The Banned Brothers of Wrestlemania

From an early age, John was always seeing the light in others. When 'playdates' were a thing, John was a bit of a trendsetter. Not only would he hang out with his “lunch table” crew, but he would constantly branch out to hang with other members of his class, ones that were typically overlooked. Maybe they were shy, maybe something larger was working against them. He’d befriend these classmates, helping them feel comfortable enough to come out of their own shells. I remember he would let 'banned' little brothers join in on Wrestlemania parties. Something we never had the privilege of until John invited us. His love for the underdog was tried and true.

Four Winds

John always pushed along, fighting the good fight and making people smile in the process. After graduating from Colgate, he worked at Four Winds hospital bringing his infectious spirit and positive outlook to those who were suffering the most. Many of the people he worked with had no idea he suffered himself. He was always cracking jokes and making people smile in the bleakest of situations. That was the kind of person John was, always putting others first, making sure they were feeling good while masking his own pain. In a world of numbers and statistics I wish there was a stat that read “number of times John Kelly made someone’s day”. The number would have been off the charts. People trusted him and would confide in him because they knew he would listen without judgement. It breaks our hearts to know that someone who eased the pain of so many others had to go through so much pain himself.

Responsibility OCD

He really cared about everyone he came across, almost to a fault. One of the hardest things about Responsibility OCD is that you feel responsible for something bad happening to someone you love or care about. It's a natural feeling triggered by irrational thoughts. His Responsibility OCD didn’t stop with just one’s he was closest with. John would always get triggered by natural disasters. For example, he would think he was the one responsible for a tsunami or earthquake in Japan when he was halfway around the world in New York. The worst part about this was he knew these thoughts were irrational, but he still couldn’t control them and they would cause him so much pain. He also would get so worried about harming his niece, immediate family, and close friends. Your biggest fear is harming someone you love. So as you can imagine, the pressure and anxiety associated with responsibility OCD overwhelmed John at times. It caused him to isolate himself to the point where we wouldn't hear from him for weeks. It never dawned on me that he was just a 'bad friend' for not answering but I could imagine how confusing it was for others, who don't have these intrusive thoughts, who just couldn't get in touch with John.