Steven Kelly, In Memory

In Memory - Steven G. Kelly II -

Two years ago today, my husband’s son was murdered in Las Vegas.  The following is a copy of the impact letter I wrote to the judge for her consideration in sentencing the  man who killed him.


I offer this today to Steven’s memory and for those of us who share in the loss of our children. God sees all things.  Nothing escapes His gaze or His righteous judgement.


Your Honor;

I am addressing the untimely death of my step son Steven, who was forever taken from us in an act of rage, and outright murder.

Steven was my husband’s son who I met when he was about 9 years old. He was playful, curious and strong, and grew to be an astonishingly handsome man whose looks were striking. His death has created a huge hole in our hearts and also in our lives. Every person within a family has a special place that is only for them. That place is filled by the many ways of who they are. It is not a place filled by great social or societal accomplishment, but in small things that are shared, fun things, silly jokes that no one else “gets”, curious things, the things of laughter and of tears, of struggle and of resolve in things learned, in growing and growing up, things that only touch families. Why? Because we know of each other and are known by each other, creating the intimacy of family that God had in mind when He put us together. When a person is taken from their family that place is forever lost, the family is not what it was while that person was alive and it will never be so again. It has to reform, but is it forever broken. We are broken. The place that was Steven is now empty; it is a giant hole of nothingness and it will never close.

Steven will not be in the car that pulls into the driveway. When our phone rings his voice will not be heard on the other end. There will be no more well wishes on birthdays and holidays. There will be no more food fests and curiosities shared in the kitchen. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, and he was a friend. He was a big brother to my two daughters, especially my youngest – Jessica – who grew quite close to him just before her own death. Steven will not be here to continue to inquire as to how I am in losing her, his condolences are forever lost. His memories that he shared with her and of her will never again be repeated in my ear. In a sense, the loss of her is renewed to me in his death, in his absence. I will not see the blazing intensity of his eyes looking back at me in “those” conversations we often shared of life, of faith of relationship.  As for the future, there will be no grandchildren, no “little Stevies” to run around and carry on and remind us of Steven, his strength, his great looks his beautiful heart and smile.

After his death we met with some friends and neighbors there in Las Vegas who knew him. Every one commented on his helping nature, his great heart, that he was always around to help others despite his own problems or needs. We found those stories greatly encouraging because that was the Steven we knew too. For him was formed the motto “Always had a heart to help others”. We also met with a member of the police department, a field officer, who talked with us about Steven and assured us he was truly trying to work out his problems.

About one year before his death, Steven was diagnosed with Bi-polar. That diagnosis explained to us the suffering that he experienced in his lack of focus, the extremes in behavior, his ups and his downs. It explained to us why he could never just be who he was, or recognize the simple fact that he was hugely loved, a part of a very large family who nearly moved heaven and earth to help him.

He began treatment and  medication and for the first time we saw his focus, his desire to grow, a new ability to work in gainful employment, to settle, to begin to understand on a new level our love for him and how important he was to us as a family member. We saw a deeper relationship forming between us,  longer conversations of encouragement shared on both ends,  of love, courage and support. We had a hope that had not been there before. A hope that was lost the day he died. So again, all that Steven was to us, all that he could have been in the years to come was taken away forever.

How do I explain to you the impact of the loss of a child? It is my second time around. Truly, there are no words good enough, nor paper long enough to express that loss, that grief. It is a loss that will never end, as it is renewed every day upon waking. It is to wonder if why my own heart beats, or why it is necessary to draw in one more breath. How can I possibly go on without that life, that person I once knew who used to look at me, talk to me, laugh with me, and even argue with me? Yes, I miss that too!  It is a loss that is lived out every moment. The excruciating pain that is felt lessens as time passes, but it never heals. The emptiness from the hole in all of our lives, and in our hearts that was Steven will always be there. No one can take it away, no one can fill it – ever.

When I have tears and grieve over his death, they are not just for me, they are for the entire family. The grief I feel is for my beloved husband Steve, it is in my knowing first hand the horror of losing a child, the pain, the loss, the endless questioning of “why”.  It is in looking in his eyes and knowing the heart that I love suffers as I had suffered. I cry tears for him because I completely understand, I feel it with him, I walk it out with him every day. The grief is for Steven’s mother Kathy, whose own grief sent me to the floor on numerous occasions, again, knowing firsthand what she felt the shock, the horror, in our first conversation over the phone, more tears than words. Grief shared of our lost son…her son…their child…Steve and Kathy’s…their heartbeat. It is the initial shock and horror continued with the repeated loss, grief, tears of others, people who I love and who love me. People who loved Steven now with a loss that will never end.

When the Lord said, “You shall not murder” He did so in His great wisdom. Life is His to give and His to take. He knew the endless suffering that would come to families, to those who love and who are loved, at the hands of a murderer.

Your Honor, I thank you for your time and consideration.

M’Kayla Kelly
Vancouver, WA

9 thoughts on “Steven Kelly, In Memory

  1. M’Kayla , thank you for sharing this with us all, such a personal thing. You pull from the deep things in your soul and make them real to us who have also lost a family member. You express it in a way I that I wish I could.You have captured both the grief and the love in your words. Thanks again for tearing open your heart and exposing all that is there with us all. :~(


  2. My dear M’Kayla, I pray God will continue to heal and comfort your heart. They will both forever be in your hearts. Love and hugs to you my friend.


  3. What a beautiful, heart wrenching letter!!! You truly can write from the depth of your heart and soul!!!

    You and Steve are loved and missed and in our prayers!! xo

    (P.S. if you got a “Sad” email from me telling you I was stranded in London — our yahoo account was hacked… contact list was deleted….passwords changed, most stuff restored (except contact list)… please send me an email so I can add you back in)


  4. Dear Mkayla,
    This has made me cry. I’m so sorry. We live in such a fallen world where we never know what we will all have to face, but God knows it all and I believe He strengthens us ahead of time, even if we don’t realize He’s doing it.
    I know this sounds silly, but I cried this morning over losing my youth. I finally got brave enough and honestly looked in the mirror and faced the fact that I am not a spring chicken anymore. And I thought to myself, this is only the beginning……..If we live long enough we will see the loss of all things.
    I went to see my 94 year old grandmother yesterday and she was telling me about how much she misses grandpa and all the people she’s lost over the years. She is also losing her short-term memory, strength, etc. And I’ve been thinking to myself——how can I be as strong as she has all this years….and how can I bear losing her?? She’s been like a mother to me and it hurts to see her leaving me, but she said she looks forward to seeing God when she gets to heaven. I have to let go.
    I told God this morning that I just want to be in heaven w/ Him, that there’s too much pain, suffering and dying here in this world——that I’m not sure I can handle losing the ones I love….. I wanted to escape the future losses and just be with Him.
    But it’s as if God spoke to my heart….. that He’s preparing me for the losses ahead, including the loss of even my own life. And I was reminded of Rev. ?—-“and they loved not their life to the death”
    Everything here is like a vanishing bubble that I have to learn to hold lightly rather than tightly, to just enjoy every split second I have left w/ those I’m in contact with—-including people like you who I’ve never met in person, but feel a godly heart connection with, who I pray for all the time, and who has impacted my life greatly. And while you are still on this earth, I just want to tell you I love You.


    • Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.

      Thank you for that my friend. You brought tears to my eyes too. I am tired of this world and all of its falseness and disappointments and long to be with the One who gave His life for me. On that day, we will dance. 🙂 I love you too my friend. Thank you for sharing your life, your struggles and your faith with me.


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