There are many moments I remember from the years I have loved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, cared for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and been friends with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley.
Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order…
- Watching the adorable freckle-faced, redheaded toddler of two people I have considered family for over a decade throw a temper tantrum because she doesn’t get her way. Her temper tantrums when she was very young were cute—when she was a bit older—they were a force of nature, being powered by one of the feistiest, most stubborn and willful children I have ever known—one who grew into one of the most amazing women I have ever known.
- Watching a sleepy young girl that I have always loved cover her head with a blanket, with a book on a pillow at her mother’s desk because she, Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, just doesn’t want to do her homework.
- Working at her father’s company and seeing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and her family—five people I love and have considered family for 30 years. These are the three I miss the most—Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, her mother Sue, and her sister Bridget.
- Taking Lauren Elizabeth Kelley to Cracker Barrel for the very first time for her seventeenth birthday and watching her browse the country store with a look of wonder and amusement.
- Laughing at hearing my beautiful friend Lauren Elizabeth Kelley shout out that she isn’t going to become a vegan because she didn’t want to give up Coach purses or nice shoes. I knew the nutrition argument would be tough against someone as stubborn and feisty as Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, but I also knew she was very fashion and status conscious as a teen.
- Seeing the unabashed happiness and excitement when I told Lauren Elizabeth Kelley I would teach her to drive.
- Spending an afternoon with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley teaching her to check the oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid and tire pressure on her car.
- Sitting with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and rubbing her shoulders and neck.
- Watching Lauren Elizabeth Kelley sleep, curled up on s/v Pretty Gee’s companionway like a beautiful ginger cat, in the polar fleece she swiped from me.
- Cleaning out the pool and laughing with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and listening to her fears of falling in the green slime while I held her feet so she’d be safe—promising to pick her up out of the slime if she fell, but reserving the right to laugh first.
- Having Lauren Elizabeth Kelley rub my shoulders and neck.
- Walking in the early morning fog along the road and the beach near Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s family’s Cape house one August evening, holding hands with her. She was wearing the red fleece cape I had given her.
- Going to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and standing in line with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley to register her very first car.
- Hearing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley laugh when she realizes her dad has sabotaged my go-kart so he can win.
- Kayaking with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s family and the Garcias and towing our sunken kayak with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley sitting in it back to the Bass River Kayak place because she wouldn’t get out and we couldn’t paddle the sunken kayak.
- The small near-heart attack I had when Bridget told me that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley had told her and their mother Sue about me asking Lauren Elizabeth Kelley to marry me, and fearing how Sue would react. It turns out that Sue really wasn’t surprised or even concerned about my asking Lauren Elizabeth to marry me—in fact, in some ways I think she had been expecting it.
- Watching the sunrise with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley down at the Cape house after talking through the night and having her mother come up and ask us what we wanted for breakfast.
- Taking Lauren Elizabeth Kelley down to New Bedford to go shoot pool and then taking a photo of Lauren Elizabeth Kelley posed beside the painted Jesus on the pizza shop wall before we got dinner.
- Having Lauren Elizabeth Kelley steal my polar fleece out of my sailing bag during a day sail on s/v Pretty Gee.
- Going over to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s house to pick up Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, her sister Bridget and her brother Johnny so we could have a meal at Chipolte’s because I wanted to spend time with three people I have loved all of their lives.
- Waking Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and watching her beautiful smile appear as she realizes I have brought her an iced coffee because I love her.
- Stealing a sip and then a gulp of Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s iced coffee because she loves me and would let me.
- Nibbling on Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s earlobes and inhaling the scent of her hair as I whisper in her ear to wake her up in the morning.
- Laughing as Lauren Elizabeth Kelley brandished twin spatulas at Fire & Ice, when they let her cook on the big grill at Fire & Ice on her 18th birthday.
- Teaching Lauren Elizabeth Kelley how to parallel park and spending hours with her teaching her how to drive so she would be safer on the roads when she finally got her driver’s license.
