Monday, November 2, 2009


I lost a friend today. Though as it turns out I lost her a long time ago.

Let me backtrack a bit, I often find myself on facebook. It's easy to find out what the scoop is with friends lately, easy to nurse with one hand and type with the other. It's easy to open up my netbook on the floor while Sam plays Rolly Polly next to me. Recently Facebook revamped the format, and there's a little column in the corner that shows 2 pictures, 1 of someone they think may be a friend, and another picture of a friend you already have that hasn't been on much. It may say something like, So and So does not have a profile picture, it wants you to write to them, or whatever.

This morning, it pulled up a picture of a friend of mine, and it read, "Kelly Rossi
You haven't talked on Facebook lately."

True, I thought. I should hop on and see what's going on with her. I did. And there were these really cryptic messages from her other Friends. The first one read, "6 months, miss you and love you more than anything." As I kept reading, I started to get very confused, there were posts from people like, "I miss you." "I love you." "I saw a preview for a movie, and it reminded me of you." I started to worry. What happened? Did she move to Arizona or Guam or something? Then I saw it.

Kelly was in a car accident this morning.

I followed the link, to an old article, titled Driver Killed in Early Morning Crash. Apparently, she went off the road and crashed into a tree driving at 2 in the morning, without a seatbelt. People our age are not supposed to die. It's Just a Tragedy. I guess the best I can say is that I KNOW where she is. She knew God, Jesus was her Lord and Savior, and it was blessedly fast.

I know that there are people out there who knew Kelly Pedersen, or rather Kelly Pedersen Rossi. She went to Butler from fall of 1994 to Spring of 1996. Though I don't think anyone I know kept in touch with her much beyond her Butler days. That's why I had no clue until today. It was 6 months ago. 6 months, and I had no clue. What kind of friend am I, that I had no clue for 6 months? We had no Mutual Friends. At least none that Facebook knew of. There was no one that could tell me.

It's really spooky. I had been thinking so much about her lately, just the last 2 weeks, I was scanning in a bunch of photos from back when we were in college. Kelly and I met at a BU mixer. It was a thing for Freshman, but I was told to go and make an appearance by my sorority. I was SO Thankful to find a friend I knew, Jason. He'd met a couple freshman that were really nice, from his dorm. Lindsay was going to be in the Marching Band with us too, and her friend Kelly from down the hall, well, before the night was even over we talked her into joining the Marching Band. She was put on the Drum Line with me. I started out on bass drum, but due to an injury, I was on Cymbals with Kelly 2 games into the season. We had so much fun. All the work went right out the window, because we had so much fun together. She really brought Spirit to the games! She brought out the loud and boisterous in me. We hadn't known each other very long, but we just got along swimmingly.

We hung out all the time. She started to rush Tau Beta Sigma, my band sorority. She was going to be my "Little Sis", but she ended up dropping it. It didn't stop us from being together all the time, or being goofy. She had this wild side, this personality I just Loved being around.

I don't use the phrase, "Best Friend" lightly, but we quickly became Best Friends. This was us dressed for Marching Band performace for Halloween 1994.

She kept telling me I should date Eric. HA! I told her, Pashaw. But when a few more friends told me, I mentioned it to her, and she kept telling me, yelling at me really. She was hard to say No to. Then she set up this terribly teenage angst thing, well, Eric and I started dating. We were a big group, we paired off and began dating. Kelly and Jason didn't work out, but they tried. Here are Eric and I, and Jason and Kelly. But in this photo we were getting ready for a hot dinner date and Christmas at the Zoo, before all going home for the holidays.

Christmas 1994, at the Tri Delt house. They made exceptions for Kelly for the no freshman rule.

