We human beings tend to gravitate towards other human beings whom we perceive to be like minded or in some way moving in the same direction. Fans of a sports team will sit together in a bar and cheer for the team with one another, even if they are strangers in all other regards. There is a shared happiness in this, to find someone who is excited about something special and we humans crave it.
For my part, I tend to listen more closely to the lives of writers. They do not have to be famous or revered or even published for that matter, the process of creativity is my sports team that I cheer for, it is the commonality sought in other humans, and like other humans, I mourn when one of my team members dies, or worse, is murdered.
To lose a sixteen-year-old to murder is shockingly horrible or at least it should be and the wound is deeper in the heart when the murder is mindless, senseless, and utterly stupid. This year marks the first year that has passed where she has been dead longer than she was alive. That’s all I have to say about the death of Kelly Fleming.
Kelly Fleming was a very young woman who was a sister, a daughter, a student, and she wanted to be a writer. She wore a crooked smile, like the one in the photo, yet by from what I have read about her, she was ultimately a happy person. She wrote stories that were dark yet they tended towards happy endings. She handled the spark of creativity with love and with respect.
Ask a fan of a sports great what that person was like and you’re likely to get a list of accomplishments or great games or some memory, but there will be no substance of the true soul of that person for fans are still strangers and I wouldn’t pretend that I knew Kelly Fleming or that I know anything about her personally.
What I want for you to do today, right now in fact, is to understand that you lost Kelly Fleming too. We will never know what she might have been. We will never know what she could have written.
What I am going to ask you to do is not seek out how or why or anything about the death of Kelly Fleming today. I want you to look for her life, shortened as it might have been, and I want you to find some happiness that she brought the world in just sixteen years, and in some way, I want you to celebrate that life.
If not Kelly, then find some joy, find a way, a reason, a glimpse, something that will draw out of the darkness, some light, that might be found, can be found, that we must find, today, in the lives of those who died with her. Mention it here, somewhere else, anywhere else, say the name aloud of someone who was taken from us all and in this find a way to keep that smile alive.
Honor the that life not with sorrow, but with life.