Posts Tagged ‘Kim’


Lessons Learned Because of Kim…

woman's hat

Warning: Get 2 beverages first.

Special Note: Once again, I am editing this as I reel from the horror of what has happened to West, TX, just 81 miles from my home. Please pray for healing and all resources necessary to combat this tragedy.

Note: Today is a tough day for me. My good friend, Kim, used to celebrate her birthday on this day. Those of us who were privileged to know her and love her still miss her helpful presence in our lives. This was first written after her memorial service in early 2010, after Kim passed away from Stage IV breast cancer, at the age of 51 (It may help to read last Wednesday’s post first!):

You knew it was coming, so buck up, grab your hanky if you must, grab a beverage while you’re at it, and then read on…it’ll be okay.

1. 98% of women diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer survive for at least 5 years. That statistic went up 3% since Kim was diagnosed.

2. 15% of women diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer survive for 5 years. The average length of time a Stage IV breast cancer patient lives following diagnosis is 2 years. Kim lived 2 years and 3 months after diagnosis at Stage IV.

3. The Susan G. Komen organization has funded nearly all of the studies that have led to huge breakthroughs in breast cancer research over the last 30 years.

4. 410,000 breast cancer patients will die this year and every year and yet, breast cancer is not the # 1 killer of women. Heart disease is, but even though I have a personal vendetta against heart disease, it never took my best friend away from me. In comparison over 200,000 people passed away one time from an earthquake in Haiti. Just sayin’.

5. A real friend tells you when you aren’t thinking correctly.

6. A real friend reminds you that you are worthy of respect, honor and love when it seems like the whole world is against you.

7. A real friend loves your kids even when you’d like to smack one of them upside the head and reminds you why you love them, too.

8. It is a privilege, an honor and a learning experience of the highest order to be Kim’s friend.

9. I can’t drive down or up Hwy. 281 (the highway that led to our certification classes) anymore without bursting into tears.

10. I’ve permanently lost my I-ness. (This is something only she and I understand—sorry—you had to be there!)

11. You can solve all the problems in the world on a round trip on a Saturday morning to work on your mutual certifications.

12. The PH is the one to consult for the perfect prom dress.

13. I cannot walk past the Engineering Technology building at our local university without looking for my Scottish stiff upper lip. Unfortunately, my assigned GA parking spots are right beside it. Thank you so much, University Police.

14. Do not take 2 helicopter moms to Texas Tech for new student orientation.

15. I will miss “I need therapy” distress IMs.

16. Roasted red pepper hummus dip should be its own food group, as should homemade guac and Texas caviar.

17. If you want some AD deviled eggs at Thanksgiving, get there early.

18. If you want AS Derby pie at Thanksgiving, do the dishes and stick close to the dessert table.

19. Never introduce 3 husbands to another fryer.

20. No food is safe from the fryer when the above 3 are in the same vicinity.

21. Normally uncommunicative males will yak more than women when deciding what to fry for Thanksgiving. Cell phone bills will be demonstrably higher and they will blame that on their teenagers.

22. A USA and a USDA has nothing to do with a government or a governmental operation.

23. Our little town lost their “hostess with the mostest” on January 26, 2010.

24. You don’t love your family and friends..…you lurve them.

25. I now know that the women that Kim loved were all uniquely special women.

26. There is no family like the Big Family.

27. I should not cough in the presence of my Big Family Children…unless I want to catch up with my doc soon.

28. Cookies are not something you eat, but they’re just as sweet.

29. Hydrocolloid Band-Aids are my friend.

30. Moleskin and a pair of scissors are better than chocolate. (Yes, I said that.)

31. Snoozing on a bed of acorns can actually be therapeutic.

32. There is no garage sale like a Kim’s Krew garage sale.

33. My buddy, Peggy, can hang clothes faster than Superman.

34. The real steel magnolias live in my town and there’s a slew of them.

35. Kim’s daughter is meant to be a nurse…all you had to do was watch her interact with her mom to know that.

36. No one loves a mom the way my AS loves his mom and she knew it and loved that.

37. No one loves a woman the way Kim’s husband loved his wife.

38. A wife and mom can reduce two seminary-trained ministers to “reaching for adequate words.”

39. No one loves youth the way our former youth director loves “her kids.”

40. No one loves a daughter the way my  adoptive parents loved their daughter.

41. Your biggest problem when a family member dies in in our town is how to deal with overwhelming expressions of love.

42. The tears at her funeral are enough to make me seriously think about investing in Kimberly Clarke.

43. The PH  does know how to cry after all.

44. The eldest DS has a very long memory.

45. The DD identifies with her sister all too well.

46. The youngest DS would rather go to a funeral home than play percussion.

47. I am very angry…but not at God, as some might think, but at a disease that has the temerity, the audacity, and the insolence to think that it can take my buddy away from us and think it will survive much longer on this planet.

48. I look like heqq after I’ve cried for 24 hours straight. Yes, 24 hours straight.

49. I now know the importance of telling my friends I love them and overcoming my stoic Scot side to give them a hug.

50. Her death does not go unnoticed. From now on there will be donations and other forms of support for those I know who continue to wage war on this vicious disease.

