Thursday, October 9, 2008



This is bound to be the dreariest, most sorrowful day of my life. My happiness, my spirit, my everything left when you did. Tears are spilling down my cheeks and all I can think about is how much I need you right now . . .

And so today, I begin waiting. Perhaps I will learn some patience. it's like you said, in so many words--'I'm sure there is some good to come of out of this.' . . . You are priceless to me, Jeff, and now that you are away from me, the memory of your presence is my most valuable possession and until you return to me, I will relive every moment I've ever shared with you--I will feel every touch, hear every word and read every letter all a thousand times because each thing I do will bring me one second closer to having you back with me. I feel so hollow, so lost and so far from the world. I will always love you--you are all I think about, you're all I see and feel and there's not enough words in the world to describe the pain of missing you."

I wrote these exact words in a letter to Jeff on September 26th, 1992--the day AFTER he left for Ireland to study abroad for a year. So, that means he left for Ireland on September 25th, 1992. It's eerie to think that 16 years later--to the day--he would depart again and that I could have written that same letter to him today as I did so many years ago.

On a side note, "eerie" is maybe a little too close for comfort to the Gaelic (Irish) word for Ireland: Eire.

Jeff and I wrote literally hundreds of letters to each other from the time we met on my Dad's birthday (June 9th) in 1989 until we were married on Jeff's birthday (May 21st) in 1994. Jeff put several of the "better" letters in a scrapbook and gave it to me for Christmas several years ago. I was going though it tonight and found the letter quoted above.

I was puzzled as to why Jeff chose September 25th to die. I sensed that he thought he would be dead by September 25th, but I did not understand the significance of that date. In the weeks preceding his death, he had had several visitors offer to visit shortly thereafter (September 25th, October 3rd, etc.) and each time he told them to come sooner--he was afraid the 25th would be too late. As September 25th approached it appeared he was wrong--he had not yet shown evidence of the "active stages of dying" and despite profound and difuse liver tumors he had shown no signs of jaundice or other complications of liver disease whatsoever. He was mentally sharp and was not in a coma. In fact, on the night of the 24th, the hospice nurse told me that his lungs were clear, his heartbeat was strong and that with young people, "their strong hearts can keep them going for a while." So, I was surprised the end came so soon--but not surprised it came on September 25th. Now it seems clear: that is Jeff's preferred day for special departures.

'til next time . . .


Mary M Clay said...

Kelly: thank you for the blog! Mom and I are reading it together (in Branson) and how incredible that Jeff left for Ireland on September 25th! We were listening to his Finger Goodies tape last night, along with Aubrey's 'I love You' was so good to hear their voices! :) Oh, and your solo on 'Kid Fears' was spectacular! We are thinking of you all.
Hope to talk to you soon,

Laura Gilbert said...

You were alone that day, but you with us, too. Jeff brought you to Ireland, Kelly. You on his mind and in his heart and he talked about you constantly -- and with the sort of profound and sure regard that you don't see often in a 20 year old guy. There's probably a parallel here, but I'm not a good enough writer to neatly tie it up. Just know this: you may have felt alone while Jeff was in Ireland, but you were with him.

Katie Clancy said...

Wow! Is all I can say. The mysteries in all of this sometimes are definitely Eerie...
Hope you're doing well... as well as can be expected. Love ya,'Katie

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mka said...

After I read that, I thought if you're looking for a sign, this one seems pretty clear. Who knows why someone can seemingly be ok one moment, and never take another breath the next moment. Strong heart, healthy lungs, no noticable liver failure, and then he still dies that day. It's hard for all of us to understand. And as far as the good that comes out of it we may not know for a long time. Maybe because of Jeff's death Finn will grow up to be a doctor who cures melanoma. Maybe someone reading this blog will save a loved one's life that otherwise wouldn't have been saved, just because of Jeff's death. There are many reasons why things happen. It's like if someone said, "If you were all knowing, and knew how much pain you and your family would go through by you marrying Jeff, would you have still done it?" I know you would still have done it, because the good times and 4 great kids weigh out over all the bad times. I do think this was a definite sign from Jeff, and there will be many more for you and the kids to come.
Love, Mom

Terri said...

Well, I would take this as a sign too. You must continue to tell us of all the neat signs you receive. I find them highly interesting. It's very eerie and sort of comforting in a way too when you get signs, but none the less it reassures you that Jeff is there with you and always will. Take care and for a moment when reading this I did not see the quotation marks and thought that you had taken a huge downward spiral and desperately missed Jeff and this blog was just your way of venting and letting it out. i gotta tell ya I was a bit relieved to find out that it was a old letter.
Call anytime

ksu_rock said...

It is with tears streaming down my face that I write this - wow, Kelly, you are amazingly strong. What a great tribute to your past to have the letters and to connect with Jeff in this way. I would be doing the same thing.
Take care of yourself, and keep up the traditions, even the breakfast and church - it will get better.
Much love,
Anna & fam