Without a Word: How a Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything

Without a Word: How a Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything


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Without a Word: How a Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything by Jill Kelly

WITHOUT A WORD is a riveting memoir that blends remarkable achievement with passion, sacrifice, love, pain, and human interest. It takes the reader into the lives of a celebrity couple, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, and his wife, Jill, to reveal the Kelly family's private struggle and how seven years with their severely disabled, terminally ill son, Hunter, unfolded in a redemptive and transforming manner. The light of Hunter's love through his brief and silent life shone into the shadowed corners of Jill and Jim's lives resulting in Jill believing that Jesus Christ was authentic, her learning to forgive Jim of past indiscretions, and finally resulting in Jim's seeking and finding God. Lessons gleaned from Hunter's life and death, and Jim and Jill's struggle to save their marriage during tumultuous times, make this a compelling and inspiring read.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446563383
Publisher: FaithWords
Publication date: 09/19/2011
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 565,284
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jill Kelly is the wife of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. In September 1997, three months after their infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with a fatal disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy, Jim and Jill founded the Hunter's Hope Foundation. As chairman of the board of Hunter's Hope, Jill helps children suffering from Leukodystrophy and their families by raising awareness and research funds to fight this devastating disease. She and Jim live in Buffalo, NY, with their two daughters and three dogs. Hunter's Hope Foundation can be found online at http://www.huntershope.org. Half of all royalties will go to the Hunter's Hope Foundation. Jill, along with her two daughters, is also the author of an upcoming FaithWords book, Hot Chocolate with God.

Table of Contents

Foreword Tim McGraw Faith Hill xi

Preface xv

Prologue: Beyond Words 1

Chapter 1 Not What It Seems 5

Chapter 2 Welcome Home 13

Chapter 3 Mr. and Mrs. Quarterback 23

Chapter 4 Broken 33

Chapter 5 Searching for Hope 39

Chapter 6 Change 57

Chapter 7 Hunter and His Sisters 65

Chapter 8 Hunter at One and Two 73

Chapter 9 Hunter at Three and Four 84

Chapter 10 Hunter at Five and Six 93

Chapter 11 Hunter at Seven 105

Chapter 12 Hunter at Eight 115

Chapter 13 August 5, 2005 130

Chapter 14 Memories Everywhere 143

Chapter 15 Unexpected Grace 149

Chapter 16 "My Heart Doesn't Look the Same Anymore" 159

Chapter 17 Walking Through the Valley 169

Chapter 18 I'm Free 179

Chapter 19 Forever 190

Chapter 20 The Time in Between 199

Epilogue: While I Wait 207

Acknowledgments 211

Appendix A Hunter's Hope Foundation 215

Appendix B The Hunter's Hope Kids 221

Appendix C "Team Hunter" Memories 229

Appendix D Hot Chocolate with God 243

Appendix E Jim Kelly's Hall of Fame Induction Speech 248

Notes 253

What People are Saying About This

Brett and Deanna Farve

Jim and Jill must be commended for sharing this heartfelt story. Their bravery and courage is unsurpassable. This book has given us a different view of the Kellys. We always knew them as part of the extended football family, but now we see them as a family with real struggles . . . a family who used their faith in God and their love for one another to press on! We will forever look at them in a different light. The Kellys are amazing parents, but off the football field Hunter was the true warrior!

Chris and Katherine Berman

Jim and Jill Kelly were always headed toward greatness. Who knew that a Hall of Fame career with the Buffalo Bills would be dwarfed by their son, Hunter? This is a story that refuses to detail a sadness that would seem only natural. Instead, it is an uplifting tale of courage, hope, and love. We are proud to call the Kelly family our friends. You will, too!

Dan and Claire Marino

We know through our own experience of having a son with Autism that challenges also present many blessings. We admire the fact that Jim and Jill have been willing to share both their struggles and successes with the world. This story is a tribute to Hunter James Kelly. Hunter's short life transformed the Kelly family, and through the work of Hunter's Hope, the foundation that bears his name, his life will touch countless other families. Reading this book was like watching a miracle unfold.

