Suicide & Public Speaking. Rest in Peace, Kelly & Kate Daley

Kelly Daley has been an inspiration to me for the last 4 or 5 years, ever since I read her essay. I’ve shared her essay with many people, and I regret not ever communicating to Kelly how much I appreciated what she had to say. She and her twin sister, both suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa, died in November of 2006.

Here are a few highlights from the end of Kelly’s Essay (which is Property of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity)


When I realized that I do know God in knowing love, I became moored.
There are more important things in life than health, though for most people that is their
benchmark, their bottom line (“at least I have my health…”). Having health in body does not guarantee a good life, though it can make it easier to get through. But love, love is what we’re here for, what we’re built for. Love can’t always heal, but it can suffuse us with enough strength to deal with our trials. I don’t look at the big picture. I can’t imagine living twenty more years under the regime of my illness. So I’ve learned to live second to second. I heartily appreciate the details of life: a great belly laugh, a poetic sentence, friends who hold my hands, a really deep breath that finds its way down
to nourish the most inner reaches of me, sunlight warming me, a piece of music that makes my hips swing, a sentiment that makes me cry, a sweet and steamy cup of coffee on a frosty day, my father’s voice on any day…

Julian said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be
well.” I believe her. The retreat helped me find it in myself to trust in the rightness of my path. In my journal I wrote, “I have hope that all shall be well in the future, but I also feel that even now, in these very seconds that are passing, I am well. I can’t ask for more than that.” If I am not so busy fighting to make things the way I want them to be, or I think they should be, I can live the way I’m meant to. Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t sacred.

I bear my burdens by sharing them. I cry them out on the shoulders of my dearests. I sing them out in a manner of civilized screaming. I write them out, which gives them form, sometimes a lovely form, and occasionally turns them into art. I make my ugly and painful sentiments intosomething beautiful on paper.
My wounds are constant and ever-multiplying – but they are also always healing.

I have the unique opportunity to be able to literally watch the body’s  capacity for healing itself, and know that my spirit can probably do the same thing.
I choose to live responsibly and consciously. I choose to live. I choose to live fully.

I choosenot to drop into the abyss of despair and depression, and hibernate under my covers and retreat intounconsciousness (even as much as I love sleep). I choose to take risks, and to put myself out there, on the line, over the line.
So now I have told you how I came to keep living my life, and how I learned to enjoy the
graces in it. I have managed to reconcile extreme suffering with a workable faith in a loving God.

The great paradox of my life is that I love it. I have a marvelous life, I just wish I didn’t have to live it through my body.


But seriously, read the entire essay!



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6 responses to “Suicide & Public Speaking. Rest in Peace, Kelly & Kate Daley

  1. Amber

    On a whim, I googled Kelly and found this. I’m not sure who you are, and I’m sorry if I’m out of place to say anything… but Kate and Kelly were very close friends of mine, and it’s so moving to see how they’ve touched so many people! This was so nice to read.

  2. thank you so much, Amber! It’s wonderful to connect with someone close to Kelly and Kate…Your comment absolutely made my day and I appreciate you taking the time to leave it!

  3. Nancy Daley

    I am Kate and Kelly’s mom, and just wanted to say hello and ask how you knew the girls. The website is lovely. Sincerely, Nancy Daley

  4. Thank you, Nancy! I’m honored that you stopped by.

  5. Mary Katherine Powers


    I don’t know if you realized this, but Natalie Merchant’s new album, Leave Your Sleep, is dedicated to both Kate and Kelly Daley. Here is what she says in her booklet:

    “Dedicated to Kate and Kelly Daley (1979-2006),
    my sweet Angelinian sisters.”

    Both Kate and Kelly provided vocals to a previous Natalie Merchant album, Motherland, which was recorded in 2001.

    Leave Your Sleep is a 2-CD set containing music about childhood and motherhood. Merchant researched many British and American poets and turned their poetry into music. It was released April 13 and I have listened to it quite a bit. It is really beautiful: sometimes sad; sometimes whimsical; sometimes introspective; sometimes showing the love and pride she has for her child, and always beautiful.

    The reference to Angelinian sisters relates to background vocals that both sisters provided on Merchant’s Motherland album. There is a song called The Ballad of Henry Darger, who wrote about seven Vivian sisters who fight a battle against child slavery. This battle is known as “the Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.”

    Kate and Kelly provided vocals for two of the Vivian girls.

    I just thought you’d like to know this new music is dedicated to them.


  6. Luca

    How is so sad to read this page 10 years later… i was listening few moments ago the story of these Young girls from a video of Natalie merchant… RIP kate and Kelly. And i love you Natalie for making me open the eyes on these stories.

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