Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goodbye and Goodbye

10-8-1972             5-14-2010

I have written this post a million times in my head, wanting to so clearly capture Kelly. Wanting to give those of you who didn't know her the best window into what a gift it was to be a part of her life. And I can't do it. I don't know if it is too soon. I don't know if its just me. I don't know. So instead, I'm just gonna write. Please forgive my stream of consciousness, perhaps it will provide some clarity.

Kelly and I were born five days apart on separate ends of the country. But when we met the summer before our 7th grade year, I knew that she would be somehow be a special part of my life. It wouldn't be for another year that we would become close, but close we were. "Kandy and Kelly" were always together. When Kelly's family moved away at the end of 10th grade, one of our teachers asked me, "what are you going to do with out her?" I didn't know then. I don't know now. 

As I sit here at my desk and look up at my inspiration wall, staring back at me, among other things, are two pictures of Kelly, an angel from a card she sent me years ago, and a note she had recently attached to two articles she sent me about women who had started their own businesses in her forties. The note says, "Kandie, Aren't these stories great? Maybe you'll start your pottery business when we turn 40!" Unfortunately, "we" won't turn forty. I'll have to do that alone. 

The prospect of life without Kelly is difficult to grasp. A huge part of me can't wrap itself around this. No more calls? Really? No more hearing her beautiful voice? No? No more laughing about our nutty children? You're kidding! It all seems too much and yet it's real and true and hurts more than I have words to express. 

There are so many funny and beautiful stories about Kelly. Since her death last Friday, her family, friends and I have shared many. And as much as I need the stories, they aren't enough. I want more. I want her. Because, though the stories are important and what we now have, they are a pale shadow to who she really was. And during quiet times, I find myself reflecting not so much on the stories, but what it was to just "be" with her. So much of our time together was just being. Even on the phone. Our understanding of each other ran deep. 

When Kelly got sick, she told me that I would be her light to get her through this. I remember thinking, "Dear God, help me to be this for her!" I hope and pray I was. I wanted so much to be. I am so grateful to have been given the extreme honor of being with her during her final days, a gift I will forever be thankful to her parents, Chuck and Susan, her sister, Erin and her husband, Matt, for allowing me. The moments with her over the last few weeks are by far some of the most precious of my life. Her last words to me were, "I love you so much." I said, "I love you, too, Kelly." I left the room. She slipped into a coma in the early morning. Good bye, my sweet, sweet friend.

The Blog

I wish you could read the emails we sent back and forth just trying to come up with a name. It makes me laugh to see how serious and nervous we were at beginning. I have been asked to continue the blog. I have thought so much about it. I don't know how to do this. It just feels so wrong. This blog was completely a collaborative effort, right down to the font colors. We never made decisions with out consulting each other. Never. Notions and Threads was ours. I can't make it mine. I don't want to. It hurts too much. Maybe after a break. I'll feel differently. But for now...

I have come to believe that one of the main reasons the blog existed, unbeknownst to us when we started it, was so that all of you could have a hand in this journey. Your role was no small part. Each comment made fed her soul. She was always so excited when we had a new follower. The Wellness Tree project blew her and Matt away. Nicole, my dear friend, a special thank you to you for the gift of The Wellness Tree and for everything else you have been to Kelly, Matt, Susan and me. One day, you'll get that hug. 

So this is goodbye, for now. Maybe I'll start a new blog one day. One about... I don't know (see, I'm no good right now). Or maybe I will surprise you with a post about something crafty that a memory of Kelly inspired. You never know. Right now I just need some time. 

Love and undying gratitude,



  1. I love you. You are another blessing that Kelly gave me.

  2. The description of your inspiration board is particularly touching.

  3. You did a wonderful job describing your dear friend and your relationship. Sorry for your loss.

  4. Oh Kan, this made me smile through the tears. You are such an amazingly strong and graceful woman who truly WAS the light that Kelly needed in her final days. You two will always be connected. A love like that never dies. In your quietest moments you need to talk to her and you will know what her answers would be. When people understand each other like you two did a telephone isn't necessary. As for your blog, I know so many people (including me, and I'm craftily challenged) really enjoyed it. So when you're ready, I know Kelly would be proud for you to carry on the tradition in her memory. But not until you're ready.....
    I love you and always will.

  5. NOE'S FAMILIEMay 18, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Dear Kandyce,

    thank you for your words! I am crying and I can feel so very much what you say and think!

