Mary and John Kelker are moving forward ~ and it's a big deal! I think often of the Kelkers and of course of their daughter Janine who is such a big part of what Buttons of Hope (and I) have become. If it's true (and it is) that you can tell a lot about a person from there friends and family ~ well then Janine Kelker must have been some kind of wonderful person.
This past Saturday morning I walked with Janine's family & friends in the Charlotte Walk Like MADD walkathon to end the scourge of drunk driving. It was a beautiful morning and it was so good to see Janine's Mom Mary truly smile ~ I have seen Mary smile a few times before in he three years I have known her but this time was different ~ she seemed more at peace and while never forgetting, never moving on Mary seemed like she was starting to move forward. We walked a good part of the walk together talking about kids, jobs, the economy, life and of course Janine - knowing full well that the world would be a wondrously better place with Janine walking beside us.
You might ask why someone I never met means so much to me? If I've learned one thing from the hundreds of tragic stories I have embraced the past three years it is this ~ as many gifts as a person has to give in life, there are also gifts that can only be given in death. This is not to say that by any measure death is better than life ~ just that I have seen such strength and purpose in the people who have lost loved ones ~ that the only explanation is those who have gone help us, nurture us all to move forward in peace.
I am glad to have cone to know the Kelkers, proud to call them my friends and I only wish I could have met Janine ~ who inspires me everyday.