August 9, 2020

A Tribute To Kelly

Thursday morning my phone rang and it was my Dad. It's uncharacteristic of my Dad to call during the work day but I didn't think too much of it. We chatted for a few minutes and then his tone changed and I knew instantly something was wrong. He proceeded to tell me that my cousin Kelly had been found dead that morning. He died of a unintentional drug overdose. I was shocked. Less than two weeks prior my Dad had delivered similar news, my great uncle had passed. I was not expecting at all to hear that my cousin had passed away too.

I've cried a lot the last few days, as I have tried to process, comprehend and imagine a world without my cousin, Kelly Russell Noack. Like most of us Kelly had his challenges in life. He struggled with drug addiction and his mental health.

In life we find what we are looking for be it good or bad. I've been blessed to be able to see the good in others. When you strip away the drugs and the mental health challenges my cousin had a heart of gold. It is those golden things that I choose to hold onto and remember. 

Megan, Me & Kelly circa 2006 at a family reunion on the Oregon coast.
Megan, Me & Kelly circa 2006 at a family reunion on the Oregon coast.

When I was a little girl our families lived relatively close to each other. I have a lot of memories at the Purdy house. I remember Kelly's drums downstairs. I remember the trampoline in the yard and all the flips and tricks Kelly could do. Kelly was constantly trying to convince my brother Jake to sell him Contra III for SNES. We spent a lot of time playing video games together.

Boy could he skate, when I say skate I'm referring to aggressive skating. He inspired Jake to take up the hobby too. 

My Mom cut his very curly dark hair one day. He picked up the hair off the floor and held it up to his face like it was a beard. 

Kelly was privileged to be bit by a shark while serving a mission in Florida. He caught a shark while fishing one day and put it in his backpack. Unbeknownst to him the shark wasn't dead and it bit him through his backpack.

I'm not sure when he got it or why he had it, but Kelly had a shark in a jar (No, it wasn't the one who bit him). At some point in time he gave that shark in a jar to Jake and Jake proudly displayed it in his own room for years. I'm not sure what happened to it after that. 

When I was about 11 years old Kelly's family moved to Southeastern Idaho so we didn't get to see them as often.

One winter we went down to visit them. Kelly took all of us kids to the sand dunes to go sledding. On the way home, we sat in our sleds and held on the bumper of the van as Kelly drove us home on the ice covered roads. That probably wasn't one of the smartest things we did but it sure made for some fun.

When I was a teenager Kelly told me, "The prettiest girls are from Puyallup" a complient I will never forget.

I have lots of memories swimming at Green Canyon Hot Spring, skiing at Kelly Canyon, cliff jumping at a family reunion, going out for birthday celebrations and visiting him at work (Brady's and T.G.I.Friday's). 

When Kelly was there painful massages were freely given, along with the best hugs. Kelly was a softy and loved everyone and everyone loved Kelly. His last words to me were, "I love you!" and I know he meant it. I can't imagine a world without him in it, but I know that he is in a better place. Until we meet again Kelly, I love you.