Friday, October 12, 2007


On Wednesday, 10 October 2007, John Henry Kelly passed quietly and calmly from this life into the next. It was not sudden, and the Kelly family had some time to prepare, but even as the sting of death spares no one, I feel in some ways like rejoicing. Dan Dan, as he was affectionately called, lived a long, good life and his influence is sure to be felt long into the future. I, unfortunately, did not get to know Dan Dan as well as I would have liked since I have only recently been added to the Kelly family, but what I do know of him is enough for me to call him a hero. I know that his reception into heaven was a joyful one, and he was welcomed with open arms and cheers.

I have often refrained from expressing too many of my religious beliefs in the Muse, but when speaking about the meaning of life and what happens after death it is impossible for me to avoid. I believe life has a purpose and that we are not all just wandering aimlessly on this earth with no origin and no destination. That doesn't make sense. I doubt anyone would have bought Mario Brothers if Mario got to level 8 and killed the dragon but still didn't save the princess. What if he just died and the game was over? How unsatisfying. No, there is a purpose to life. In addition, there is something after this life. Perhaps that is one of the things that separates the "Mormon" faith from so many others. I believe mortality is just part of the journey and that there is ever so much more to accomplish once we have left here. Families are forever, so there is no reason to think that once someone dies that is it. I refuse to believe that. Mortality is finite while existence is infinite.

But knowing that we can be reunited with our loved ones doesn't remove the loneliness or sadness of death. My mother-in-law said something the other day that has stuck with me. She said, "Dying is hard." I believe it is hard for those who are dying as well as those that are being left behind. Even if you are at peace with dying and know that there is something better on the other side, it's still the unknown, and letting go of this life is difficult. The relationships we form are strong and binding, and the emotions we feel run deep. I believe we hang on as tight as we can until we have the courage to let go. And even though I know Dan Dan is in a better place after living a long, great life, we still miss him. His sweetheart, who is still with us, will miss him. For years to come, children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will be telling stories of Dan Dan and how he miraculously survived all his flight missions during WWII, how he joined the church when he was 83 and got sealed to his family when he was 84 only a few short months before his passing, and how he was the one who brought the Kelly Family Chain together. He was a great man. He is a great man. And I look forward to the day when I can sit down with him again and tell stories.

In many ways he is still with us and always will be.

1 comment:

Nicole Cave said...

Sorry for your loss...but I enjoyed your grandma has been gone now for almost two years now this upcoming Christmas Eve. I still miss her, but like to think of the day when we will reunite.