Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Reaching out

Kelly-Anne cooling off at Montreal's Place des Arts the summer before she died.  

I think a lot about how Kelly-Anne would want to be remembered.  It's something she never really considered, I'm sure.  We all feel invincible when we're in our early twenties.  Yet none of us really are invincible.  Only God knows for sure the number of our days.  

"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life."
Psalm 39:4
My take--especially after going though something like losing Kell and trying to figure out how to go on--is that should always live like its our last days on earth.  Always focus on the important things and the higher things in life.  Always tell those around us how much we love them and how much they mean to us.  Who wants to die without letting those around you know how much you value them?  And who wants to be left behind by someone you never truly expressed your appreciation for.

Of course, this is all easier said than done.  The day-to-day pressures of life fill our minds and hearts, distracting us from what's really important.

We fear that we don't know how to say the right thing to someone who is suffering or mourning and, as a result, we fail to say anything at all.

Do you know how alone you feel when you're grieving someone you love? That intense pain and emotion can be all encompassing.  It means the world to those dealing with this sort of pain to know that you care.  That you remember their pain.  That it means something to you and you care enough to let them know.

This is especially essential once things die down.  Life returns to normal for those around you but for you it will never be normal because you've lost your wife, husband, daughter, son, mother, father, or friend.  For you, there will always be emptiness and loneliness and sadness.  You will always think of them on holidays and anniversaries.  Or when you see someone on the street who has similar looks or mannerisms.  Or when your loved one visits you in a dream.

I think it is incredibly powerful to know someone is there for you and cares for you and shares just a little bit of your pain.  It's rare, these days, that anyone mentions Kell to me or even remembers what happened.  And, when I bring her up or mention her, people have a look of shock and horror on their face when I tell them what happened.

But I want to talk about Kelly-Anne.  I love to think of her and remember what she meant to her family and friends.  I beam when someone brings her up in any way.  I am so touched when someone remembers an anniversary or mention's her passing, or even her existence.

It's so, so, so rare.  And I understand--it has been eight years, after all, and none of my friends here ever had the chance to meet Kelly-Anne.  But still...

I try (albeit, often unsuccessfully) to reach out to others around me who are mourning their own losses. I don't ever have the right words, but I at least try to let them know I'm thinking of them and praying for them.  I sent a note to the father of a friend (whom I never met personally) who lost his son in a fire that destroyed his family home and his wife to breast cancer within a few months of each other. I sent my great aunt who was dying of cancer a note letting her know how much I've learned from her a few weeks before she passed.  I try to reach out to Kelly-Anne's family frequently and make sure they know I haven't forgotten.  On Father's Day this year I happened to be home in Montreal and I popped over to Kelly-Anne's father's house to say I was a representative of the "Drummond girls" and wanted to wish him a great day. I do what I can--and I know it is often not enough.  But I tell myself at least its something.

Who can you support today?  Is there someone who could benefit from a kind word or note from you?


Anonymous said...

These are very thoughtful posts Rachel. Also thought provoking.
Ever the faithful, loving friend...

my daughter, Kelly-Anne said...

Sending you lots of love and hugs Raye...thank you for your words...all so true.

Doreen xxxx

Magalie said...

Thanks for posting Rachel. I've been thinking a lot about Kell in the last week, but not realizing until today that it was that time of the year again. I'd like to think she is still looking after us all, keeping us in check and encouraging us to live like every day is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.

Tara said...

It is hard to move on after you lose someone you love, you feel frozen in time. As you said Rachel everyone seems to move on, they haven't forgotten it's just a little further back in their memories.
Whenever I see your name pop up on my facebook wall the memories of Greendale of you and Kelly-Anne flood into my mind. Her infectious smile as I would pass her in the halls at John Rennie, the presentation we did together in Mme Masucci's class.
I can ony imagine that Kelly-Anne would be smiling for all her friends and family do in order to keep her memory alive.

Anonymous said...

Raye, you are ever the faithful friend. Thank you for sharing these posts. I never met Kelly-Anne, but I wish I could have known her.

I'm thinking of you and Kelly-Anne's family and friends, and my heart goes out to you all.

Anna xo

Anonymous said...

Just watched the video in the margin on the left...such a moving tribute.

Sabrina U said...

Reading your post from Sep 30th....it's as if every moment from when I got your call to them taking her off life support happened both in slow motion and too fast. Standing over her in ICU and looking over at Doreen, trying to accept and make sense of what I was seeing and hearing - those moments are burned into my memory. But there are all those wonderful memories, especially of the two of you. It's wonderful how you keep those alive, and draw lessons and wisdom from what we mourn. We will never forget her, or those moments.