51. Breast Cancer: You’re gone…you just don’t know it yet. Do not mess with me or those she loves. Do not mess with our Big Family.

Tomorrow’s Post: Poetry Day!


Just Because She’s Her…

Pink Ribbon

Warning: Get a beverage first.

Special Note: I am editing this as I reel from the news about the Boston Marathon. The tragedy that struck there should not deter us from doing good things for others. If anything, it should motivate us, even more, to do even greater works to counteract the evil in our midst.

Note: I first wrote this in February of 2009 after making a rather huge decision for my own life. Later on in the week, you’ll understand why I chose to re-post this now. At the bottom, I have provided an update. We are the selfless acts we perform for others:

I met her in 1993, a few short months after moving to our little Texas town. At first she intimidated me, honestly! She didn’t smile often and she was ALL business. We met in Sunday School, back when our kids were tots and very soon, I realized why everyone talked about her. I encountered her next as President of the Young Homemakers, a group that does community service around talking to each other about how challenging it can be to be a mom of little ones.
Next I encountered her as President of the elementary PTO. I noticed a trend–when she ran a meeting, they were done in an hour and productive. Few others seemed capable of such a feat, considering that the Board was composed of 27 very talkative, very opinionated, very stubborn women.

Then, she came down with thyroid cancer. While I wouldn’t say I knew her well at this point, something compelled me to visit her hospital room while she recovered from surgery to eliminate the cancer. I think she was a little surprised and stunned to see just an acquaintance visiting her. I was a little surprised myself. To this day I don’t know why I did it…but I think it had something to do with how she would eventually influence my life.

She was there, like many others, when I had my own crisis a few years later…those sudden heart attacks I often talk about. I don’t even want to know everything she did for me then. Let’s just say I felt her presence.

Next, she subbed as secretary of the church while I was drowning in church financial paperwork. As usual, she was competent in every way and I so wished she would just stay to do the job right.

I wound up working at our local university and one day not much later, so did she. We decided to do a certification together that would require us to get up at ridiculous hours on Saturday mornings to go to a town an hour away. I decided that I didn’t want anyone but her seeing what a grizzly bear I would be at that time of the morning. I knew she wouldn’t hold it against me! We solved the world’s problems then and talked about what we hoped our children would do later in life….the stuff that Moms talk about. And in those car rides, a friendship–an undying friendship was born.

Next stop was visiting colleges together with our eldest children. It was both a time that brought a lot of giggles to our faces and a time of complete and utter frustration–watch 2 moms try to counsel 2 very stubborn children on how to be independent…yeah, that’s really what I said…let’s just say 4 people were all very upset with each other and yet, we still came out on the other side loving one another even more intensely.

About this time the hubbies starting buddying up, too, and that’s a rarity…when you not only have a friendship, but your spouses do, too. Pretty soon I found myself loving her children as my own, for not only were they wonderful people in their own right, but they often interceded to make my children’s lives better, too.

One fall she and her daughter got it in their heads that our family and another should be invited to their Thanksgiving Dinner. That was one fun, crazy day and a tradition was born. What’s more…a new family was born…the infamous, wonderful BIG family.

One day the local “momma mafia” started emailing, calling and texting asking me if I had seen her lately. I hadn’t–many of our convos happened over instant messaging! But, soon I did and I knew why I had been contacted. Something was drastically wrong with Ms. Competent and we were gearing up for “Iwo Jima” to make sure she got herself looked at…that’s the momma mafia for you!

The exams confirmed our worst fears…Ms. Competent was dealing with Stage IV Breast Cancer…it was ravaging just about every part of her body. And yet, despite our collective tears, worrying, and overzealous attempts to help her family, she persevered and got herself back to the point where she could work part-time and be that mom again.

Soooooo….because she’s her, because she’s my buddy, because she’s the second mom to my kids, because she’s Ms. Competent, I’ve decided to send her a little “Get Well card” by walking the Dallas Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk next November in Dallas.

We’ve started a team…Kim’s Krew. The eldest DS consented to be my personal coach and chauffeur during those 3 days. See you there!

Update 2013: Kim’s health took a “nose dive” in the fall of 2009. Kim’s Krew completed the 3 Day in early November 2009, raising more than $ 10,000 in donations. Kim was there, even though she had just endured yet another painful round of chemo. (And even though we told her it would be just fine if she didn’t attend.) Unfortunately, Kim lost her battle with breast cancer in early 2010. We still miss our Kim…a LOT.

Point to Ponder Challenge # 1: My second cousin, Deb Cottle, is now battling breast cancer and was diagnosed at age 30 in 2011. A benefit spaghetti dinner will be taking place to help offset her substantial costs in fighting this nasty disease this coming Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm, local time. If you’re in the Scottville, Michigan area, would you please do me a favor and eat some spaghetti and donate what you can? If you want more details, let me know an email where I may reply. I cannot attend (prior commitments, unfortunately), so you’ll make me one happy woman if you can attend for me!

Point to Ponder Challenge # 2: If that’s not possible, then do Deb and Kim a favor and sign up to run or walk in a breast cancer event in your area. Every little bit helps and many lives have been saved because of such selfless actions in the past. You are their heroes. Thanks!

Tomorrow’s Post: Slam Jam Session…