Wednesday, October 05, 2011


October 5, 2004, was the day Kelly-Anne was removed from life support after being fatally attacked two days earlier. In those two days, Kell's family and friends came to grips with the tragedy and said their goodbyes. We cried. We prayed. We sobbed. We yelled. We wept. We sat in stunned silence. We screamed.

I think we experienced just about every emotion in those couple of days. It seemed shockingly cruel that Kell was gone. On October 5, her mother and father made the decision to take her off the machines that were, technically, keeping her alive despite being brain dead. How could any mother and father have to be faced with making such a terrible decision? It is truly the worst nightmare a parent could ever face.

Doreen and John, and their surviving daughter Kim, have soldiered on bravely in Kell's absence. They've taken a situation that would break most people and tried to do the best they could. They planned Kell's funeral, they buried her, and they've spent every day since trying to make sure that she's not forgotten. They've done a wonderful job in the face of such overwhelming sadness.

And they've succeeded wonderfully--because Kelly-Anne has not been forgotten, and her legacy lives on in all of us.

I'm proud to know and love John, Doreen, and Kim. I'm grateful that I've had them in my life since my earliest childhood. And I'm lucky that I've had the chance to play a small part in helping keep their beautiful daughter's memory alive.

PS--Don't forget to head over to Doreen's blog and read her reflection on what Kelly-Anne's death has taught her.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

tomorrow is always fresh

The brutality of Kell's death tends to overshadow the way in which she lived. This bugs me for a lot of reasons, but mainly because Kell had such a great life. In many ways it was ordinary--a suburban upbringing, a good education, an active social life. But in so many ways it was extraordinary. Mainly because of Kelly-Anne herself. Kell loved having fun. And she was really good at making fun wherever she went. I can't tell you how many adventures Kell, Kim, and I had together where we really did nothing at all but had a blast doing it. I think Kell would be proud that I've continued on our traditions of spontanaity, road trips, and grand adventures. I know she wishes she could still be a part of it. I'll leave you with a few images that I think demonstrate the kind of girl Kell was...

Monday, October 03, 2011


There's a chill in the air today. The leaves are beginning to change color. I'm wearing a cute argyle sweater--the perfect fall outfit. I'm happy, but I'm also filled with sadness as I remember what happened seven years ago.

Seven years ago my world was turned upside down. Seven years ago I expected the day would be like any other. Seven years ago I was just heading out into the real world after finishing up grad school. Seven years ago I thought I'd grow old with Kelly-Anne to share life's adventures with. But seven years ago I lost my best friend.

The day Kell was attacked was the worst day of my life. I've never known so much pain. I've never personally experienced tragedy of that magnitude.

Reflecting on Kell's death, I'm struck by just how much has changed in the seven years she has been gone. That's one of the hardest parts for me, I think. I am constantly reminded how much life Kelly-Anne didn't get to experience. At 24, we thought we were so wise and mature. Seven years later, I can see that we were really just babies.

It hurts my heart when I think that Kell didn't get to have any of the experiences of her mid to late twenties. And she isn't here for her thirties either. I would have loved to see what kind of job Kell ended up with. Whom she married. And what her adorable little children looked like. It's hard to know Kelly-Anne was robbed of those experiences.

I miss Kell all the time. I've got a photo of her in my office that I look at every day. I've got another on my fridge and several around the house. I love looking at Kell and remembering all the fun we had growing up in the West Island. I miss her, of course, but I look forward to seeing her again one day.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

October is here

All of Kell's family and friends find October especially hard. As the fall approaches, we are reminded time and time again of our loss. Of Kelly-Anne's tragic death. Of the seven years that have passed since we last saw her smile or heard her laugh. It's hard. It will always be hard. But we will continue on because we must. Because that's what Kelly-Anne would expect from us.

I've got lots to say and will post here frequently in the next few days.

In the meantime, read this from Doreen, Kell's mother:

October 3rd 2011 will soon be here. It’s hard to believe that we have lived our lives the past seven years without Kelly-Anne. Yes, she is here in spirit, but I wish I could hug her and take my fingers and twirl them through her many curly locks on her head.

Monday is a new beginning. I will start to work in a happy place, a place of new life and new beginnings for pregnant women. I will meet young women, Kelly-Anne’s age having babies. The smiles, the anticipation coupled with the excitement of soon to meet their new little one. Mothers with their daughters, their first grandchild, oh I just envy them. Gosh, the smiles, they are all so very happy and that makes me happy.

Today I think of what would of been, what would Kell look like, would she of kept her hair long and curly, would she of had a baby of her own, how many other trips would she of taken. Seven years lost, seven years of our pain, tears, frustrations and adjustments.

I know that Jules and I have changed. Actually anyone who was close to Kelly-Anne or touched by her tragic passing has changed. It’s impossible not to of have.

Life has evolved on our merry go round. Some of it has passed me by so quickly, I can hardly remember certain aspects of my past. But what I am reminded of is my pain, my lost and that forgiveness is still not an option.

Many may think that I should forgive and that I will be healed within myself. I do not agree. I will heal my way in my time. My closest friend remarked recently that she felt I had made great strides, as I am able now to accept and love another man that has come into our lives. Just I being able to do so tells me that I am not bitter against other young men, that I am able to allow myself to love.

Kelly-Anne has helped me with all that. Marty was a bad apple and it doesn’t mean that all men are like that. She has helped me to open my heart again.

If anyone has to forgive Marty, it will be Kelly-Anne. Will that happen? Your answer is the same as mine. We will never know until we die.

My life without Kelly-Anne beside me has not been easy. I continue to ask myself often, what would Kell have done in certain situations that I face daily.

Even after seven years, the community has not forgotten Kelly-Anne. Just last evening Concordia Ladies Rugby hosted the annual match with McGill. Concordia continues to retain the Kelly-Anne Cup for its third consecutive year. Kelly-Anne’s friends were there to support the cause as were many who never met Kelly-Anne. Women Aware will receive the proceeds of the game. All for a good cause!

The community remembers Kelly-Anne’s life and also how she died. People still want to hear her story, as I as her mother have been fortunate to have opportunities to continue to speak about Kelly-Anne. She accomplished so much in 24 years and her legacy continues. We must never forget how she died and that story will help change and educate the lives of many others.

Even though working on projects is emotionally draining for myself, it also affects the people working with me. I have begun the first phase of a film that I know teenagers will find compelling. It’s all good even if it brings me back to 2004. If this is what it takes to save lives and build awareness, then Kelly-Anne death is not in vain. And for that I continue to be her voice.

Dear Kelly-Anne, you are forever close to our hearts and will never be forgotten.

Doreen's wonderful blog is Hope on over and say hello!