- Going to the movies and seeing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley at the cinema she works at and getting a big hug and a huge smile from her when she sees me.
- Rubbing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s beautiful but not ticklish feet while she lounged on the sofa at her house before she had to get ready for work.
- Tickling Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and blowing raspberries on her beautiful smooth stomach and holding her in my arms.
- Tasting the salt on Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s skin when I would kiss her stomach.
- Letting Lauren Elizabeth Kelley give me “bunny ears” when getting our photo taken at her 18th birthday party at Fire & Ice in Boston.
- Going with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and talking with her insurance agent and making sure she got the right things on her first car’s insurance policy as her mother Sue asked me to.
- Going over to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s house to make breakfast at 1600 in the afternoon because Bridget and Lauren Elizabeth were hungry and didn’t know what to make. Breakfast is probably Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s favorite meal.
- Playing Scrabble late into the night and watching Lauren Elizabeth Kelley smile as she realizes that she can win—beating me with the words I had taught her.
- Walking into Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s family’s kitchen and stealing a cookie from the batch Bridget just pulled out of the oven and doing my cookie trick for her to see her laugh.
- Talking about projects she wanted to do around the house—like painting her room and converting the porch into a sunroom for her parent’s anniversary in the hopes her parents would install a hot tub in response.
- Bringing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley cheesecakes and watching her try and sneak one and hide the aluminum pie plate in her room as she takes the rest to the kitchen to put in the freezer.
- Listening to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley tell me how she wants to name our children Kelley and Cadence and that the names would work for either boys or girls, and pointing out how it was a good thing she was going to take my last name, since naming a child Kelley Kelley would probably be evil.
- Laughing as Lauren Elizabeth Kelley capsized the O’Day Javelin her mother bought for Bridget—dumping Bridget, Johnny Jr., me and Lauren into the water.
- Laughing as I sent Bridget and Carmen to tickle Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and pounce on her even as she pleads for me to save her. I should have saved her, but I use my powers for good mostly.
- Going grocery shopping with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley because she didn’t like anything they had at the house to eat.
- Sitting and watching Lauren Elizabeth Kelley try on two dozen outfits and seeing how happy she was to fit into a size 3 pair of jeans and enjoying how good they look on her.
- Seeing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley look so cool, confident and beautiful when we went out to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. It was back when she still knew she was smart, capable, strong, beautiful and loved—and she knew I loved her.
- Putting together a car safety kit for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley because she had just bought her first car. The kit contained basic supplies like a first aid kit, a polar fleece blanket, jumper cables, spare fuses for her car’s electrical system, a good flashlight, and a tire pressure gauge that was once my twin brother’s because that is how much I love Lauren Elizabeth Kelley.
- Carrying Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s purse and all the clothes she wanted to try on while out shopping with her. Shelley, Su, Gee and Yoon had done the same thing when shopping.
- Treating my beautiful Lauren Elizabeth Kelley to a Klondike bar at the ice cream truck stopped at the park across from her family’s Cape house in Yarmouth, Mass., with the Garcias.
- Walking Brandy, Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s big white labrador retriever with her. Brandy is the company mascot for Lauren Elizabeth’s father’s company.
- Volunteering to fix her family’s clothes dryer just so I could have an excuse to spend time with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley in the mornings, and doing laundry for my beautiful Lauren Elizabeth Kelley when I finally fixed the dryer.
- Watching the funny faces that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley would make while hamming it up for the camera down at her family’s Cape house. I love how expressive her beautiful face is.
- Walking up behind Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and wrapping my arms around her waist to hug the woman I love and resting my chin on her shoulder and burying my face in her beautiful and silken red hair and breathing in the scent of her hair.
- Taking photos of Lauren Elizabeth Kelley when she isn’t paying attention and making her laugh when she finally realizes what I’ve been doing.
- Telling Lauren Elizabeth Kelley that I wanted to kiss and count every freckle she had—like all the ones you can see on her beautiful, freckled face. I adore Lauren Elizabeth Kelley beyond measure and hope that she fights her addictions and comes home to me soon.
