February 15, 2009
Today is a very sad day. My brother, Kelly, died. He has always been part of my world since I came into it. Now there is an emptiness.
At about 2:30 this afternoon, Pawnee Jewell called with the sad news. She was shaken up and wept as she told us about Kelly.
As we understand it, Kelly was camping out on some land owned by his friend, Terry Bishop. Kelly had recently obtained a flock of sheep. Pawnee said the Kelly told her that it was the happiest and most peaceful time of his life. He spent his time digging postholes and putting in fencing. Then his horse needed a shoe replacement. As Kelly was putting on the horseshoe, one of the nails went in crooked, so he had to take the shoe off. As he was about to put it on again, he felt a large pain in his chest. He collapsed on the ground and could not get up. His dogs came over and laid on him to comfort him. He was there for hours until someone found him. I feel sad that he lay there in pain, and I was not there to help him.
I think it was Terry who found him. Kelly refused to go to the hospital. Terry took him to a motel. The dogs did not like the motel, so they went back to the camp. Usually when Kelly gets sick, he fasts to make his body well. After the heart attack, Kelly fasted for seven days. Pawnee called him often. Kelly was very weak.
He told his friends that if he died, he did not want a funeral. He did not want his friends and family members to drive all the way to Presidio for funeral services. He told them that he wanted to be buried right away.
This morning at 5 AM, in the presence of his loyal friend, Terry, Kelly left this earth on which he had lived for 85 years. (His birthday was last Monday, Feb. 9). Terry said that he was holding Kelly’s hand as Kelly peacefully slipped away. He was buried six and a half hours later at 11:30 AM near the Rio Grande, along which he spent much of his life. His wishes were fulfilled.
The memories come rushing back.
Susi and I spent the afternoon and evening calling my brothers and our family members. It was hard to reach some of them. They were grieved. Kelly was an important part of their lives.
Kelly was (and is) a great person. He is a famous Western artist. He is an accomplished writer, having published several books about his life. He is a philosopher, who gave lectures to people as he painted pictures. He is very intelligent. He is a comedian, who makes people laugh. He is a cowboy, who loves animals. He is my brother.
As he leaves the earth, he leaves many empty hearts. But our minds are filled with memories that he has created. Our homes are filled with his paintings. His books rest upon our shelves. We will not forget.
One happy thing about this day is that it is a great adventure for Kelly. He is now in realms of Glory and is excitedly exploring his new surroundings. He has done many significant things in this world. He must be accomplishing much greater things at this moment.
Daddy, Lewis, Mel, Wow (whatever you call me)