    Kelly will be always there inside you I know that, you have been so close, this will be going on, I am sure God or whoever is up there made this possible for those who have been left behind.

    I have a best friend like Kelly was yours, Valerie. We met in 4th grade (I was 8) and this friendship also lasts until today, even if we moved away from Cologne when I was 12. She is a soulmate, when I'm really sad because of whatever the phone rings and she is there. When I was pregnant with our first child I dreamt of her and me being in a shop, her back to me and when she turned round she also had a huge belly, much bigger than mine. She had been on a holiday and the night before she returned I had this dream. She called and I told her of my dream - she was also pregnant with twins, they are a few weeks older than my girl.

    Sometimes we though about what life would be without the other one - I can't and don't want to think about it and I am so very very sorry for you that you have to get through it! It breaks my heart and I can truly understand if you don't want to go on with this blog...

    Even if I don't know you, I send a warm hug to you,


  6. http://www.potjethee.blogspot.com/May 18, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    It takes time, and the answers come naturally!
    Sorry about the loss of your best friend.
    You were soul mates, and that you have well documented!

    Patricia xoxo

  7. Oh, Kandyce I am a mess crying right now after reading your words...
    We have talked about this and you were Kelly's light during this time I am so grateful for this.
    I love you dear Kandyce, I continue to look forward to giving and receiving that hug to all of you one day.
    I am deeply saddened of the loss of your dear soul mate Kelly.

  8. Kandyce, it was a great pleasure meeting you this past weekend, under the most saddest of circumstances. Kelly was such a strong driving force in the lives of so many people, so beautiful, funny and kind. Her family do need prayers and condolences now. Kelly will always be a special person to you ~ the both of you shared a beautiful and lasting friendship. I have learned a lot about your relationship in this short period of time. May God watch over her family, esp. her adorable son and her adoring husband. May they be guided by her spiritually. And may we never forget Kelly, a light in this world, a flower in a green field of grass, that catches your eye as you gaze, fixed on her beauty forever.

  9. Kandyce, thank you so much for this blog. I am Kelly's aunt and because of unfortunate circumstances, I lost touch with both Kelly and Erin more than 20 years ago. Through this blog I can see that the beautiful little girl that I knew and loved grew into a beautiful young woman. I'm glad that she had a loving husband and a beautiful son, and I'm glad that she had a special friendship with you.
    She and Erin were the flower girls at my wedding; Erin was 7 and Kelly was not quite 5. My husband and I were married in my mother's front yard on a hot and humid day in August of 1978. After the ceremony I noticed that Kelly Jo had tears running down her cheek and I asked her why. She lifted her little dress up and showed me that a wasp had gotten underneath her dress and stung her on her leg. She made it through the whole ceremony without crying or saying a word about it. My heart is heavy. I'm grateful to have had her in my life.

  10. Oh Kandyce, this broke the one piece of my heart left still hanging on. I am so, so, so sorry for your loss. I am packing now to get on a plane to fly to Kentucky. I am so thankful for you, an amazing woman, mom, and friend to Kelly.

  11. Oh Kandyce the tears roll down my cheek and I am so sorry for you. Grief is the hardest work you will ever have to do and I feel for you so. It is such a heart-wrenching path to have to walk down and I wish you all the angels you need to walk beside you. Do what you need to do and only as much as you can do in this difficult time. Hugs.
    Be well and peace to you and those around you.

  12. Kandyce, I hope you can keep this blog alive or start a new one (but please let us know if you do). I am also one of Kelly's Aunts. Unfortunately, the woman in Chuck's family have little creativity. We have always been amazed at the talents of Susan (Kelly's Mom), and had a taste of Kelly's talents through her collaging and cookie baking. She would send wonderful cookies to my Mom (her grandmother) and once in awhile my Mom would share! You will have the strength to move forward because Kelly will be right by your side. God bless!

  13. Kandyce,
    Thanks for sharing this. I had the amazing fortune of knowing Kelly at grad school. Reading this blog these last few days has been both heartbreaking and also a beautiful way of hearing Kelly's voice - and also getting to know you, and seeing the rare and wonderful friendship you shared. I am thinking of you, of Kelly, and of course of Matt and Ari. Love to you all.

