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Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly returned to the team this week after enduring an unimaginable situation that hit him and his wife, Emma, two weeks ago.
The loss of their unborn daughter, Mary Kate, shook the Colts’ world and the team made sure Kelly took his time to grieve properly while being at his wife’s side throughout the holiday season.
Kelly returned to the team this week and spoke to the media for the first time since this tragic loss.
“For 24 hours I watched and held my wife’s hand as she labored with our daughter. We didn’t get to later where you get to wrap your baby up and take them home. It wasn’t in God’s plan for our sweet girl. We had to say goodbye, the hardest thing that either of us has ever and hopefully will ever have to go through. But this is about my wife and the rock star that she is. As I sat in the hospital bed and watched tears roll down her face, she held our daughter with love, a love that I’ve never seen before. The strength that she possesses I know transferred to our daughter who watches over us now. I’ve never been more proud to be your husband. In all this pain we’re truly thankful to have people in our lives like we do. With that being said, I would like to give a few thank yous. For starters, our closest friends and family who have been there every step of the way and never, ever wavered in their love and support for us. To the Irsay family, I can’t thank you guys enough. To Frank (Reich), Chris (Ballard), David Thornton and teammates and the entire Colts organization who gave us time to start to heal and always made sure we were taken care of. To the doctors and nurses at Community North, who made us feel like our daughter was the only baby in the world who mattered, thank you. You’ll forever be in our family. Lastly, to the thousands of people we’ve never met who have shared their stories of loss, you have helped us in ways that you will never know. Hearing your stories and knowing we’re not alone has brought us light in all this darkness. Thank you.”
Kelly, who was selected to the Pro Bowl, brought with him a heavy heart back to the Colts’ facility. But as we’ve seen, the Colts truly embody being a family. And he will have countless people to lean on.
The former first-round pick also mentioned why he opted to stay home during the Colts’ Christmas game against the Arizona Cardinals, putting family above all.
“I knew that Christmas – I just imagined my wife being by herself on Christmas and that was like the hardest thing ever to me. We buried our daughter on Tuesday and I knew there was no way I could be ready. Wednesday was the first day after that that we hadn’t had any family in town,” Kelly said. “That’s the hardest, just being in your house where you’ve made so many memories. I just knew there was no way if I went back to work Thursday that I would be ready to go Saturday. Ultimately, like I said in that statement I had, Chris (Ballard) and Frank (Reich) couldn’t have been more understanding.”
But now all Kelly can do is take it one step at a time.
“For me, this is healing in itself and selfishly, I feel bad because my wife is at home. She’s taking care of the dogs and grieving by herself, but I know she’ll get through it too. Certainly, just having the support of the Colts and not having to go out there and be pressured to play Christmas day, I’ll forever be thankful. It just feels right to be back. I know that being here is where I need to be right now. It doesn’t make it any easier. I mean, take it minute-by-minute. That’s kind of how it goes. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”