Our ward lost a stalwart member last week. Sister Kelly Lamb passed away on May 18, due to complications following a stroke. Kelly was only 47 years old and in fabulous health. The news shocked our ward. It has taken me five days to decide to write this post. Being that she and I were not especially close friends, and perhaps the grief I have felt is not as acute as others may be feeling, I have wondered whether it would be appropriate to write a tribute to Kelly. In the end, though, I decided that because I have felt grief and spent so much time thinking about her in the past several days, it might be therapeutic for me to write.
The first time I remember talking to Kelly on a one-on-one basis was last summer. She and her husband, Scott, invited our little family over for lunch after church one Sunday afternoon. After being in her home that first time, I was impressed by her warmth and hospitality. I felt like we were friends, even though she was 20 years older than me. After lunch, she went to the basement and got buckets of cars, which she spread across her family room floor for my boys to play with. I remember thinking, as she watched with obvious delight as my babies played on her floor, that she was going to be a wonderful grandmother someday. Unfortunately, that was not to be for her in this life.
When I was a ward missionary, I visited her again in her home. Her husband is a pilot, and was away at the time. Again, I was impressed by how comfortable and relaxed I felt in her home and presence. The visit with Kelly was much longer than a typical missionary visit; I was at her home for about an hour and a half that night. We just chatted and laughed and had a good time together--just like we were old friends.
When our ward was split about three months ago, my speculation was that Kelly would be the new Relief Society President. She seemed like the natural choice--friendly to all and beloved by everyone. I even told Kelly herself that I thought it would be her. I remember how she just laughed. Obviously the Lord had other plans for her.
The night before her stroke, I found myself again at the Lamb's home. Kelly hosted a relief society gardening activity, and once again slipped into the role of accommodating and hospitable host that was so becoming to her. As I thanked her at the close of the activity, I couldn't have known that that would be the last time I would ever speak to her.
The following evening, Kelly had a stroke. On Friday May 13, our ward held a special fast for her. Just one week following the stroke, she was gone. I spent much of last Wednesday afternoon and evening in tears, crying for her daughter, who graduated high school on that very day, and for her son, who is engaged to be married this summer, and who now won't have his mom with him on that special day. Most of all, I cried for Scott, so young, and now alone.
This passing of one so noble and righteous has had a great impact on me. It has left me wondering what legacy I would leave behind if I were to pass away unexpectedly. Am I ready? Are there things in my life left unresolved?
If there is a light in this situation, it is what this tragedy has done for our fledgling ward. As I mentioned, our ward is just three months old, and I feel like this situation has unified us as we have come together in grief and sympathy.
Kelly's funeral is this afternoon. I am anxious to be able to hear more about Kelly's life today, and I am grateful for the example of Christ-like love, kindness, humility, and charity that she has taught me.
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