STORIES

“I am grateful for how hard to she fought to live long enough to help me grow into the almost woman I was when she died. I will miss her forever.”
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Debbie Lynn Kellner, 1964 – 2004
Story by Crystal Gamet

My Mama, Debbie Lynn Kellner (August 2, 1964 – January 20, 2004).

My beautiful mama who never knew she was beautiful and never got that message from this world. I wish that I could tell her how beautiful she was. Losing my mother was like losing part of my own body. I compiled some pictures to share a little bit about who she was. She was a woman who was born into extreme poverty to a family of 10. She was blessed to be a twin and have that incredibly deep connection in this world.

My mom could not read or write and she suffered more physical violence than I can ever bring myself to describe in a post but she survived longer than the men who tried to kill her. She fought to graduate from high school despite the incredible bullying she experienced for being in the special education program.

My mom contracted HIV at 21 and was convinced she would never have access to romantic love again in her life (this was partially true). So when she met Tom, he had just been released from prison and he was homeless so he immediately moved in with us. Even though that got us kicked out of public housing, my mom was willing to overlook that because at least she had someone who loved her! Her ashes are buried with him and I still find this fact sickening.

She survived to the age of 39. She survived the early years of the AIDS epidemic despite chronic poverty, domestic violence, stigma and depression.

She loved ALL of my friends. and to the friends who were brave enough to show her love at the end when they knew she had AIDS, I will never forget. I am grateful for how hard to she fought to live long enough to help me grow into the almost woman I was when she died. I will miss her forever.