AMAZING STORY: Drawing of bird on stump by artist named Don Kitt
Okay, I still have tears in my eyes before even starting this message, so I am pretty sure this will be something I will be crying through as I write it, but they are good tears . . . touching tears.
They are tears I shed as I realize yet again, that many good things have happened since Jessie has been missing - and some of the good things have even happened because of her disappearance.
Strange, isn't it? But it let's me know how much Jessie has helped others, even saved others and I am very proud of her. Jessie is a very strong young woman and I pray we find her one day.
If Jessie is not alive, we still need to find her just as desperately.
Anyways, this is my story:
The picture I have attached is of a pencil drawing of a bird on a stump that Jessie won at a Blazer Hockey Game here in Kamloops many years ago (probably grade 8 or so). It was drawn by an artist named Donald Kitt.
When Jessie brought that drawing home and showed us, her stepdad Jim instantly fell in love with it. As soon as she saw how much he liked it, Jessie gave it to him. Jim has treasured it for probably, about 14 or 15 years, but it took on even more meaning after Jessie went missing. It means the world to us, but it is a treasure to Jim.
Jim has talked about finding out more about the artist for a long time, and yesterday got out the magnifying glass to ensure we had the name spelt right and then we Googled him. There were a few different links that came up, we checked them out, but none seemed to fit.
Then we found the link to Wildwood Creations (http://wildwoodcreations.ca/) and an artist named Don Kitt. We were pretty sure it was him we we saw this sentence: "His trips often took him to BC and at the age of twenty he made BC his permanent home moving to Kamloops soon after". Then I read he did "pen and ink drawings" and that he had a fascination with "animals and the outdoors" I was convinced.
So, I emailed him the following message from that website:
Your sculptures, carvings and walking sticks are all so beautiful. They are just amazing.
Many yeas ago my daughter Jessie Foster won a beautiful drawing in pencil of a bird on a tree stump at a Blazers hockey game. The name of the artist is Donald Kitt and we were wondering if that was you.
My husband Jim, is Jessie's stepdad and she gave him that picture when she saw how much he loved it and he treasures it to this day.
You see, Jessie has been missing for 5 & 1/2 years. She was taken to the USA from Canada and forced into the sex trade. When she tried to come home she vanished. We hired a PI who found out a lot of things - not very good things - about what had been happening to Jessie in Las Vegas.
For more information, please Google Jessie Foster.
Thank you for your time, I just wanted to tell you how much your drawing means to us. Sincerely, Jessie's mom Glendene Grant.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and there was a reply from him so beautiful, I know I will never forget the moment I read it.
This was his reply:
Thank you for your email regarding the drawing of the bird on a stump. Yes I am the same Don Kitt who drew that picture many years ago. Your message means a lot to me coming when it did. My health has been an issue over the last year and I received your email less than a day after coming out of surgery. My artwork has taken a back seat to my family and my health making me seriously question why I should bother continuing at it. You have reminded me of why. I have not measured my success in terms of money with my art as it seems to have eluded me thus far but I have been blessed with a richness in seeing and hearing of the joy my art brings to others. The shows I have done have filled me with passion by watching the people and the hearing of the memories and excitement the art brings them. I love the conversations and listening to each story of the how, where and when that the pieces bring out. Each is different and yet each fills me in a way nothing else ever has.
I have followed the Jessie Foster story very closely over the years. It has special meaning to me as I have four grown daughters and remember the worry and fears especially for one of them. I spent far too many nights driving around looking for her and praying all was safe; trying to pick up the pieces when I could and let her know we were always there for her. Luckily things changed and I can almost breathe a sigh of relief with only my free spirited youngest daughter feeding my fears at this time. I have only imagined and hope I never have to go through your ordeal. My heart and prayers are with you, Jim and Jessie as always.
Again I thank you. Your message is an incredible gift at the perfect time.
Yours truly, Don Kitt.