  14. Kandyce, I have been reading the blog for some time (not much of a commenter...) and I understand why you need to take some time away from it. I do hope you'll come back to Notions and Threads someday or start another one. And I hope you will leave it up for awhile. After reading the dreaded "hospice" word I went back and read all of the entries and it helped me to feel better and closer to Kelly. It was a pleasure to share these things with Kelly and you. My heart is hurting and it hurts for you. It hasn't been too long since my dear friend was killed and while the wound is healing, the scar will always be there. Sending love, peace and comfort. Chris

  15. Kandyce, you have so beautifully captured how you feel about Kelly. I knew Kelly very well at CSU - we were in grad school together, taught as TAs together and then were both adjunct instructors. I remember the first time that Kelly mentioned you to me - "my crazy, best friend with all these kids," is how she described you (this, before she had Ari). She talked about you like you were the most important thing in her world, and I thought to myself, "Who could this Kandyce be?" And now, thanks to this blog, I know. And from reading all of your entries, I can see why Kelly lit up whenever she talked about you. What the two of you shared was so real and so amazing. Not everyone can say they've experienced the kind of friendship that you and Kelly have. What a gift you gave to each other. Already, I miss Kelly so much. Even though I wasn't great at keeping up communications long distance, I can already feel her absense from this world immensely. I can't even imagine what that must feel like for you. And finally, thank you for this blog. It helps me feel her smile amidst all the pain.

  16. When someone touches our souls so strongly, we know that there has been a long deep history. It is so wonderful that you could have travelled with your friend this time too.

    May you feel the need to mourn, heal and become her light again..

    Warm regards
    Suzanne ( down in the meadow)

  17. gretchen from lifenutMay 20, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Kandyce, this was beautiful. My heart goes out to Kelly's family, and that means you, too. Clearly, you were her sister in the strongest and deepest sense of the word. Nothing can take that away. Love is stronger than death.

  18. Kandyce -
    News of Kelly's death has just spread within the LRHS class of 1988 - it just feels too soon and too cruel to lose Erin's little sister... The blog is wonderful - particularly your tribute to an amazing friend. Please know that you are in our hearts and prayers...

    There was a sentiment in one of the SND tributes that I found touching - and it seems to apply here, so I'll borrow it:
    In celebration of her life, and in gratitude for her presence among us, we release Kelly to celebrate her eternal jubilee in heaven...
    Godspeed Kelly...

  19. http://teaworthy.comMay 22, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    There are no words. You are in my prayers.

  20. Kandyce
    Thank you for your beautiful message and for being there for me and my parents.
    I was one who asked you to continue the blog...but I
    understand why you can't. I'm just so greatful to have Kelly's (and your)
    words here forever. As you know I used many excerpts from
    the blog at Kelly's memorial service in talking about all that I learned from
    my amazing sister. She was the great writer in the family so I thought it best to
    use her own words as examples. Lots of love to you! Erin

  21. My dearest daughter...I know how hard this was for you to write. I'm trying to make sense of all of this and it doesn't come easy. I cherish that you were a part of Kelly's life and I love you. I hope one day you will do a blog again and if I can help, just say the word. You are in my thoughts and prayers constantly as I know what you are going through. I want to hug you and never let go. Love you, Susan

  22. I found my way here by reading Kelly's article "This Sucks" in the Spring 2010 issue of Brain, Child magazine. The note at the end of the article refers to her cancer and this blog. I am very sad to learn that she did not recover and has passed away. My thoughts are with everyone who was close to her, who are hurting and missing her.

  23. I had read about Kelly a while back and prayed for her to get better. I found my way back to learning how she was doing and I am so saddened to see she has passed. My heart literally breaks at the news. My she rest in peace as the sweet angle she is in heave much the like the sweet angel she was here on earth. I'm so very sorry for you loss.

  24. I recently too found my way to this blog from the Brain Child article. As I was reading the article the voice of Kelly spoke to my experience as a mother. Her little boy reminded me of my son and his need for mama's comfort and of course the strange looks from people who just didn't understand we will sometimes do anything for our children if it brings them confort in this busy new world they are processing.
    I read Kelly's article and was concerned for her health and this morning wanted to reach out to her and offer her good thoughts and tell her that thru that one article I could sense what a wonderful mother she was. I was so sad to find out I had been to late and that she has passed. I too am a 38 year old mother and so I feel the loss of a special mother to her son Ari. my thoughts are with her family and friends.