This is hard, but I have to do it. Because Kim will absolutely kick my butt if I don’t. However, please excuse my human condition.
While the cancer sucks, there is something to be said about having time at the end to adjust to the reality of losing somebody before they are actually gone. I am selfish. I want Kim back. I want to wake up with her in the morning and fix her a cup of coffee. I want to sit with her on the deck and talk about how lucky we are to have two wonderful sons. I want to take more trips with her and make more precious memories. But I want a Kim without a bleeding tumor draining the life from her, and that, my friends, is too much to ask. So I have to settle for the Kim who now lives only in my heart, and in your hearts as well.
During the time she was here on earth, Kim contributed greatly to the lives of individuals. Isn’t that what we are all here for? Kim influenced the lives of children, some directly and some by improving the environment in which they learn. It is some of the most important work a person can do.
I started calling her the “child whisperer” because like the character in “The Horse Whisperer” who could take a wild, bucking, out of control horse and calm it into a state of quiet cooperation, Kim had this amazing ability to do that with a child.
Kim and I first connected on a high school band trip. I was graduating and Kim was just a sophomore. So for the next two years she dragged her college boyfriend to her high school homecomings and proms.
I fell head over heels for Kim and when she graduated high school, I gave her a ring, which her mom immediately made her give back to me. Her daughter would not be getting married until she had an education and could stand on her own two feet. So our engagement waited until Kim got her education degree, and she started down that path of working with children, especially the little ones.
Kim hated regimented preschool. Get in line, sit down, one person in the play area at a time, give that toy back, stop what you’re doing … for Kim, preschool was a place for a child to explore their world, and therefore, the teachers had an obligation to provide experiences that allowed the child to grow and expand their thinking. A child did not have to fit a certain box of conduct, mental ability, or physical ability and if they came with unusual attributes such as autism, adhd or physical disabilities, so much the better. She was champion for the underdog. Take the judgement, take the blame off of the child and let that child be themselves. Use your own creativity to allow the children to take the class in the direction that the children want it to go. This was Kim’s mantra that she repeated aloud every day, several times a day to anyone she met. Nothing made her happier than finding a school where that took place, and nothing made her work harder than finding one where it didn’t. Kim was a true inspiration. Her expectations for you and herself were always high, but never higher than you could achieve, and she kept pushing on you until you got there. And she did that for me and she did that for our boys.
During her final days, Kim was a reflection of her family. She was scared, she was anxious, she was hurting, because she had already transferred her strength to us to get us through her last travel plans, her trip home to God.
And I now know I have a responsibility to live the rest of my life in honor of this sweet woman and the love she was so willing to give me. Thank you, Sugar. Until we meet again, I know you will always be right here in this heart of mine.
I leave you with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.”