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.
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,