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Without a Word 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Your son has been diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy. There is no treatment and no cure. I will do everything I can to help your son. But the disease has already progressed so fast I don't think he will live to see his second birthday. With these words, pro football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, were catapulted from a seemingly fairy-tale life of celebrity into a world of private struggle and medical uncertainty. What the public didn't know, however, was that behind the scenes lurked more than a family's pain at the dire prognosis of their only son. Hunter's illness exposed the troubled depths of a marriage that had been shadowed by uncertainties of its own. For eight years, Hunter defied all medical odds, and his parents pursued every means to save his life. Meanwhile, Jim and Jill's marriage continued to fail yet was held together by their love for their kids and their determined hope for Hunter. Though Hunter's illness prevented him from ever speaking a word, his will and unconditional love spoke volumes to his family and all who knew him. And in time, the light of Hunter's silent, all-too-brief life shone into the darkened corners of the couple's lives, leading them to authentic faith, a restored relationship, and the establishment of a foundation that is reaching other families with terminally ill children around the world. Without A Word, How A Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything, by Jill Kelly and foreward by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, transparently shares every moment that silently transformed the hearts of every member of Jill's family and changed their lives forever, moments that may change your heart and life, too. (excerpt back cover). This book takes you into the personal journals that Jill and Jim kept during those years of Hunter's life and show you a deeper side to the love and trials that challenged the family and marriage of the Kelly's. Even despite the fact that Jim Kelly was still active in the NFL during this time, his faith would be forever changed by the behaviors shown to him by his wife and his mother in law during Hunter's disease. The part of the book I enjoyed the best was the chapter in dealing with Hunter's death and the grief that Jill writes about. The most haunting revelation is when Jill is given the answer to the question that haunts any parent enduring these time, Why God didn't you heal my child? Jill is finally given the answer by God that if He healed Hunter, it would have made headlines for a year or more and then be forgotten about by everyone. Yet in his death, Hunter's life has changed the lives of those who knew him and that will never be forgotten. I received this book compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups, for my honest review. I found this book to be very emotional as a mom of kids herself and who at times struggles with my own faith during storms. Jill Kelly's truths reminded me that no matter what happens to us in life, God is still in control. We have to hold on to that. I would rate this book a perfect 5 out of 5 stars!
JanetRuth More than 1 year ago
Jim and Jill Kelly thought they had the perfect life. They had a two year old daughter and were expecting their second child. Jim retired from his pro football career and they looked forward to enjoying their new baby boy, who was born on Jim's birthday. Everything seemed perfect! They had no idea how their life would change. When their son Hunter was only four months old, he was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease called Krabbe Leukodystropy. They were told that the average life expectancy for children with this disease is about 14 months. Without a Word is a heart wrenching story of a young family and their journey through a terminal illness with their son. Jim and Jill share personal details of their troubled marriage, their search for faith, and their restored relationship. Even though their young son Hunter was never able to speak a word, he had a huge impact on everyone who was blessed to know him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so inspiring, yet so traumatic. The devastation and battles this family constantly endured would be way to overbearing for anyone to handle. Yet this family survived and overcame with great joy. Throughout the entire book, Jill gives you the key to survival and how to face life's impossible trials. A passionate and encouraging story that will give you hope and a determination to survive and press on in your own life. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a very inspirational read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read. Thank you Jill for the wonderful words of inspiration. God is good and through Him all things are possible.
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Bigdogtstowe1 More than 1 year ago
Just when you think an athlete has it all you read a book like this that tells the whole truth, the struggles, and ultimate happy ending. I very much enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone!
Sandra61 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. I could not put it down. As a parent of a handicapped child, I could relate to so much of Jill's story. I laughed and cried, sometimes at the same time. It is a true testament of God's beautiful love and strength.
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kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
Not being a football fan I had never heard of Jim Kelly, or his wife Jill, what initially drew me to this book was the fact that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill had written the forward, but once I read this book, I am certain I will never forget the Kelly family and the special little boy that God entrusted them to take care of! Hunter James Kelly was born on Feb 14 1997 on his fathers birthday, and at the age of four months old was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease, called Krabbe Leukodystrophy, for which there was no cure or treatments. His parents Jim and Jill Kelly were told that he probably wouldn't live to be two years old. This was a story that I was unable to put down. I became totally immersed in reading not just Hunter's story but the Kelly's story as well. Jill opens up her heart as a wife and mother and shares the struggles and joys of taking care of a terminally ill child, while trying to maintain a marriage and take care of her other children, she shows us the true meaning of a mothers love.We also hear from Jim as well as Hunter's sisters about their feelings while struggling with the loss of their loved one. As the title suggests Hunter never uttered a word during his eight year stay on earth but thru this amazing story his life will forever be remembered.Even though this may sound like a sad story of a young boy's life cut short by illness it actually is so much more, we see a family led to God during this story. Its a story filled with hope, love, heartbreak and faith.A story I would highly recommend. Thank you Jim and Jill Kelly for sharing the story of Hunter with us! I would like to add that 50% of the proceeds of this book will go to Hunter's Hope Foundation. Hunter's Hope confronts the critical need for information, awareness, and research in response to the threat of Krabbe disease and related Leukodystrophies. Thanks to Faith Words for providing me a review copy of this book. Even though I was provided a review copy of this book it in no way alters my opinion of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished Without a Word by Jill Kelly. You don't have to be a football fan, Jim Kelly fan, Christian, or even a parent to be moved by this book. If you read this book it will definitely change the way you look at life and yourself.
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jlw7 More than 1 year ago
Jill Kelly shares from the depths of her heart, from a sacred place where few dare to travel. You will feel her pain and then you will be lifted high with hope and joy - a joy you may have never known. You begin reading her story and leave with an indescribable joy and hope for your own story. This is a must read for everyone. It doesn't matter who you are or what you are going through, you will find hope for yourself in this book. You will be inspired and renewed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd also like to recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score" by R.A. Clark. It's revealing look at the power of forgiveness. If you ever felt trapped by anger, guilt, resentment and/or pain, then this book is for you.