Andrew Mills - Chief of Police - Santa Cruz
Kelly after testifying with First Chair, Det Sgt. Chris Leahy

On a recent vacation, Kelly Stewart reflected on the loss of his father and the murder of his teammate-killed defending his community. Kelly penned his thoughts, and they are worth reading. His words struck an accord deep within me. The fearful are so terrorized by living, they are, in fact, already dead.  The living recognize the risk and go anyway.

Catfish, your words are insightful. Courage to live is why we:  Act bravely. Love deeply. Die well!

We did some things that would have appalled the Old Man.

We did a lot of other stuff he would have adored. 

It is one thing to talk, write or sing about ashes and dust.

It’s quite another to touch ashes. To breathe dust.

It is one thing to say you are your Brother’s Keeper.

It is something entirely different to let your brothers keep you.

A widow’s stories and a child’s intuition will unearth the deepest secrets of our departed fathers.

A river will remind us that it is okay to keep living. 

The “surfmen” or rescues swimmers of the U.S. Coast Gard Port Orford Lifeboat Station has a motto:

 “You have to go out…you don’t have to come back.” 

We have all gone out.

Coming back is irrelevant.

And we could come back at any moment, at any place, and in whatever fashion.

After this trip, I want to return as ashes. I want to come back as dust.

I will be in good company.

Kelly Stewart. 

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