Sunday, October 23, 2011

Forever Kelly

4 years ago I received a phone call that I will never forget from my friend Dean.... 

Hey, Charlotte its Dean. Are you sitting down? Kelly McKeowen just died. She had a heart attack or something....

No one likes receiving a call like that. I was in disbelief; I kept looking over my Spanish notes for the test I had the next day. I acted like nothing had happened until my phone rang over and over and over.

Charlotte, did you hear about Kelly? She's dead... says my brother who is inconsolable on the phone.

It was true. Fifteen year old Kelly had died from an enlarged heart that no one knew about. She and a family friend (Mr. Dan, my friend Aaron's dad) had been running to get in shape for basketball season. Kelly told Mr. Dan she didn't feel well and felt really weak, so Mr. Dan told her to lie down on the highway. The next thing he knew, she was hanging on for dear life as another friend passed by and tried CPR.

Wesley, my dear dear friend (and Tyler's college friend) from kindergarten to this day is Kelly's brother. He was going to the technical college at home, a little bummed out that most of his friends went off to college. What a blessing it was that he was home during all of this. He was on the tractor working and heard sirens, not really thinking anything. Then he received the phone call from his parents telling him to meet them at the emergency room; it was Kelly.

The next day I came home from Wofford, going straight to the McKeowen's house because all I wanted to do was hug Wesley. And that was all I did when I was there. 

The reason that I writing this story is to remember this sweet, loving, happy, bubbly girl who ended life just too short at age 15. Kelly and I played basketball together (she was on JV and me on Varsity) and it seemed like we always ended up guarding each other during practice (she usually kicked my rear!).

Yesterday I passed by the McKeowen's house and left a note for Kelly on her "K" flag and her Forever Kelly sign on the side of the road. I stood for a moment at the place where God took Kelly and cried a little. What a precious angel. The McKeowens weren't home because they go to the beach this weekend each year with their family (they also have a brother, Taylor). 

Wesley and his newlywed wife (weird to say!!), Lacey, now live in Louisiana for Wesley's job. Knowing I have good friends who live far from home as well is so comforting, especially on days like today when family is so important.

Kelly and her family will always hold a special place in my heart. 

The McKeowens at Wesley and Lacey's wedding with Kelly's memory candle,  June 2011

Love you Kelly! Watch over us #23!


Sarah said...

One of my good friends died a year ago today. It's sad how crazy things like that happen.

Lacey in the City said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Charlotte. It was a great tribute to Kelly.