Here I am, sitting in a San Diego hotel room at 4:00 in the m0rning, weeping like a baby”¦
Just a few hours ago, the Highland High School Marching Band won first place in the Arizona State Marching Band Championship!
My daughter Lauren is a member of that band.
I just don’t have the vocabulary or the writing skills to express how proud of her I am, and how sad I am that I wasn’t there to witness it.
She and her band mates worked so hard for this championship.
Two hours from now, give or take a few minutes, will mark the one year anniversary of the tragic and senseless death of my daughter’s band mate, Kelly Tracy.
Those that have read here for a year on Phoenix Real Estate Guy may remember that around 6:00am on November 15, 2008, Kelly Tracy ”“ just 16 years of age ”“ was killed by a drunk driver when she was minutes away from joining her band to march in the Gilbert Days parade.
That day was, without doubt, the most emotional day of my life.
My wife Francy and I were volunteer “band parents” the day Kelly was killed and words can not come remotely close to describing what we felt that morning, as we stood in the band room surrounded by 150 kids when they were informed their friend had been killed.
As painful as that day was for us, and trust me it was agonizing, it pales in comparison to what the kids went through and was nothing remotely close to the pain the Tracy family has endured.
And yet, here we are ”“ just one short year later, almost to the day Kelly died ”“ and the band wins an Arizona state championship. On the same field where they marched last year on the day of Kelly’s funeral.
I am not an overly spiritual person, but it’s hard to imagine that Kelly wasn’t looking down from heaven last night, urging her friends on.
And they won. They are state champions!
I know for a fact that Kelly’s friends have not forgotten her. They overcame the sadness from the loss of their friend, and amongst very strong competition, they won a championship. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly was doing back-flips in Heaven when the results were announced that her band were the state champions.
Lauren, I am so proud of you and your friends. I know how hard you all worked for this, and I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you when you won. Of course nothing will ever remove the pain of losing Kelly, but I assure you that she marched with you last night, and she is thrilled beyond belief. Congratulations sweetie!
For more on Kelly and the legacy she leaves behind, read this article from yesterday’s East Valley Tribune ”“ and bring a box of Kleenex..