Jan 11, 2007. Why I’m Doing This.

1.11.2010 | Kirk, Motivation

*Warning: this post may be graphic and disturbing to some. Please read at your discretion*

Three years ago today, Kirk Holifield was murdered in a drive-by shooting. In a sickening case of mistaken identity, Kirk was killed simply because the truck he was driving looked similar to the truck owned by a known gang member. Kirk had done nothing wrong, he had committed no crime, he was only driving home.

Early in the morning of January 11th, 2007, my best friend got a knock on her front door. Stumbling half-asleep through the darkness, she opened the door to what every person fears will be on their doorstep at that time of the morning: a somber looking policeman, and a Victim’s Assistance volunteer.

They entered her home and told her that a man fitting the description of her husband, Kirk Holifield, had been found slumped over the wheel of his pick-up truck, shot multiple times. As my friend tried to understand what she had just been told, and began rushing about making plans to get to the hospital, the policeman received a phone call: Kirk had died in the hospital when attempts to revive him were not successful.

When the police officer hung up the phone and looked at my friend, she knew what his next words would be, and she didn’t want to hear them. The officer compassionately relayed the message from the hospital, and with his words, my friend’s world was changed forever. Lost, and in total disbelief, she ran out the front door, and dropped to her knees in the snow in the front yard, as endless questions and emotions collided within her. She didn’t feel the cold. She didn’t feel it when caring hands lifted her up to bring her back inside. She felt nothing, because all she could think about was how her ten- month-old daughter would now be forced to go through life without a father. But the worst of the night was yet to come: Kirk’s parents needed to be told this news.

In no way could I ever describe that destroying, incapacitating, dark, empty moment when someone is told that their son, their only child, has been killed. To witness that instantaneous anguish, and watch as a husband tries in vain to keep his wife from this immeasurable pain, is something that will haunt a heart forever. In an instant, nothing was ever going to be the same again. An insurmountable journey to heal was before them now, one they didn’t ask for but were forced to take.

Thankfully, Delta Hospice stepped in to act as a compassionate, gentle guide. They showed patience and kindness, and let us all know that they were there when we were ready. They waited, never pushing us to “get help” or to “go talk to someone”. They didn’t rush us out of “denial”, or tell us to “just not think about it”. They allowed us to “dwell”, to question, to rage, and to cry. And when we were finally ready for them, they were still there.

My personal story is mine to tell, and today I share it with you. I went in to Delta Hospice and sat with Marg Fletcher, one of the counselors on staff there. I had experienced my own losses prior to Kirk’s death, and so I was completely torn up inside. Marg taught me that whatever I was feeling was completely normal, and to allow myself to feel all of that anger, sadness, guilt, fear, and hatred because it was all important. However, she also reminded me that feeling happiness was important, too. It was ok to experience joy in the little things in life again. But how could I be happy again when I knew that Kirk was dead? How could I ever laugh again when I knew that a little girl had lost her father? How could I ever smile again when I knew that my best friend’s husband had been taken from her? Am I allowed to have happiness when I know that loving parents have had their son stolen from their lives so ruthlessly? I had watched my best friend grieve, and I would never, ever be able to get those images out of my mind. Marg told me that it was ok, that I didn’t have to get those images out of my mind. She taught me how to sit with them and understand them.

And so, I sat with Marg for many weeks, and I watched as Kirk’s loved ones found their own supports in the Delta Hospice, too. The Hospice was working hard on making us all whole again. The Hospice is going to be with us for every step of this journey, no matter what, no matter when. And that support and compassion is nothing less than priceless.

I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro because I want to take on a new journey now. I want each step I take to show my appreciation, my gratitude and my respect for the Delta Hospice. I will climb this mountain, because I want to let my friend, and Kirk’s parents, know that this is how I feel I can support them best – by giving back to those that gave to them. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.




That made me cry. you should write things down for a living. Maybe not for a living because you help people for a living. but at least for a hobby that you can share with the world.


Robyn you are a talented writer and a beautiful person. If everyone had a friend like you the world would be a much better place.