I read the news yesterday. A car accident in the Eastern Cape. Your wife in hospital, her condition unknown. And you…well, you’re gone.
Kim, it’s been 27 years since I saw you last. We were both in high school then, and met at a business school collaboration.
Our only contact since then has been Facebook and even then, we rarely interacted. Still, there was a connection.
So much has happened in the 27 years since that high school event. We’ve both left university, found our true selves, came out to the world – you married your true love. I’m still trying to love myself.
So do we really know each other? I guess your close friends and family will say no. Maybe you would say the same.
But Kim, your death has really affected me, even though it’s 27 years we last spoke. It really has.
I haven’t stopped thinking about you since I read the tragic news.
You see, back in 1991 I was a frightened, shy young boy hiding behind jokes and humour, hoping no one would see the real me. I felt like the real me didn’t belong.
But you saw me. And you made me feel welcome, and part of the team. When you were around, there was space for everyone at the table. We all had a voice.
Kim, you breathed love into the world, and joy. You made us all belong.
It’s been 27 years; I’ve never forgotten how special you made me feel. There must be a multitude of people since then who have had that same light shine on them thanks to you, and I am sad that there won’t be anymore shy youngsters who question their place in this world who will get to meet you and know deep in their souls that they truly belong, and always have done.
I am not sad for you, you have passed on to a place where pain and loss have no meaning. I am sad for Karen and Guy and your mom and dad. I am sad for your colleagues and your students, and the ones who won’t ever get to meet you. But mostly, I am so damn grateful that I – me, little old Dave Luis – got to meet you all those years ago.
Thank you for your life, Kim Jelley.
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