Never Forgetting the Victims & Their Families

imageKelly Ann Kamp
Age 20

It was 2:00 AM, December 27, 1991 when we received the phone call that was to change our lives forever.  It was our daughter-in-law, Laurie, informing us that Kelly had been injured in an automobile crash.  All she could tell us was that there were broken bones and that she was in and out of consciousness. We immediately left Pennsylvania for the one and a half-hour trip to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ.  Conversation was held to a minimum as we kept our thoughts and fears to ourselves.  We were ready to face a period of Kelly’s convalescing, but not the finality of her death.

As fate would have it, we took the wrong road to the hospital and passed the smashed car.   Praying that it was not the car Kelly was in, we finally made our way to the hospital.  Upon entering the emergency room, we were met by an OR nurse and our remaining three children.  Being a nurse herself, my wife immediately asked Kelly’s condition and was told poor, very poor.  We were then told by the attending doctor that our Kelly was gone.  There had been too much internal damage to save her.  We heard the words, but could not comprehend them.  This was all unreal.  This does not happen.  Parents do not outlive their children.  But as so many other unfortunate parents have had to face, this was a reality we could not accept.
Along with our remaining children, we were then taken to a room to see Kelly and say our good-byes.  She looked like a beautiful sleeping princess, who just a short time ago was vibrant and full of life.

To know Kelly was a joy!  She loved life, always smiling. Her laugh was infectious.  She was following her dreams, having only five months to go before receiving her degree in Journalism from Northeastern University.  Her goal was to be a television sports reporter.

Now, because of someone’s weakness, she will never fulfill any of her dreams or ambitions, or ours either.  A tremendous void and never-ending ache remains, for we must go on with our lives.   It is six years!  We are “going on” but it isn’t easy.  We all grieve differently.  It’s been difficult for her older sister, not to share, as only sisters can do.  She misses Kelly terribly.  Russ keeps things to himself but will never forget that night.  He was the first one to get to the hospital and saw them wheel her into the OR and heard her labored breathing.  He was the big brother and he felt so helpless.  Glenn was the closest to Kelly.  They each always knew what the other was thinking.  He hasn’t been the same since.  We believe that is why he is still single.  He cannot allow himself to feel that close to someone.  He has sought help and is getting on with his life and love of music, but it has been hard.
Kelly has a niece and nephew since her death and three other nieces and two other nephews she loved and who loved her.  As little as they were when she died, they still ask questions, draw us angels, and just know how to show their tremendous love.   If it weren’t for our family and our faith in God, we would be basket cases.

Submitted by Pat and Russ Kamp