- Trying to count the freckles on Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s beautiful face just before waking her up for the day—wishing I had the courage to kiss them all.
- Getting hugs from Lauren Elizabeth Kelley when I’d bring her souvenirs from the various trips I went on. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley was the only one who got more than one postcard or souvenir from me from any trip. She was always someone I loved to dote on and spoil.
These are all small vignettes of a life we shared together—of years of friendship, love, caring, devotion and loyalty. They are the truth of who we are to each other and what we have meant to each other over the years. I think Lauren Elizabeth’s sister Bridget was right when she said, “You’re perfect for her. No one else will ever love her or care about her the way you do or as much as you do” when I asked Bridget what she thought of me and her older sister as a couple.
These are the memories of the beautiful young girl that I have loved all of her life and the incredible woman she has grown into. These are the memories I will keep and cherish and share of the amazing woman I love and still hope to marry. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is mi querencia and mo chuisle mo chroi. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is the woman whose love for me has healed me.
These memories are part of the many reasons I have found the strength to abide and stay, even when Lauren appears to be nothing more than the drug-addicted alcoholic that has hurt me and lied about us. These memories are part of the reason I still want to be with Lauren Elizabeth Kelley.
This is my gift to Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—the amazing woman I love—for whenever she gains the strength, the courage and the will to fight her addictions and to see the truth once again. My beloved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, is one of the most honest people I have ever known—yet her addictions have robbed her of the truth and made her tell horrific lies.
I hope someday Lauren Elizabeth Kelley will look back and recognize the truth of what I have written here, of what the photos of us show and of the feelings we have shared over her entire life. I hope that she can forgive herself for destroying all that we had and all that she and I could have been together. I hope that we are together the way we should be in our next lives—for I know a love as strong as ours will eventually bring us together again.
I have loved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley all of her life, cared for her all of her life, and considered her a part of my family since she was born. Last summer, I realized that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley was the woman I loved most of all and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her—even if it means walking beside her on her long road to recovery.
I will never betray Lauren Elizabeth Kelley as Ian did. I will never throw Lauren Elizabeth Kelley away as Jarrod did. I will never hurt Lauren Elizabeth Kelley as her father has for years. I have never stopped loving Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, caring for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley or being Lauren Elizabeth Kelley’s friend. I hope that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley will realize the truth some day soon—fight her addictions and come back to being the amazing woman I love so that we can start on the future we had talked about together.
I wish I could let Lauren Elizabeth Kelley see herself as I do for just a day—then she would not let her fears, insecurities or self-doubts give her addictions the power they hold over her. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is capable, strong, smart, sweet, kind, compassionate, generous, gracious, stubborn, feisty and lovable beyond measure—whether she sees the truth of this or not.
I do not know if I will still be here for her—because all I see is the drug-addicted alcoholic that she has been pretending to be for the past seventeen months. If Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—the woman that loves me and talked of starting a future together—is reading this, I would ask that she give me a clear and obvious sign that she still loves me and still want me to be here for her. If she are still here, there is nothing that would make me leave. If all that is left is the pale, pathetic, drug-addicted alcoholic shadow of her true self—then I have no reason to stay.
God Bless you Lauren Elizabeth.
May God watch over you and protect you from all harm—even that you cause yourself.
I hope God gives you the strength to fight your addictions and the wisdom to see the truth about what the alcohol and drugs are doing to you.
I pray that God grants you the serenity and peace you will need to love yourself once again and to forgive yourself for the things your addictions have made you do.
I ask that God helps you find your way back to being the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, feisty, stubborn, strong, and devout woman He wants you to be.
Finally, may He grant you the ability to see yourself as I do and let you remember who we are to each other; let you remember the years of friendship, love and devotion we once shared; and give you the strength to make amends so we can start the future together we talked about last June.
All this in Jesus’s name I pray.