Remembering Rifton Kelly

I’m missing my friend today

He went to be with the Lord on Friday night

A week ago to the day, he so willingly offered his talent and skill to help me say goodbye to my grandmother…he accompanied the organist and pianist on the drums during the thanksgiving service we had for her life. No rehearsal, no questions- except “D, when you need me to be there?…I’ll just take the day (from work).”

Little did I know he was to go right behind her

I will remember him most for the encourager he was…as a member of the praise and worship team at Upper Room Community Church, I got the privilege of being under his leadership. There was hardly a dull moment. On any given Sunday morning, you could hear him complimenting the ladies (shoes, outfit, hair etc.) and at the end of the service “Team, you did very well!”

His favorite lines were “guys, my voice isn’t doing so well today so you’ll have to lead” or “you want to learn the drums?” Great! then I can just play the triangle”.

He was multi-talented with respect to music (he also played the piano and bass guitar)…he spent much time training the vocalists in harmony.

This is the last convo I had with him:
6:14pm, Feb 20 – Daina  🌴: Sorry I didnt get to see u after the service. Thanks again!
11:07pm, Feb 20 – Rifton Kelly 2: Be blessed Lil sis. Sorry for the late text. It was a wonderful service
3:12pm, Feb 21 – Daina  🌴: 😊
8:48am, Feb 22 – Daina  🌴: Sorry you aren’t well Rif. What is it looking like?
8:48am, Feb 22 – Rifton Kelly 2: Wasn’t able to breathe properly this morning my throat is swollen and I hv a fever
1:27pm, Feb 22 – Daina 🌴: I’m sorry to hear that, may God heal you speedily. Are you able to breathe now? How is ur throat? What about the fever? Answer at ur convenience.
1:59pm, Feb 22 – Rifton Kelly 2: All are still present
5:58pm, Feb 22 – Daina 🌴: 😕
5:59pm, Feb 22 – Rifton Kelly 2: Thanks for your concern D. I appreciate it
6:01pm, Feb 22 – Daina  🌴: 😊
6:01pm, Feb 22 – Daina  🌴: Ur welcome

It occurred to me later that week to call and check on him but I didn’t (note to self: never put off things like that)

Finally, my immediate thoughts after learning of his passing:

God, look at that…whenever I think about life and death I imagine myself dying as an old woman. That isn’t promised to anyone.

Rifton has died and though he didn’t get married or have children (milestones commonly represented as the ultimate goals in life) or…grow old (an unstated but social expectation) he lived a FULL life. He made indelible marks on lives too many to count. He  was a beloved son, brother, grand-son, nephew and friend; he sang and played drums unto the Lord almost every Sunday; he worked at Stewart’s in their IT dept for years; he played basketball with his friends…he was happy and best of all, he had surrendered his life to Jesus.

Losing him has altered my vision. Instead of living in hope of what might be in store for my future, I will live more in the moment…seeking to love and serve as Rif did, wherever God may call.

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10 thoughts on “Remembering Rifton Kelly

  1. wow, beautifully written. although I can’t say Rifton and I were friends, he was a friend of a friend and even from that distance I felt his gentle soul. he truly was special. may his soul rest in peace

  2. I just found this out via an unrelated email. I never knew Rifton but your writing has impacted me and motivated me to persevere in Christ. Thanks.

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