We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back down the rabbit hole...

   When you haven't slept in days, it no longer matters if you are asleep or awake, everything looks the same. 
   If you have not read 'The Art of Racing in Rain' Garth Stein, do not!  I pretty much just lived it.
    Our Kimmy, our shining angel, left us last night.  She went so peacefully, with a whisper, so Kim like.
    How did it happen so fast?  We were blessed with wonderful 5 days with Kim - she seemed like she was going in the right direction.  She had a great appetite, enjoyed helping around the house and with the kids, visiting with friends...she was getting some decent rest, too.
    It was that nagging cough...I gave her her nightly Lovenox injections and she told me I was her knight in shining armour, saving her life...then she fell asleep for about an hour.  The cough woke her up and she stayed up until about 2, falling into a troubled sleep.  I could her some rattling in her lungs and asked if she was bringing up any blood and she said no.  Around 3, we moved her out to her Lazy Boy and she said her stomach was a mess, so I made her some raison toast and brought her ginger ale.  By 4, it was clear I had to get her back to St. Joseph's, and I called 911.
   The ambulance had her to St. Joseph's by 5 and she needed 15 liters of air to breath.  They got her looking great, as our neighbor, Amy, can attest to.  She snuck into ER to bring me coffee and a protein shake from our friend Lupe, by telling them she was my sister and Kim was so happy to see her.  Her color and breathing were doing better.  T
   They took chest x-rays and sent Kim to have a CT scan.  The CT scan required Kim to lay flat, which distressed her poor body terribly and she started to sink.  Her breathing becoming more and more labored.  The CT scan showed horrible developments, so Dr. McCarten consulted with Kim and I on two options.
   #1 - tape a high powered oxygen mask to Kim's face, which he compared to hurricane force like wind being forced into her.  If the liquids that showed up in her lungs on the CT scan were mucous related, this would help...if it was blood, it would kill her quickly.
   #2 - put Kim on a ventilator, perform a bronchial scope and see what was causing the bleeding and go from there.
   We decided, together, that #2 was the only way to go.  They put Kim under after we had some time to give each other loving words and embraces.  We told each other how very much we loved one another and then I had to go.  I went out to St. Joseph's garden while the Dr. performed the procedure.  The hosptial chaplain, Wendy, came out to get me and told me the blood was in both lungs and that they would need to be cauterized.  Dr. Zaetta was set up to do that.
   Monsignor Tom stopped by to pray with Kim.  She was out, but we were told she could hear us.  I let her know that she was the best friend, the best wife and the best mom, ever.
   As the time rolled closer to her procedure, Dr. McCarten advised me that this was simply a 'bandaid', many other things were starting to happen as Kim's cancer was spreading like wildfire.  Now in her pancreas, thyroid, lungs, liver and bones.  How did it happen this quickly??  She was producing lactic acid at a tremendous rate and an infectious disease Dr. was consulted.  He placed Kim on 3 anti-biotics to see if that would help.  But her blood pressure was dropping - her liver was failing!
   Father Harry came in and annointed Kimmy.  He prayed with us.  By this time, the bambini's were brought it.  Wendy, the chaplain, had arranged for a private meeting room for us.  I let them know their mama's situation.  We have never hid anything from these guys, or candy coated anything, but, of course, they were upset.  Poor little Antonio got sick in the trash can.  I let them know what they would see, that their mama was hooked to a breathing machine.  She had iv's in both arms, out of her chest and her neck.  They handled it incredibly well.  We visited with Kim while they told her how much they loved her.  Then, Father Harry hugged each bambino and prayed with all of us.
   We had a lot of support at St. Joseph's...Betsey and Brian (who's birthday it was), Amy and her son Alex, Andrea, Mario and their son, David, Angie and Janene, took turns consoling us and keeping us strong.
   I went back to Kim's side, alone and waiting for the good Lord to take her. 
   She was such a good person.  To call her my soul mate would be a disservice - she was so much more than that.  We will keep her alive in our lives, as she would want.  I told the bambini's that mama would not want us to complain, but to appreciate all we have.  I had been praying for Kim's recovery...I had been praying for a miracle - what I realize now, is, that Kim was the miracle!  I was blessed to know her for 33 years.  We were together 27 years and married (here at the San Xavier Mission) for 17 years.  I just feel so bad for our sweet bambini's - with no mother to guide them - I promised them that I will do my best to be both mom and dad for them.
   As we left St. Joseph's for the last time, we took the stairs together...we walked past St. Joe's statue and I told the kids, 'Mom said that this was her journey...now it is our journey'.
   I believe Kimmy is in heaven now, probably walking on the beach there...reunited with her Dad and relatives and our pups, Cajun and Zona.
   And she is in no pain, she is at peace and with the Lord...

I'm going to try to work on funeral arrangements and will post them when I figure this out.  Please do not send flowers -we are inudated (and we have penty of food!) - if you want to send something, I am thinking of starting a foundation, to help families like ours, through a time like this, so if you feel like you need to do something, do that, please no flowers.  I'd also love to put a 'thank you' billboard - if anyone knows how to do this or has connections, let me know.
Thank you all for all the tremendous love, caring, support and, of course your prayers!!



  1. Dave thank you for sharing this journey so openly and honestly with all of us reading this and sharing this with you. I am heart broken for you and your children to put it mildly.

    God's plan is His plan and only His - and it is SO painful for us here on earth to understand it completely.

    I am DEEPLY sorry for your loss (and that of your sweet kids) and pray that God can wrap you up in his love and help your hearts heal.


  2. Dave, Cody, Autumn & Antonio,

    I am really stumbling for words. I am so saddened and sorry for your loss. We are heartbroken and have all of you in our prayers. Kim will live within all of you forever - how lucky all of you are. She truly was a special woman - so beautiful inside and out. And proof of that is all of you. You are all beautiful and special. I can still see Kim over at our open house - that radiant smile - so full of joy and goodness. I feel lucky to have crossed paths with her - and all of you.

    While I end with a prayer for Kim, this is only the beginning of her new journey. God bless all of you.

    Absolve, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
    the soul of Thy servant Kim Conca,
    from every bond of sin,
    that being raised in the glory of the resurrection,
    she may be refreshed among the Saints and Elect.

    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Love and prayers to all of you.


  3. The loss of our Kim on earth is God's gain in heaven. I am so blessed to have known her. She touched so many lives - more than she probably even knew. Selfishly, I want her back, but I know she is in heaven with that beautiful smile and out of pain. I hope to pass on what wonderful things Kim has taught me. My prayers are with you, Dave, and your beautiful kids, and with all of her friends who miss her intensely. Thank you, Dave, for all of the updates about Kim. They kept us close to Kim when we felt so distant and helpless.

  4. Matthew 5:4
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

    I have a friend who does billboards in Phx. I am seeing if has a Tucson connection of if he can do it here.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. We will continue to pray for you and the kids. We know Kim is more than fine. I hope you find peace in that.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. Diane Wiltshire just called me. I did not have a chance to get on the computer this morning. My eyes are swollen and I could fill a bucket of water from my tears. I know Jesus reminds us, as he did Mary,Lazarus sister, that the dead are sleeping and will be awaken on the last days(John 5:28; 6:39-40), but for us who are living we need comfort for those we have loss. I cannot imagine the pain you all are feeling right now. May our Heavenly Father and his son comfort you and give you strength through these trying times."Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which ourselves are being comforted by God" 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    with Love and tender affection,

  6. My dearest brother Dave

    Cindy and I are so sorry and sad for your loss. May the Great Comforter do his works in your life and the kids.

    Bob and Cindy

  7. There was a heaviness in the air today...a gaping hole in so many hearts. I've been asking myself over and over what is the best way to keep her memory alive. I think the answer is to choose to live the way Kim lived, without judgement, and with so much love and hope for this world. A role model for us all...I am just so sorry for your tremendous loss...

  8. Dave, Cody, Autumn, and Tonio
    I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Kim was such a wonderful wife and mother (and person in general) and I can't even imagine how upset you must be. May the Lord give you strength and help you through these times. She will be greatly missed!
    Brandi and Travis

  9. Dave and Family,

    I don't even know what to say. I remember being told about the COnca family when I started my student teaching with Ami and how wonderful you all were. Ami made a point to introduce me to you and Kim and I knew instantly why she thought you guys were so wonderful.
    I am blessed to have known Kim and I am amazed and humbled by your Faith and optimism. You are a true inspiration and I hope if and when tradegy happens to this magnitude in my life, that I handle it with half the Grace you and your family have.

    God bless you in these hard times,

    Eric and Nicole Mikkelson

  10. Dave, Cody, Autumn & Tonio,
    Like so many others, I am at a loss for words. There are simply not enough kind words in the world to describe Kim. All that comes to mind is perfection. What an amazing woman. We are all so blessed to have known Kim and the wonderful family you all are. Your strength in your faith will guide in you in healing and the cherished memories will wrap you in comfort. God will be with you in your journey forward. We will pray for you. Bless your beautiful family!
    Jen, Dan, Lala, Noah & Emma

  11. Dear Dave and kids, I can't even imagine what you are going through, but the Lord will guide you through this and be with you always. Give a hug to the "bambini's" for us. You are truly a loving husband and father. Kim was blessed when she met you. God bless, Terri,Todd and Matt

  12. Dave,

    I am heartbroken at your loss and my prayers and thoughts are with you and the children. Although I haven't seen Kim in years I remember that bright Arizona day when you guys moved to Tucson and immediately knew the two of you had something that most never get to have. A kinship that radiated from both of you. That has stuck with me for 16 plus years.

    Mike Smith

  13. Dave, Cody, Autumn, & Tonio,
    I am deeply sorry for your loss. Kimmy was like another mother to me. She is an amazing woman. My mom woke me up at 6:30 and told me. It shocked me so much and I'm still confused. You guys are an amazing, strong, & loving family.
    Emma Corbelli ( Little C )

  14. Dave, Cody, Autumn and Tonio,
    I am deeply sorry for your loss of precious Kim. What a blessing we all feel for having had Kim in our lives. Please know that my continued prayers for strength go out to you and all of your family.
    Take care,

  15. I have talked to so many people about Kim today and shared stories...in every story everyone comments on that wonderful smile and laugh. Even my best friend's little girl remembered her "as the lady that gave me all the tattoos at the school carnival even though she was only supposed to give me two." She has touched so many lives...we can only wish to be half the person that Kim was...she was a rare one : )

  16. We are also saddened beyond comprehension by the news of Kim's passing. Finding words to encourage is difficult, but remembering Kim's love and encouragement is what is sustaining us now. The blessings she brought to those around her will never be matched. She was truly one of kind. We will miss her infectious laugh, and beautiful smile. She will be in our hearts always. We are sending love and prayers to you all. You have been an amazing man through this journey, your courage and strength displayed in your writings. We are so appreciative that you took time each day to do this even while caring for Kim so lovingly each day. God bless you.

  17. My heart goes out to you and your wonderful family. I taught your kids a few years ago at Cottonwood and I remember talking to Kim a few times. That's all it took to know what an amazing woman she was. I remember her always smiling, she was so beautiful. May God be with you 'till you meet again.
    Samantha Mack

  18. Dearest Concas,
    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Kim absolutely was a miracle in so many ways. She helped me so much throughout my difficult first year teaching and was always there for, me no matter what! She even brought me home-made soup when I was sick! Kim was and is a shining example of how we should live our lives, with passion, caring and lots of laughter. Her laugh was amazing and if I close my eyes, I can still hear it. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Love always, Sarah Stoner

  19. Dear Conca Family,

    Words cannot express how very sorry I am for the loss of your amazing wife, mother, and friend. Kim was an angel on this earth and everyone who knew her was blessed. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with your family during this difficult time.


  20. Dear Conca Family,
    I am so deeply saddened by Kim's passing. She was such an amazing, warm, genuine person. We are all blessed to have known her. I will keep you and the kids in my prayers daily.
    Love, Anabelle Pearson

  21. POST 1 OF 2 FROM EVA:

    Dear Dave, Cody, Autumn, & Tonio,
    My heart goes out to all of you in your time of sorrow. I will continually pray for God’s healing power and might to strengthen you and to comfort you in the days ahead. I,too, was praying for a miracle and was hopeful to see signs of improvement in Kim; I waited expectantly to hear from you that she was strong enough to start chemo. I don’t profess to understand God’s ways, but I do know that He is faithful. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the LORD.” How true that is. It doesn’t make any sense to me why Kim had to leave all of you behind; it is so difficult to comprehend that, but I do know He loves us and comforts us in our afflictions. “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13b

    Kim was a bright ray of hope and a shining example of God’s love. The world was and still is brighter place because of her. Our hearts ache for her.

  22. POST 2 OF 2 FROM EVA:
    In 2008, Kim sent this story to me that had been sent to her and she passed it along; it is reflective of the depth of her love and her passion for life, so I wanted to share it:

    Wish You Enough
    “At an airport I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her plane's departure and standing near the door, he said to his daughter, "I love you, I wish you enough".

    She said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy." They kissed good-bye and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated.

    Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked.

    "I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, her next trip back will be for my funeral, " he said.

    "When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?" He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone."

    He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.

    "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

    I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Good-bye."

    He then began to sob and walked away.

    They say, "It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to
    appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget

    Send this phrase to the people you'll never forget and also remember to
    send it to the person who sent it to you.

    It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them.

    If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're in a hurry and that
    you've forgotten your friends. Take the time to live!!!

    My friends and loved ones, I wish you ENOUGH!”

    Kim, my kind and loving friend, you will never be forgotten! You have passed into glory with our Heavenly Father. Your legacy of love continues on.
    Dave, Cody, Autumn, & Tonio,"I wish you enough!!"
    Love, Eva

    Matthew 5:4
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

  23. Dave and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss, Kim will be missed by so many people. She was such a wonderful person and friend. She was always so happy and a joy to talk to. We will always keep her and all of you in our hearts and prayers.

    Love, David, Elaine, Alisha and Matthew Peru

  24. Dave, Cody, Autumn, and Tonio,
    As I sit down to write this I am still in shock. It feels like just yesterday we were all sitting in the bleachers at the track meet cheering on Cody and Baylee. I can still hear Kim saying "Come on Cody!!!" so eagerly as he passed the finished line. I can see the smile on her face and pride in her heart. We have been cheering Dave, for all of you, praying that Kim would find her way back to health. She was truly an amazing person! HE is lucky to have such an Angel come home. I am sure she will continue to cheer your family on with all her love from Heaven. Our hearts and prayers go with you all.
    Love, Jaymee, Billy, Baylee, