7.29.2013

RIP Kidd Kraddick

This isn't an "animal rescue" post... nor is it a "personal" post.

Regardless, I felt the need to write today.

Radio DJ Kidd Kraddick died on Saturday, in New Orleans. He was just 53 years old.

And quite honestly... even though it may sound crazy for me to say this... 
I'm absolutely devastated.

Why is this relevant to my animal rescue blog? Well... it's not.
Why is this relevant to my life? Well... it just is.

How so??
It's extremely hard to put my feelings into words... but here's my best attempt to explain:

I was 18 years old when I first started listening to "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning." My friend, Tiffani, first told me about the show. And when I moved to Tuscaloosa for college at the University of Alabama, I was finally able to listen to the local T-town radio station that aired the Kidd Kraddick show. 

At 18, I remember listening one day, while Kidd was discussing life, passion, and doing what you love. I'd always known my passion... and what I hoped to do one day... but back then, I was just a kid. Yet, that fateful day, Kidd said exactly what I needed to hear... at the time I needed to hear it. It was the time in my life when I was choosing my personal path... and honestly, his inspiring words helped me choose the right one. 

So, at the beginning of my Freshman year of college, I began listening to Kidd Kraddick. Later that school year, I experienced a devastating car accident... that nearly took my life. In the blink of an eye... my life changed forever. I've never been the same since. The events of that night, affect my life, to this day. I'm still in pain, every single day, but I've never let it stop me.

Clearly, I survived, but back then, my future was unknown. In that accident, I broke both of my legs... severely crushing my left leg/foot, with injuries that caused surgeons to recommend: amputation. 

Even after my leg was saved... I was bedridden for months...and in a wheelchair for months after. And during that time, no one knew if I'd ever walk again.

After I left the hospital, a rented hospital bed was placed in my childhood bedroom at my parents' house. I was forced to live in that bed... for months, and my mom was forced to take off of work during that time, to provide around-the-clock care for me. 

Back then... because I never knew what tomorrow would bring... and because the pain was so intense... I'll be honest: I cried. Often.

But during that time in my life, the Kidd Kraddick show kept me going. During a time when I often didn't know how to smile, Kidd Kraddick made me smile. During a time when laughter seemed foreign, Kidd Kraddick helped me laugh. During a time when I often felt hopeless, Kidd Kraddick gave me hope. 

It may sound silly to some, but for me, at that time in my life, it meant everything. And at that time in my life... the time when I really needed to feel "normal" ... Kidd Kraddick helped me feel normal again.

After college, I was offered a job in Baton Rouge... a place where I knew no one. It was a sales job, so I spent most of my days... especially mornings... in my car, driving, traveling. 

And even though I had no friends there when I moved... and I often felt very alone... I knew I had at least one "friend" in my life, every weekday morning. His name: Kidd Kraddick. He kept my spirit alive.

I later moved back home... here, to my hometown, Meridian, Mississippi, where I'd start my own business and charity. It was one of the best --and most difficult-- decisions I ever made... to do what I do now. 

Ever since I made that choice... each morning... no matter how difficult my day has been... I had someone who was always there to push me forward. Kidd Kraddick. 

Kidd Kraddick is a man I never met, but a man I felt I knew, so well. Each day, when I tuned-in, it never felt like I was listening to a "radio show." Instead, it felt like I was listening to a friend... to a group of friends... who were talking just to me. Friends who were always there to say: "I know your life is hard... I know you feel sad sometimes... but we're here for you, to help you through the ups, the downs, the in-betweens. And PS- here's a laugh to start your day..."

For more than 10 years of my life, I've had that, every. single. day.

At the lowest points in my life, Kidd's humor meant everything to me. At the high points, he was a constant reminder to be thankful, and keep smiling. But no matter what I was going through... he was always there... as a comedian, a mentor, a therapist. And mostly, a "friend."

To me, that meant everything.
Kidd Kraddick meant the world to me, because his words changed my life.  

My mornings will never be the same without Kidd Kraddick. I feel like I lost a best friend, and my life will never be the same. 

While I could never repay Kidd for what I feel he's done for me --and for so many others-- I know I can do at least one thing to help him live on. I run a charity... so I know: if something ever happened to me, I pray someone would step up and offer to help my work continue.

