Happy Birthday Kel, I Miss You
Kelly Suzanne McLeod - today would have been her 48th birthday, instead, we celebrate without her. She is survived by her son, Chase, and her daughter, Madison Monzelle, who is named after her deceased grandmother. I have written about the time she asked us to let her son live with us for his 8th grade year. At the time, I was a little condescending. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that she did one of the most loving things a mother can do.
Once I understood this, I realized how sad, painful, and embarrassing it must have been. I cannot even imagine the moment she placed that 12 year old on the plane. He was angry and I am ashamed that I may have inadvertently encouraged his confusion about his mothers decision. I didn’t know how hard things had become for Kelly. She had times where she was living in a tack room at the race track where she rode race horses from 4:30am until late into the evening. Her checks? Just a few hundred dollars a week. She was an example of the working poor. If I would have known, I pray that I would have handled the situation much differently. Oh, how I wish I had a chance to tell her she had my highest respect. It makes me sad in the deepest way. “Kel, I am sorry.”
Her kids went through hard times as well. Chase has basically been on his own since her death and has recently reconnected with the man Kelly loved for years. They have carved out a family, but it is still missing one. Slowly, they have begun to grow and pick up the pieces. Maddie made your average pre-teen mistakes but has gone on to make straight A’s this year. Their mother would be so proud of them.
We don’t see them often since they live 3,000 miles away, but I know Rob never goes a day without thinking of the two people in this world who are a part of Kelly. They are the only family he has left. I see the pain etched in Rob’s face, I feel it as well, but together we have leaned on each other through the ugliest of times. These were the moments that have bonded Rob and I together.
She has been gone for 9 years now. I remember the funeral and the plane that the boys and I missed in Houston, making many question whether or not we’d even arrive. But we made it. I wish people understood her, I wish they would have believed her when she complained about headaches. She was going on the first vacation she had taken since the disastrous honeymoon she went on when she was 18. She really looked forward to this trip. Kelly passed on the first night. Her kids lost a mom and Rob lost his sister and best friend. I met Kelly when she was only 15 years old, but it wasn’t until years later that we actually became friends. Though I realize I didn’t understand her, I should have given her credit as a mom who made an impossible decision for her son’s best interest.
She was a hero and an incredible mother - now she is an angel. She isn’t here for her birthday today, but she will always be that tall, strong, independent woman who raced horses with the best. She was truly one of a kind and I think we should all aspire to be a little more like her. Beauty can be blinding and Kelly Suzanne McLeod was indeed beautiful.
Look for the extraordinary things about others and learn from them. Drop your jealousy at the stoop and enter into the arms that are open and welcoming. We will all be better off for it, I promise.
Have a great weekend. Support the Independent artists and thank you for all you have given me. Let’s talk again Monday. -Ruth