2017- me Patricia Burnett and Kerry Lee Charlebois– “Dance like nobody’s watching”
Last Thursday I heard that Kerry Lee Charlebois’s health was declining. To tell you the truth I went into shock and fell into complete denial. Kerry fought cancer for many years and kept it at bay, but one day the third episode crept in and took her body over. If anyone could have fought this disease off it was Kerry. But I swear that none of us are invincible to this disease. None of us.
I have known Kerry for years– well, more than years– decades, and once Facebook showed up she never lost contact with me. She was a former Flash Cadilac customer, a disco Viva gal, and a loyal friend .
If you didn’t know Kerry she was a behind the scenes person that got the job done, and that is exactly how she treated cancer each time it reappeared. I often told her how brave she was as I would never go that route coming from a family who all lost their lives to cancer. I would fight it myself and not go the usual diagnosis route. She was Joan of Arc to me. Kerry was, and will always be a positive influence in everyone’s life– always seeing the good side of life.
Kerry with Karen that won all the contests I swear..:)
Kerry always labelled me generous with my spirit and actions– BUT, I would say she was describing herself. She had such a strong spirit, such a big heart, and constantly rose above all her issues. Sometimes the strongest among us are the ones who smile through the silent pain, cry behind closed doors and fight battles nobody knows about. When I saw her in 2017 with Patricia Burnett she gave me a plant. It’s a good thing she brought it to my house– as my home is actually where I kill my plants. I honestly think people give me plants to remind me what I am truly capable of. Sorry Kerry- another one bit the dust but– it was awesome while it lived.
We always reminisced about fashion and my old store Flash Cadilac. I will always remember her telling me about one of her first fashion shows at Disco Viva. I believe she told me that not one, but five White Russians were needed for her to hit that catwalk. Kerry’s mother had been a model and had always made her daughters stand tall and never slouch, but I seriously don’t think she never mentioned White Russians — maybe her Dad Patrick Hilson did. Now there was a man you met once and just loved– just like Kerry–driving forces in everyone’s life.
Kerry mentioned her grandmother many times to me. At 80 she was white water rafting and hot air ballooning when she was 70. She was Kerry Lee’s mentor and lived with her for 3 years when she moved to Ottawa. What was the thing I heard often mentioned about her Grandmother? She was just over the moon because her Grandmother gave Kerry her first month’s rent free. As Kerry said, she was awesome.
One of her favourite stories about her grandmother was about a office bachelorette party. Her grandmother attended and and so did her aunt and great aunt. Well Kerry won the door prize, and it was– to be polite– a rubber pleasuring device. She had to open it on stage, and when she got back to her table, her grandmother asked her what she had received. When Kerry showed her, she said, “Well, dear, you will never have to do without!”
Kerry Lee always reminded me that I had the most important element in life: not caring what people think, being myself, and dancing like nobody’s watching.
Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt. And live like it’s heaven on Earth.” – Mark Twain
I miss our conversations already Kerry, and I promise I am dancing as fast as I can–as fast as my old broken knees will let me. My love to your friends and family as I know how deeply the loss of this amazing woman will be felt. My deepest condolences.
Every smile I see
I know you are there
Smilin back at me
Dancin in moonlight
I know you are free
Cuz I can see your star
Shinin down on me
Good times we’ll share again
Makes me wanna dance
Dear friends of Kerry Lee,
This morning, shortly after 7:00 am, Mom left us, after her long and hard fought battle with cancer. She was a wonderful, supportive, loving wife and mother and we will miss her so much.
We are grateful for the many friends who visited and called her in her final days. She was happy to see each of you, an extrovert to the end and always the life of the party.
The sun has set on my closest friend, Kerry Lee Hilson Charlebois. Today is Thanksgiving day in Canada. I’m grateful I had Kerry Lee in my life for 43 years. My life was better because she was in it. Today is very sad day. Wanda Jane