Monday, August 27, 2007

Time

It has been over a week since Keith’s passing and still I find it difficult to breathe. We are surrounded by constant reminders of Keith at home, from his artwork, to his games, to the clothes in his closet and the food in the cupboards. It is good and it is hard at the same time. Time heals they say and yet the irony is that our newfound appreciation of time recognizes just how fleeting it is indeed. Extending every moment, especially time spent with loved ones has become so important to us. Which brings me to Scott.

There are so many things to say about Scott it is hard to know where to start. So I’ll just ramble on aimlessly with the usual parental license. First, we are so proud of how Scott handled this past year. He was always there when Keith needed him or more precisely when Keith wanted him, which was all the time. He never stood back or changed his demeanor despite Keith's illness, he just kept being the great big brother Keith always knew and admired. Even when Scott learned Keith would not get better, he maintained his remarkable composure never telegraphing to Keith that anything was amiss to the very end. Scott is off to high school on Wednesday, marking another milestone in his life and we wish him well.

During this past summer Scott had a great swim season. He set some high goals for himself and by the end of the summer had accomplished what he had not been able to do over the previous 8 summer swim seasons: achieve a gold time standard and qualify for the county meet. He did this in not one individual event, but three: butterfly, individual medley and freestyle. It was the most impressive display of hard work and determination Josie and I have ever witnessed from Scott (with the possible exception of leveling his W.o.W. character to 70). There is no question that Tyler and all of the Park Pool coaches and families had a huge impact on Scott this year, pushing him to his physical and mental limits. His friend Brian also lit the competitive fire in him as they traded fastest times in their age group for most of the year. But something tells me that Scott was also pushing himself for Keith, even quietly acknowledging to his mom after earning his first gold time ever that he wanted to do it because “Keith couldn’t swim this year.” Scott may not be a man of many words, but the few he speaks carry a lot of weight.

I hope any and all Park Pool readers out there understand how important you have been in keeping our lives centered and on track during the past year. From get-well banners, to one-on-one support you were there for us. The Wentzel family deserves special recognition from us for organizing the Swim-a-Thon earlier in the season with the final tally of over $9,000 raised to benefit Children’s Hospital Oakland. An amazing community within our community.

On September 9th following the memorial service that starts at 2pm there will be a casual reception. We thought it might be interesting and fun to post in the reception hall after the service some of your remembrances of Keith. The idea goes something like this: Write a couple of lines starting with “Dear Keith…” recalling a memorable occasion or fun recollection of Keith’s life. You can simply post your note to this blog entry and we will print them on cards and pin them up on the bulletin board(s) in the hall allowing us all to share and celebrate the fun and animated life that he enjoyed. If you prefer to be less public about it, you could simply bring your note to the service (please try to keep it to letter size or smaller) and we will see that it is pinned up. We thought this might be a good way for those of you who want to share a few words with Keith and for those of you who might be wish to be here but are unable to attend to participate in a meaningful way.

The photograph below is one of the last I captured of Keith. It will always be one of my favorites even though he is somewhat out of focus. I can still clearly see in his eyes the care and affection he had for Kirby and the mutual comfort and trust that Kirby found in Keith’s presence. They were an inseparable pair.

Kirby, like the rest of us, is still trying to find his footing without Keith.













(click to enlarge)

28 comments:

Mary said...

I think death alters time. There seems to be a before death time and an after death time. They never seem to blend or fold into one another. It's as if time or how we mark time is divided. I also think times passage is either soft or hard. I'm sure time is hard for you right now. It is my prayer that it becomes soft and easy soon like a warm balmy day you don't want to turn over to the night quite yet

John Fiero said...

Dear Keith:

I could pick My Day at TOPS, or the OMPA Finals, or your performance in Honk. But for me, it has to be the end of the year band concert at the Wagner Ranch Nature Area. I was sitting right in front of you. Sure, there were several percussionists. But only you REALLY knew the beats. You led the band, and they were happy to follow.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I never thought I would experience the loss of a student. But here I am, shocked and saddened to learn of Keith’s passing. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. My thoughts are with all of you in this difficult time and I pray that peace comes to you soon.

Dear Keith,

A memory that will forever bring a smile to my face is the day at the end of 4th grade when you won the math league contest. As you stood on the stage and accepted your award from Mrs. Howard, your fellow room 15 classmates (most likely led by Trevor and Joey) began chanting “Keith, Keith, Keith, Keith, Keith”. Their enthusiasm quickly caught on and soon over one hundred 4th and 5th graders were chanting your name. Like a drummer in a rock band you raised your arms over your head and enjoyed every second of their adoration.

