Today, Kelly Richardson is living a healthier life in body and in mind. Not a remarkable feat for those making a more conscious effort to lose weight, exercise more and enjoy life. For Richardson however, the renewed spirit and slimmer, trimmer look comes with heartache.

Richardson’s husband died of diabetic complications shortly after the birth of their son, Kadam. Over the years she began to heal from the heart-breaking loss of her husband, eventually remarrying and having a second son, Jake. While Kadam was cherished as a connection to her younger life, both he and Jake lived and played as brothers, thriving and achieving with special talents and skills.

When Kadam was 16 years old, he was the victim of a fatal accident.  “I was a typical mom and career woman who never had time for herself,” the Louisiana native reflected. “The day I got the call about Kadam’s accident, my life changed. You would tend to say that the death of a child changes your life for the worse. But to be honest, it changed my life differently, and some of that change was good.”

Acknowledging that the loss of a child is an experience that leaves a deep wound, she has found a way to deal with death and life.

“I basically could have given up when Kadam died,” she said. “I was not in good physical shape, weighing over 230 pounds. I never took the stairs at work because I couldn’t even walk up the steps. I was out of breath and couldn’t do much.

I made up my mind to change.  I cut back on what I was eating. I came home every day from work; grabbed Kadam’s cell phone and walked as I listened to his playlists. That was my time to be with him and my time to exercise.

photoFacing her grief, with the guidance of a counselor, she volunteered to help coach in a community-swimming program where Kadam was a champion swimmer. “It wasn’t easy, physically or emotionally, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience,” she said, adding she felt closer to Kadam when she was at the pool.

Soon, she added swimming laps to her exercise program, helping her lose even more weight while following a low carb, no sugar diet.” In less than a year she lost 70-pounds and dropped down six pant sizes.

“Life has changed for me, forever,” she observed. “It is a different life, but I believe that Kadam gave up his life for me to see what I need to do, like giving back to the community. Kadam’s life taught me that I am strong. Today, it is about losing weight, eating healthy and exercising, and it is also about being happy and moving on in the right direction.”

By Patricia Danflous

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