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Friday, January 2, 2015

Just some thoughts I've jotted down over the last six months or so as the anniversary of one of the hardest times draws near.

In Memory of Kelly Hollis  May 10, 1961 - January 9, 2014   
We gathered at Mom's to go through the last of your things.  Your clothes, your tools, your "toys", even the food from your kitchen.  Ordinary things and extraordinary things.  Metal work and sketches you had done.  A journal containing your deepest thoughts.  Can this really be all that's left?  You were so much more than all of these combined.  What we wouldn't give to have you back.  Your smile, your wit, your talent, your love.  Your house is sold.  Your debts are settled.  It's all finished, but the emptiness remains.  The grief it comes and goes, but it's never gone for good.  The memories are sweet, and we will keep them alive.

Kelly, I think of you...

I think of you in the morning
when it's quiet and I'm drinking my coffee.
I remember how you sat and drank yours, deep in your thoughts.
As kids, I remember you had an amazing artist's mind.
I'd see you studying some object and ask what you were thinking.
You were usually planning to draw or build something.  You saw angles and dimensions and perspectives that I could not.

I think of you when I head home for a holiday.
How important family was to you and how you always got there first.
Usually at least a day ahead of everyone else.  I hope you are in heaven,
and though we miss you so, we know you are lucky to get there first!

I think of you when the Broncos play
and wonder if you were still here
where you'd be watching, and with whom.

I think of you when we spend time with your friends, Scott and Kerri Wall.
We've all adopted them, and they've adopted us.  It's fun to hear them
tell stories of time they spent with you.

I think of you when I listen to classic rock.  I see you clowning around,
singing the lyrics.

I think of you when I see the swing hanging from the big elm in our yard.  I remember at one of the salsa making weekends our nieces and nephews were having trouble staying on the rope and you quietly went in the garage, got some tools and notched the board so it would stay on the rope. 

I think of you when there is work to be done.  How you always had a plan.
Always pitched in and got it done.

I think of your smile, in the  picture above, taken of you just over a month before you died.
How healthy you looked.  How strong.  How can it be that you're gone?  I took that smile for granted.  I took you for granted.  I regret not calling you more.  Not stopping by as I drove through Denver.  I hope someday to give you a great big hug and catch up on all I missed!

I think of you when I hear my daughter sing.  You were so supportive.  You never missed her shows.  Her eyes remind me of yours.

I think of you when my son Bret makes that face.  Cocking one eyebrow.  You know the one.  He reminds me of you in so many ways.

I think of you when I see our nieces and nephews.  I remember you letting them put barrettes in your beard!  How they loved you and how you loved them.  I know now how much you wanted to have a family and children of your own.

I think of you every time I use my sewing machine.  Yours was the first quilt made on it.

I think of you every time I pass Pete's Kitchen, near Michelle's place in Denver.  Mom and Michelle and I ate there  and cried and made plans to help Tracy and Cindy go through your things and plan your memorial.

I think of you when I see someone on a bike, with a leather jacket, a bald head and goatee.  I always have to take a second look, even though I know it isn't you. The book the Wall family gave us, "Healing the Adult Siblings Grieving Heart" by Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D. says, "You will acknowledge the reality of the loss with your head.  Only over time will you come to acknowledge it with your heart." and "You may find yourself driving past your sibling's house, expecting an e-mail from him or her, following cars that look like your sibling's, hearing his voice in a crowded restaurant.  These searching behaviors are normal.  Your mind is simply trying to find evidence that will disprove a truth it doesn't want to believe."

We all grieve differently. 

Tracy and Cindy took a trip to Wyoming.  They stopped in Lander, and searched through public records and found your birth announcement from the newspaper.  You can't read it all in this pic, but it says:   Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hollis of Riverton are the parents of a boy born May 10 at 7:27 p.m.  He weighed 7 llbs., 12 3/4 ozs.  and was named Kelly Don.


And they also stopped here and took this picture of an old stage stop at Point of Rocks.  Tracy and Kelly helped preserve it in 1980.

As Michelle said recently, "Kelly's life mattered."
So Kelly, we will all continue to think of you...