Chris Kelly passed away this morning at 2 am. Chris was born with Cerebral Palsy from his mother’s prenatal drug use. He was adopted by Carol and Dennis. After Glen met Dennis at their church in South Florida, Dennis asked Glen if he would meet his son, Chris. Glen did and the two became friends. Chris’ dependence on a walker wasn’t a problem for either one of them. Glen would simply pick up Chris and throw him over his shoulder as they went wherever they wanted: movie theaters, South Beach, restaurants. Chris was 15 when they met and in an honors program at the Boca Raton High School. Glen, a tad older, and working for First Data in Coral Springs, Florida.
Chris was brilliant. He could relate to anybody he met, could code in all sorts of languages and could fix any issue presented from operating systems malfunctioning to how to hang Glen’s ties in temporary housing to how to have tough conversations with colleagues to finding our way around a city. Chris was our first and most trusted Siri.
I first met Chris when we were in Florida for a wedding and Chris was the best man. He had everything organized, timelined and set up for the couple, complete with a script for Glen to read during their first dance at the reception. Chris was flawless in execution. It was our initial trip to Florida as a couple, and since then, we’ve made 13+ trips to Florida. Most often, we would stay with Chris and his parents. Glen and Chris would spend at least one day to themselves to watch movies, eat Cuban food and discuss all sorts of topics. There would be plenty of giggles and curses drifting out from Chris’ bedroom.
In 2004, Chris’ condition worsened and he was no longer able to use a walker but was confined to a wheelchair. In a matter of months, he was sequestered to his bedroom where he spent the next 10 years of his life. We celebrated the Academy Awards together last year, splitting Veuve Clicquot via FaceTime.
Chris was never ever complained but rather would call to encourage us. When I talked with him last week, he asked if we’d secured our champagne for the Academy Awards as he’d ordered his. Before we hung up, he prayed for Glen and asked what was going on with the farm and when would Gabe be able to start working on it.
Chris’ why was evident: Only the present matters.