Teachers don’t get as many “proud parent” moments as actual parents – and for me this was one of the best. I was so proud to be your teacher and to have a classroom full of such energetic, supportive students. I know that that love and support for you has continued and even been amplified over the past year. Your life touched thousands of people and taught us all an important lesson. Chant the names of people you love more often – shower them with affection whenever possible – and enjoy every second of it.

Carolyn Sood

Chris Kelley said...

Dear Keith,

I remember taking you, Scott, Bryn and Cole to the Wild Waves amusement park in Seattle when you were about 5. Cole, who is your age, was learning to read. You and Cole wanted a treat. There was a candy shop in the distance, but the sign read, “Confections.” Thinking I had the upper hand on two early readers, I said something like, “Sorry, I don’t know where we can get that.” Without missing a beat, you pointed at the shop sign and said, “Right there!” That was the day my eyes were opened to your love of reading and your keen observance of the world around you.

With much love,

Uncle Chris

Chris Kelley said...

Dear Keith,

I remember always losing to you on video games.

With much love,

Uncle Chris

Chris Kelley said...

Dear Keith,

I remember cruising the woods, streets and sidewalks of the Belvedere Club in Charlevoix, Michigan – with you and your cousins in Annie and Grandpa Don’s golf cart. You had a big smile and a somewhat devilish twinkle in your eyes as we’d set off. We only had a few close calls, but we won’t tell Grandpa Don, will we?

With much love,

Uncle Chris

Chris Kelley said...

Dear Keith,

I remember visiting the Monterey Bay with you. I remember climbing on the rocks, looking for “ooey-gooeys” and other weird and wild sea creatures. I remember having a fun battle with you, your Dad, brother and cousins, using the boulders as cover from the globs of seaweed tossed back and forth. I especially remember the massive waves that crashed against the rocks, sending up huge sprays of water – and how you were the most daring in how close to the waves you’d go.

With much love,

Uncle Chris

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,
I feel so lucky to have spent a year with both you and Scott! And your Mom was such a great volunteer in our classroom! One day I saw Josie looking at our bulletin board over the cubbies at a display the class had done about our "Dads." (We were studying the letter "D."} Each child had drawn a picture of his Dad, and dictated a story about him. I apologized to Josie because I had somehow misplaced yours, but I was sure it would turn up. She solved the mystery for me. It seems you were so proud of your effort you had taken it home, and it was proudly hanging on the door to Steve's office! You were a budding artist even then! Josie returned it to me in your Friday Folder so it could join the others on display for a bit.

I also have fond memories of you as "Papa Bear" in our class Opera, and I was always proud of the work you did that year in your Science Journal--remember the snail races and the giant worms!

I don't know if it's possible, but maybe you could send some heavenly vibes to Michigan. . .they seem to be having some problems without your "Magic Cap!"
Love you lots, Mollie

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

When I remember you, I always get a picture of your mom, too.

I saw you most in first and fourth grades, when you and Lena were in class -- and even long ago on swim team -- together.

I see a first-grade version of you hopping out of the pool, and I see your mom rising to wrap a towel around you. She was always on the bench, waiting for you.

If I think of you in Mrs. Sood's class, I think first of your mom standing outside the classroom with me and a group of moms, everyone sending their kid off for the first day of school.

There you are playing in the band, and there's Josie at the performance.

With my little girl just a baby that year, I did not get into the classroom much, so I don't really remember you at your desk in Mrs. Sood's. What I remember is your mom at your desk during Back to School Night.

When I think of you in Honk!, I see you afterward, with your mom standing beside you. She had that quiet, low-key pride shown by parents whose kids do remarkable things all the time.

Your mom was always looking out for you. When Lena was new to Wagner, it took some effort to get to know the kids who all seemed to know each other very well from kindergarten. Mrs. Mico-Smith suggested that Lena should invite some classmates over to play. I asked her who she wanted, and one of the first kids she named was you. Lena was used to playing with boys as well as girls, and she could see that you were someone she wanted to know better. I left a phone message for your mom, inviting you over. A few days later, your mom called back and explained very politely that you just didn't do playdates at girls' houses. You were a boy's boy, as a matter of policy. That made me laugh then, and still does, but I am sure you were seriously grateful to have your mom protecting you!

Anyway, when I think of you, I think of your mom protecting you. And I think I know why she cried during Charlotte's Web. I don't think it had much to do with the fate of a computer-generated spider. You probably guessed that. I think she cried because your mom thought like Charlotte did: she would have done absolutely anything to save you.

In a town full of much-loved children, you were extraordinarily loved. Even from the sidelines (as a girl's mom!), I could see that.

Lori Patel

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,
Tonight I asked my son Will, who was at Wagner with you in the same age group but never in the same class, whether or what he remembered of you and he said: "I remember him as walking around the playground, always in deep conversation with another kid."
"So he was an old soul?" I asked Will.
"Moooooooooom," Will said impatiently, being somewhat of an old soul himself: "he was the smartest kid at Wagner Ranch."