Here's goes:

PLEASE DONATE to his charity: Kidd's Kids. PLEASE give something... anything... to the charity that he lived for... and essentially... died for. PLEASE click the link below and donate to the children who deserve your help.  Please!



*Kidd, we let you into our morning routines, and into our lives. Because of you, we listened, we laughed, and we felt inspired. Because of you, people did more, cared more, became more. I'm not the only one who feels this way. Not even close. There are millions of us. That's an unbelievable legacy... which only you could leave behind. Thank you for everything. We miss you. "Keep looking up, 'cause that's where it all is."

-Written by Ashley Owen Hill, luckydogrescueblog@gmail.com 

19 comments:

  1. He's already so missed...beautiful words and thank you for sharing, touched.

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  2. Living in three different states in the past 10 years, I know exactly how you felt about always having a "friend" everywhere you went. Beautiful post and beautifully put!

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  3. You should share this on Kelli's facebook page. I know they are enjoying reading all of the love for Kidd. I too feel like I've lost a friend. I've never felt devastated at the death of a celebrity. I cried yesterday when I heard and again today listening to their show. What a tremendous person and an even bigger loss!

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  4. Awesome Ashley, thanks for your beautiful message. I had been wondering why Kidd Kraddic's passing was especially painful for you. I had no idea who he was and what he did, other than DJ. Thanks for explaining, I'm sure he and his family would be pleased to read about how he helped your recovery and influenced your efforts to pursue your passion. I'm thankful for him doing that because your work has saved the lives of countless dogs and creates joy for the people who adopt your precious fur babies like myself. Although I wish it was better circumstances that inspired you to write, reading your blog is always a treat I look forward to. I'm sure Kidd would be thrilled that you've inspired donations from many of us who wouldn't have otherwise known about him and his 21 years of fulfilling his passion; Kidd's Kids. Please take good care of yourself; even though we've only met once, I'd be heartbroken if anything happened to you. Much like Kidd did for you, you unknowingly helped me through a difficult period in my life by allowing me to adopt Ali and your courage to step off the corporate treadmill and pursue your passion is inspiring me to do the same. I can't possibly thank you enough for that!

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    1. So many tears... thank you soooo much, Paul. I have no words. Only gratitude for you, and what you've meant in my life, and for what you've done for Ali.

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  5. Well Done Ashley. Prayers coming your way.

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  6. Ashley, Kidd would be touched by what you wrote. But also in your darkest hours, remember that YOU are a Kidd Kraddick to many of us in the rescue community. Through you, your work, your blogs-he lives on-never to be forgotten, but always an inspiration. xoxo PAWS

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  7. He was the best, I know exactly how you feel about being devastated. Kidd really was like a friend I never met. I spent many mornings in my driveway; just arriving home from the night shift just sitting in my car listening to the show. Crying, laughing, feeling inspired.
    Please know that you are inspiring people to change their lives too, Ashley. People just like me, and through your blog I feel like I have another friend that I've never met.
    Keep looking up!

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    1. Thank you sooo much. This meant so much to me.

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  8. What a wonderful tribute...

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  9. Ashley, thank you for writing and sharing this. I found Kidd at a trying time in my life as well. I was going through personal and professional turmoil, and couldn't find perspective, but commuting to work one morning was flipping through stations and found Kidd, and in essence found the best friend I would never meet, and my life would change forever. His words were either touching me, making me laugh, or in those times of true magic, both. My heart broke when I heard of his passing, but when you can leave this life having made it a better place, then that's all one can truly ask for. Kidd did that, on so many levels. He already is and will continue to be extremely missed and beloved.

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  10. Very interesting, such a great tribute. I totally loved it. So touching


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  11. He or she is previously thus had missed... gorgeous words and phrases and thank you for revealing, caressed.

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  12. What a wonderful sentimental story! You are very talented in conveying feelings and thoughts to words! Just one of your many talents!

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  13. A lot like Kidd does to suit your needs, a person unknowingly made it easier for me personally through a tough period of time in my lifestyle by means of enabling me personally to take Ali along with your valor for you to phase off the corporate treadmill as well as follow your own passion can be electrifying me personally to complete a similar.

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