She was going to join as soon as Open Rush kicked in. She knew she wanted to be in our house. We had told a number of our friends not to bother with Formal Rush if they knew they wanted our house. Unbeknownst to us, there was an edict out, that the day that we got 0 rushees was the day we closed our doors. I told Kelly to save her money and spend her break at home. She worked in a coffee shop (this was before Starbucks went so national) and wanted to work. We got 0 Rushees and They shut us down.
Kelly and I lived in separate dorms the next year, and we lost touch. She joined the Flag Corp in Band. I was trying my darndest not to get my butt kicked out of Pharmacy school, so there wasn't as much after hours play as there had been my sophomore year. She had been having physical problems, her lupus was flaring up, and there were a few emotional ones to go along with it. (I guess another good thing is that she didn't have to suffer like so many can with that disease, she went fast.) We each took a semester off in Spring 96. I came back to Butler, and she didn't. She transferred up to Western Michigan and finished a degree in lighting design. She was living back in Chicago, and though we emailed periodically, it was hard to keep in touch. She came down a couple times, I went up a couple times, it just wasn't quite the same. Yet, when we got together, we would laugh and tell stories, and it was a little like old times. Without the sleep deprivation. We weren't quite Best Friends anymore, but we were Friends. We will always be Friends.

We kept in touch and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. Always laughing and smiling. She was beautiful.

She had a beautiful heart. She found God when she moved back home, and joined a church that in which she was finally comfortable, Willow Creek. She used her gifts in Lighting Design to help with services. She volunteered with the kids. She used her gifts in the kitchen to help out, and eventually was starting her own catering business. She met a boy named Steve Rossi at the church, and they got along so swimmingly, it became clear he was The One for her. We flew from L.A. out to Chicago for their wedding in 2000.

I think they lived happily ever after. She was the first Barrista I ever knew, she was whipping up beverages before Starbucks went national working for Gloria Jean's in college. She was determined to find some drink for me, content that I enjoyed her Fancy Cocoas. After marrying, she part timed helping out at Church and she was working at Starbucks part time too.

The Last time I saw Kelly in person, besides on Facebook, was in November of 2006. Chris was 10 months old, and Eric had been sent up to Chicago for a Microsoft Conference, and we tagged along. It was only 2 days or three days, but one evening we went to Kelly and Steve's for dinner. That was the last time I saw her in person.

And now she's gone.

Kelly, you were my friend, for a while my Best Friend, but always a Good Friend. I'm sorry that I wasn't a better friend to you. But I know where you are now, no longer in pain, but happy forever, and with your Father. I'll miss you Kelly.


Unknown said...

I'm really sorry for your loss and you are a great friend. Its really sad that you found out the way you did. I really wish someone anyone would have contacted you. Life happens though and people lose touch with each other. That does not make you a bad friend. I know that she is looking down on you right now. Your friend knows how much you love her. I really hope that you can find some closure. ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

It was very poignant and touching. I too remember that crazy freshman year and I often wondered what happened to everyone. -Lindsay

Mary said...

Cathy, I'm so sorry to hear the news!! THANK YOU for posting this - especially the pictures - and especially the last one - it warms my heart to see how really happy (and healthy!) she was!

And have I told you're a wonderful friend. Please don't ever doubt that. We see each other what, every 3 years or so? And still you are able to make it seem like mere days have passed. It takes a good friend to be able to do that!

Love you, lady.

SuperSillyAunt said...

I know what you are going through. I have lost many, many friends to car accidents. It is a very difficult thing to go through. Just lean on God...he will pull you through. Time will help too, but the pain will never go away completely. I still cry over losing my friend Lisa when that anniversary or her birthday rolls around, or if I just think about that awful night. Losing friends is never matter how long it has been. I will be praying for peace for you!

JenCook said...

Thank you for posting this lovely tribute. I went to High School with Kelly. I was thinking about her today and decided to google her, just to see what was out there.
And I came across your blog.
Great pictures- great memories...she was always smiling.....

Anonymous said...

I knew Kelly at WMU. SHe was very sweet and kind. For the heck of it, I was looking up people who I once knew to catch up on facebook etc, and I heard the news. Tragic. Thank you for posting the pictures and telling the story. I didn't know a lot except from your blog. Beautiful and I am so thankful for your post.

Anonymous said...

I went to high school with Kelly too, and remember her fun spirit at band practice. Thank you for writing such a wonderful tribute to her. I didn't know that she was gone until I saw her name listed as those who had passed away on a FB high school page. Bless you for being a good friend and honoring her memory.