The Lakes

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith:

The phrase "...and a little child shall lead them" keeps rolling around in my head.

I have noted that the number of visits to your two web sites is just under 60,000. There are numerous small towns of that size, which has made me consider the wonder created by so many people hoping for, pulling for, praying for, and working together for a specific cause. And, even more significant is the fact that so many disparate people, many of whom do not know one another, are now and forever bonded by this experience.

And thus, "a little child did lead them". Thank you, Keith. Sleep well.

Love, The Hunting Family

Heather Raser said...

Dear Kelly Family,

On behalf of OIS, we would like to extend our most heart-felt sympathy to your family on the loss of your son and brother, Keith. We at OIS did not get the chance to meet Keith, but have heard wonderful stories about him from his brother Scott, fellow students, parents, and staff memebers in the school community. We know Keith will live on in the hearts and memories of so many. You are all in our hearts and we wish you comfort, peace, and strength that are brought to you through your own precious memories.

With warm regards,
Heather Raser, Lynn Dodge, Michael Randall, Jeanne Cusack, and Ron Langer
(OIS Counselors and Administrators)

Heather Raser said...

Dear Kelley Family,

On behalf of OIS, we would like to extend our most heart-felt sympathy to your family on the loss of your son and brother, Keith. We at OIS did not get the chance to meet Keith, but have heard wonderful stories about him from his brother Scott, fellow students, parents, and staff memebers in the school community. We know Keith will live on in the hearts and memories of so many. You are all in our hearts and we wish you comfort, peace, and strength that are brought to you through your own precious memories.

With warm regards,
Heather Raser, Lynn Dodge, Michael Randall, Jeanne Cusack, and Ron Langer
(OIS Counselors and Administrators)

Valerie said...

Dear Keith,

While you & Scott were staying with us in Seattle about 5 years ago, we went to Wild Waves, an amusement and water park. Late in the day we were all in a long line for a river ride, and suddenly I realized you were gone. Scott & Cole didn’t know where you were, but finally another kid in line pointed and said, “He went that way.” Realizing the child was pointing in the general direction of our chairs and towels, I ran there as fast as I could. The location wasn’t particularly close – down and around several buildings. I realized as I ran, however, that I wasn’t really that worried. I knew you wouldn’t just wander off – you no doubt had a purpose in mind, and you probably knew exactly what you were doing. I was100% sure you could find your way, even if other big people wondered why a little boy was walking around on his own. And of course I found you at our chairs, getting your goggles.

Love,
Aunt Valerie

Cole said...

Dear Keith,
I remember having fun sailing and playing croquet and badminton with you in Charlevoix. We set off smoke bombs at your house in Orinda, rode bikes and skateboards, and played video games. I’ll miss you.

Love,
Cole

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

Although you were only 11 years old, you are a hero to me.

Because of your diagnosis, I went to the doctor for a nagging problem and was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Because of your strength and courage, I faced my own treatment with as much strength and courage as I could muster. Because of your bravery, I learned to prioritize what's really important in life. Because of your spirit, I learned to appreciate the simple things in life.

Our outcomes were very different but I will never forget how you, a little boy, became a huge inspiration to me and my family.

Thank you, Keith!

Jonas Kellner

The Capdevielles said...

Dear Keith,
You and Bryan were on the same soccor team and around the age of six. I remember watching all of you run in a flock, after the ball, up and down the field. Adam decided to pull down is uniform to show his underwear to his teammates. Bryan, immediately, pulled down his shorts, as did you and I think Connor. You were all so busy comparing the characters on your underwear that not only did the other team actually score a goal, but the coach had to come over and physically prompt each of you to chase the ball. Off all of you went, in a flock, after the ball. Such enthusiasm, joy and spontaneity were displayed that day, as it has been everyday since. We carry you in our hearts today and always.
Love,
Robin Capdevielle

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

You were one of James' good friends at Wagner Ranch. Our family got to know you when you came over for parties and sleepover. You brought your octopus and dolphin. You and James had the biggest laugh watching Mr. Bean episodes.

James enjoyed playing quietly in your house in July and wanted to have another play date with you. We were too late when we returned from Asia. We questioned why we worried so much of bringing you germs that we did not visit you more often.

Keith, we will always remember you, a very intelligent, talented and lovely child. James will always cherish the memory of a very dear friend.

Love,
Kevin, Monita, Jeremy & James Martin

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

When Wylie told me his friend was at Children's hospital, and could I go visit you, I must admit I was a bit anxious. After all, you didn't know me and I might be intruding. How is a little boy to act meeting someone elses Gram, especially when he feels so sick. Well, I'm glad I made that trip across the "bridge" at Children's. Your Dad always greeted me with a warm hug, and I even got to have you as a patient. I felt I was caring for a very important and famous star. You were incredibley brave and co-operative.