How amazing that we look at his drawing every day and he has thought of Jessie to many times. I know that this is something I will never, ever forget.
I messaged him right back:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting back to me, Don. As much as our message meant to you, yours means to us. I am attaching a picture of your/our drawing.
After reading your message, I prayed for you and I will continue to pray for you for a full recovery.
I am very happy to hear that things are good with your daughter. I am not sure if Jessie's case helped influence her choices, but I know it happened with others, and it brings such a good feeling to my heart to know it. No matter how we are able to save our children, it is such a blessing.
I had some troubles with my oldest and my youngest as they were growing up, but my 2 middle girls, including Jessie, were so easy to raise I was very lucky. They never got in trouble and that was part of the huge surprise and horror about Jessie's disappearance is she was always such a good girl.
Of course I don't know about Jessie, but my other 3 daughters are very healthy, happy young women 2 of them are now mothers themselves and they are doing well . . . thank God.
I am very happy to hear you know of Jessie and have followed her case. It also means a lot to me as you did not even know how much we admired your drawing. It is something we look at every single day it is in our bedroom. To us, it is part of Jessie.
It pleases me to know that in her way, Jessie will help you to continue your work. That amazes me but knowing my girl, it does not surprise me that she has inspire others to do things and it continues over 5 years after her disappearance.
I hope you will keep in touch, and I will, if you are okay with it, keep you informed on updates to Jessie's case.
I also want to know if you mind if I share this story about us emailing you, and your message back to us. I have a lot of people who read about things that have happened in our lives since Jessie went missing, and this is a very touching one that others will also love to read.
It is partially my blogging helps me keep my head on straight. That and knowing that my human trafficking awareness has helped many people. Those are some of my coping mechanisms for dealing with having a missing child. No one can understand how I can go on as I do and I always tell them it is because of the tremendous amount of support I get from so many people around the world. It truly helps me go on each day.
I also understood and accepted a long time ago that I am not the only one living this nightmare and I have never lived as if I was. There are far too many missing people in the world, even in our city and there is no justice for them, so we need to try to get it for them. We need to try to get justice for all the victims and their loved ones of unsolved crimes so they can try to carry on with their lives as best as they possibly can.
Sorry for going on and on that is something I seem to do often. Take care, Don . . . sincerely, Glendene.
And he replied back to me:
Please feel free to share this story and when I am feeling a little better I will check it out.
Also do not worry that you were going on and on, as it sounds like it is an important part of your healing. I have given up on trying to understand the how and why everything works in life and am slowly learning that I cannot control my world as I know it.
Things have led you to this place and it seems you have a purpose in life to make others aware of Jessie and human trafficking.
There are many people who know of the wrongs of the world but too few with the courage to speak up about them.
Thank you, Don.
My message back:
Again, thank you Don. Please know I am still praying for you, and I know that many, many others are and will be praying for you too.
You are so right, my friend. It is part of my healing. I have found that my healing is ongoing. I continue to heal all these years, but I am not healed completely, as it does not take much to be a raw wound again. But you know, somehow that is okay because I know that Jessie went through so much worse than that.
So, I have learned to live this way, even though I don't know how I managed – other than for the sake of my other 3 daughters and my 3 grandchildren that have been born since Jessie's disappearance. They are like little bits of medicine for me – they have helped me so much.
I am also staying sane for Jessie. I know that if/when she does come home, she will need me to be there for her, and to do that, I have to be healthy. Many things that I do, I do for Jessie, as she is not here to do it herself. Jessie is the one who has inspired me to bring attention to others about this crime and the types of people that are out there – but I also want others to enjoy their life and not be afraid to live it – but just to be careful as they do.
Again, Don – thank you. Please keep in touch. Sincerely, Glendene.
So, isn't that an amazing story? And since he agreed to allow me to share, I have.
Thanks for reading . . . not just Jessie's, but also Crystal, Katie & Jennee's mom and Maddie, JJ and Ili's grandma, Glendene.