOURS at a time to me talk on the phone about Kelly-Anne as I tried to work through my grief.
--My parents--who knew Kelly-Anne for just as long as I did--returned with me to Washington after her funeral and helped me get back into a routine. I can't remember how long they stayed (I'm pretty sure it must have been a few weeks) but they demonstrated how much they cared by helping me get settled.
--Friends of Kelly-Anne's whom I didn't even know before her death reach out to me all the time. Sometimes they write to tell me a story about Kell or send me a photo. Other times they just mention how much they miss her. I love that! It reminds me how much Kelly-Anne was loved and how she is still missed by more than her family and closest friends.
--One friend at work found out about Kelly-Anne's death and brought me the most amazing bouquet of flowers for my desk on the third anniversary of her death. I was SO touched I couldn't even speak for several minutes after she dropped these off. The gesture was grand and incredibly well timed and it helped carry me through a rough patch.
--My friend, Nic Wright, stayed up with me and my husband basically all night on the evening before Kell's wake to produce the tribute video that we played at the funeral home. It was SO, SO important for us to remember Kell's life, not just the tragic way she died. Nic gave so generously of his time and his equipment to help create a memory that is still one of my most treasured posessions.
--Countless strangers and new friends have happened upon this blog and taken the time to read Kell's story and right a note or comment about how it touched them. It means the world to us to know that Kelly-Anne's memory lives on in people who didnt' even know her when she was alive.
--There have been lots of lasting memorials erected to Kelly-Anne all over the West Island. There is a room with her name on it at the DDO Aquatic Center, a tree planted out front of Greendale school, the Kelly-Anne Drummond memorial cup awarded to either McGill or Concordia after a rugby match, and a marble bench in a park in Pierrefonds, among others. Each of these things gives me a boost when I need it most.
All of the above examples illustrate that there are numerous ways to reach and support a friend--or even a stranger--during a time of trial. It is essential to realize that people going through a crisis need to know they are loved and supported.
Many fear that their words or remarks may upset someone who is grieving so they don't say anything at all. Don't be that person. Know that with or without your words, the person's loved one is never far from their mind or their thoughts. Being the person who ignores the tragedy and constantly changes the subject or clams up if it comes up is very hurtful. Showing you care helps the grief stricken person realize he or she is not alone. And that is invaluable.