I need to ask a favor of our readers.
It’s really quite simple, but will take some effort for many of us.
I need to ask that we all just slow down.
I’m not talking about slow down by way of business and life, although that is indirectly related to this topic. I need, would like, am requesting that we all simply slow down when behind the wheel. Be present; put your phone in the back seat, whatever it takes to maintain your focus while operating a motor vehicle.
Why this request now? Well, because as I was recently reminded it takes just one distracted, in a hurry, non-present person driving a car to end a life.
One person’s I’m late picking up my kid so I’ll run this stop sign. One person’s, oh let me just shoot back that text real quick while driving 45 miles per hour. One person’s distraction can instantly impact not just the life of another, but everyone whom loved them as well.
That’s what I’ve been wrapping my mind around most recently, as I come to terms with the fact that Kellie Content has physically left this planet.
For those who didn’t know Kellie, she was the current owner of Koru Yoga Studio. That’s how I came to meet her.
Last Sunday, I attended her Celebration of Life, of this 31-year-old light of a life which was taken way too soon. As expected, there was very little lawn which could be seen on the ground of Bloomingcamp Ranch where we gathered to celebrate this bright light. People of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs came to not only honor a one of a kind woman, but support her family during an unfathomable time.
For the readers who missed the report in the March 16 paper, Kellie was one of the fatalities of the accident at Bentley and Patterson. She had just finished leading a Beer Yoga class at Dying Breed and was on her way home with a friend when her life was taken by a careless driver.
That woman’s life was also taken and while I don’t know what caused her to run that stop sign at an accelerated speed, what I do know is two families are now minus an important piece from a senseless accident.
No matter how old I get, pre-mature death just never makes sense to me. Yet each and every time, as I reflect on the why and try to understand how it could be “that” person, there always seems to be one common thread - they lived fully.
Now, before anyone starts an e-mail debating the above statement, I’d like to not only remind but express that this is quite simply my experience and my opinion (hence the column space).
It’s a lesson I first learned in high school when I lost a friend to a car accident one week before graduation and then again five years later when my bestie also passed in a head on collision one month before college graduation.
Sadly, this list of lives taken way too soon, well for me (personally) it can go on for a while.
This morning however, I’d just like to take this space to serve as reminder, as well as to honor the special soul we’ll now live with in memory as she’s left our physical world.
Kellie was not a “close” friend of mine or a bestie, she was – just like me – a yogi with a strong love of the practice and what it could do for others.
We first met at the studio she would eventually take over.
The most succinct and accurate way I can describe Kellie is she was unapologetically happy and I mean all the time. She was one of those souls that after spending time with her a few times it was easy to wonder, is this girl for real? And she was.
She never gave an impression of being stressed or in a hurry. She took time for everyone and she spread light and love wherever she went.
Sound like some hippy, yoga stuff? Well it should, because that’s what made Kellie so good at what she did.
Early on, she was the “new” teacher always eager to sub for a class when one of us was unable to teach. When our studio owner shared she would need to sell or close, Kellie was all in and we were in awe. Her love for the practice and the lifestyle it embodied was natural. Through the pureness of this love and some pretty savvy business sense the studio, as well as its events, grew and brought much attention to this once “small” studio in Oakdale, California.
Because of Kellie a special little jewel was able to be maintained in our special little town, but it was more than that.
Kellie proved to be the energy which made the lights shine bright. While we all had contributed and touched lives as authentic teachers and students, Kellie’s energy drew people in … and they stayed.
Through her life, the lesson of “why so soon?” continues. Kellie lived each and every day as fully as anyone would hope for.
Not to be misunderstood, this was not planner filled pages of boxes to check which make one feel important. This was living a full life which impacted others. Spreading joy, passion, laughter, love; that was Kellie.
So the next time you get behind the wheel, the clock says you’re 10 minutes behind or your phone is beeping with an “urgent” text, please think about Kellie, her family, her partner in life and the void they now face every single day.
In this life, we are blessed to be fortunate enough to know a soul like Kellie Content, we need them here. We need the lessons they teach us through simply and truly “living their best life,” regardless of what that looks like. Thankfully when you live life as big and fully as Kellie did, her legacy will continue. Her light will continue to shine.
Thank you Kellie … Namaste.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.