This was not a stuggle you asked for, but you handled it with grace and wisdom. Who would know that such a small boy would touch so many.

I'll always remember the last time I saw you at the O.P.P. skit night. You gave a tenative wave of acknowledgement and a sweet little half smile..."QUITE A GUY"! You will be missed by so many.
Fondly,
Judy Roberts

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

I will always remember the fun that you, Scott, and I had at OPP. I recall you always coming to practice with a smile on your face and never complaining. You would destroy both the competition in the pool and me in card games. We are all deeply saddened by your passing, but you leave us with great, happy memories that we will cherish forever.

-Brian Friel

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

I remember last season and the season before that too, you, Brian and Scott would always be on W.O.W. together, and playing magic cards. You had a lot of happy times. Then when you got sick, we all looked up to you, because Keith, you may not be Superman or Spiderman, but you are Keith, and that's the real hero in our town.

Love,
Hannah Friel

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

We will always remember your sweet quiet nature, your great sense of humor, and the amazing strength and bravery you showed in your battle against cancer. You were an inspiration to us all and our lives are better for having known you. It is incredible to us that you managed to get a best time in the 2006 OMPA when no one knew how sick you really were. From then on you never stopped fighting for your life and always believed you would get well.
Who would have guessed that such bravery and determination could come from someone so young and gentle. You will always be in our hearts and minds. We will miss you but will never forget you!

Love,
Kathe and Dan Friel

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

You and our son were friends. He would be writing to you if he only knew how to tell you he misses you and your friendship. Your absence is hard for him but we're sure he's learning from it and will cherish his friends all the more in the future.

Saying thank you seems awkward but you should know how much your courage has taught us about life, family, and love.

Thank you, Keith

Your friend's parents.

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,
I remember at your ninthe birthday party,and it was at O.P.P.We couldn't go in to the pool because somebody took a dump in it.We had a bunch of balloon type things that we shot up into the air.We made a contest about who could shoot the balloon highest into the air.You beat every body by like 20 feet.After that we all had cake and icecream.Then we gave you are preasents,and I gave you a little remote control black and white robot.At the end of your party you gave all of us comics.
One of the things you inspired me most in is drumming.I remember when I was in fouthgrade sitting on the ground watching the fourth and fith grade Band play,and I saw Keith playing on the drums he was even better than the 5th graders.Kieth I will never forget you.(;

Sasquatch A.K.A Bryan Capdevielle

latimerfamily said...

Dear Keith,
I have many fond memories of you and your family. Many of them have to do with OPP. One in particular stands out to me. It was in 2006 and you were swimming with Nick as a 9-10. The pool had just re-opened and it was one of our few home meets. Nick had told me that he was swimming an event in heat 2 lane 6. I was busy chatting with other parents when I realized Nick's heat was starting. I stopped chatting and began cheering Nick on in my extra loud voice. I rushed over as the race was ending to give Nick his towel all along the pool I am yelling and cheering and thinking what an amazing swim Nick has had. I got to the end of the lane and wondered why Josie was standing there until you popped out of lane 6. Nick came out of lane 2. I have a confession to make... I am pretty sure I cheered you on a lot over the many summers. From a distance you and Nick looked very alike standing on those blocks.

You are a very special person who has touched many lives. You have reminded us that life is happening all around and all anyone has to do is just be present.

Thank you Keith for sharing your life with us.

Gretchen, Jim, Katie, Nick and Jayne Latimer

John said...

Dear Keith,

I remember your amazing Brio train layouts, twisting and winding around the living room.

I remember your passion for video games of all shapes and sizes… Pokemon, W.O.W. and Wii. I remember how you shared your Pokemon expertise with Jack when he was just getting started.

I remember when you and your dad came to our house in Palo Alto to help build a new sandbox. You cleverly managed to let your dad do most of the work while you and Jack spent the afternoon swimming in an inflatable pool.

I remember being with you in Charlevoix. Playing badminton with you and your cousins. Playing at the beach and making smores. But mostly I remember your devilishly challenging croquet courses – the trickier the wicket placement the better as far as you were concerned.

I will always remember your “upside down smile” and your dry wit.

I will always remember you.

Love,

Uncle John.

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

I hope God is taking very good care of you. I miss playing croquet with you.

Love, Matt Kelley

Anonymous said...

Dear Keith,

I miss playing croquet with you. I loved the little hill in the backyard in Charlevoix. It was really fun and hard.

Thanks for letting me use the Pokemon book.

I miss you.

Love, Jack Kelley