Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advent reflections

I love Christmas and I love the lead up to it as well.  I love the deep and meaningful scripture readings, the carols and hymns, the decorations, the baking, the gingerbread houses, the purple robes at mass, the advent wreaths and candles.  The list goes on. 

I don't love the business, the commercialism, the stress, or the running around.  But frankly it is a small price to pay for a beautiful season. 
2013 Gingerbread Creations--tree by my mommy and house by me

I wish Kell was here to celebrate Advent with me just like old times.  She'd have been game to decorate a gingerbread house, listen to Christmas music, and get some Christmas baking done anytime.  I bet I'd have even been able to get her to come visit me and do all of those activities. 

Miss you, Auntie Kell!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Livin' on a Prayer...

November 28 is Kelly-Anne’s 34th birthday.  Hard to believe this is the tenth birthday we couldn't celebrate with her in person. 

This year, American Thanksgiving also falls on November 28. The last time this happened was in 2002 when Kell turned 23--check out a small sampling of e-mails between Kell and me that day...
Dear Kelly-Anne,
Happy Birthday, I can't believe you are 23 years old. So OLD!! Just kidding. I am so sorry that I can't be with you today, but I miss you and love you. I hope you have a fun day. I will try and give you a call later today, if you want you can call up here too, I heard you called yesterday actually.  Happy Birthday Keddy! This is the 17th birthday I have celebrated with you!!
Love, Raye  

Hey Raye,
I miss ya. Can you tell. I am calling you all over the USA!
It is okay that you are not here. I am really not doing too much. I am just working from 4-10. It kinda sucks, but I don't mind too much.
This weekend I will be shooting the documentary, so I will be occupied, but Monday I will be able to chill with you the whole day.
That is all for now...
Love Keddy--the older one now!

I’m celebrating both of these occasions with family and friends in the States.  If Kell were alive, I’m pretty sure she’d be with us.  She’d have found a way to join this celebration. 

But, since she couldn’t be here in person, I had to find a way to celebrate.  And I’m pretty sure I’ll never top this…

We brought down the house with a rousing karaoke rendition of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer.  And, it wasn’t just any old guy singing with me.  It was Alex Barbieri the lead singer from 1 Wild Night, the NYC area’s premier Bon Jovi Tribute Band.

I introduced Alex for the song and I told everyone that it was my best friend’s birthday and although she couldn’t be here in person, I was pretty confident that there’s nothing she would have loved better than us singing “Livin’ on a Prayer,” one of her very favorite songs from her favorite band, in her honor. 

I love and miss you, Kell.  Happy birthday. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Welcoming Paige as a part of God's Holy Church!

Nine years ago on Thanksgiving weekend we buried Kelly-Anne.  Not a day has gone by since that we haven’t thought about her and missed her.  Kell’s funeral was officiated by Rev. Canon Joyce Sanchez, a longtime family friend of the Drummond family.  It was a sad, sad day and it left an indelible mark on all of us, but Joyce did a wonderful job with a difficult situation, somehow leaving us with the hope of a risen Savior. 

Today, nine years later, we celebrated another important Drummond family milestone on Thanksgiving weekend.  We celebrated new life in the baptism of Kim’s beautiful baby, Paige Heather.  The service was once again officiated by Rev. Joyce Sanchez.  She once again did a wonderful job on this happiest of occasions.  The New Testament scripture—Philippians 4:4–9—was especially befitting for today’s occasion.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paige wore a lovely custom designed baptismal gown.  And she wore her Aunt Kelly-Anne’s gold cross around her neck. 

It was a joy to celebrate with Kim and Joe and to meet Paige for the first time.  She’s a beautiful girl—alert, bright, well mannered, and inquisitive.  She has brought a lot of well-deserved joy to the Drummond family.  I’ve never seen Doreen, John, or Kim looking happier. 

Paige, may God grant you a long and healthy life full of love.  May you come to know our faithful and loving God and trust in Him to direct your paths and meet your needs.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Nine years

Kelly-Anne was attacked nine years ago today.  Nine years ago someone who supposedly loved her robbed her of her future.  So many others were robbed that day too.  Kelly-Anne's parents, John and Doreen, were robbed of their beloved daughter. Kim, Kelly-Anne's sister, was robbed of her closest confidant and best friend.  Kell's many friends were robbed of their trusted sidekick, adventuring buddy, and teammate.  The world was robbed of a truly good person.  

Nine years.  Or--if you are counting--3,827 days.  

Those 3,827 days have been filled with beautiful memories of Kelly-Anne.  Amazing tributes.  But those memories can't bring her back.  They can only console those of us who remain.  And frankly some days they aren't all that much consolation.  

But we've managed.  Somehow.  Everyone who knew and loved Kelly-Anne put one foot in front of the other and went on.  Because that's what she would have wanted.  Because we couldn't allow this heinous act to destroy any more than it already had.  

And so we've done our best to keep Kelly-Anne with us.  I've got a photo over my desk that reminds me of her every day.  But I don't need that physical reminder.  Because the 20+ years I spent with her as my best friend will stay with me forever.  That's the kind of thing you don't forget no matter what.  

And as long as I'm alive I'll do my part to tell others about Kelly-Anne. About her joie de vivre and her can-do spirit.  About her love of adventure and travel.  About her amazing, amazing curly hair.  About her commitment to athletics.  About her determination and grit.  About how she pushed herself and never gave up.  About how she loved and was loved.  

And I'll never stop telling anyone who will listen about how quickly situations can spiral out of control.  About how volatile people can snap in an instant.  About how the last thing you would have ever expected was for someone as strong willed and confident as Kelly-Anne to end up trapped in an abusive relationship with a violent man.  About how to this day, nine years later, I can't believe Kelly-Anne didn't leave before that fateful night on October 3, 2004.  And about how Kelly-Anne deserved so much more than to be murdered in the blink of an eye. 

I do this because its the only thing I can do.  And because I think its what Kelly-Anne would want.  I hope one day it makes a difference to someone in a similar situation.  I bet it already has.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Falling into the fall

Another year has gone by and yet again the tragedy of this time of year has snuck up on me like a thief in the night.  Last week I was offhandedly wondering why I felt a bit down in the dumps.  Then I looked at the calendar and remembered.

The last weekend of September.  The beginning of fall.  The changing of the seasons.  All remind me of Kelly-Anne and her untimely death.  Hard to believe it has been nine years already.

Miss you, Kelly-Anne.  Today, tomorrow, always.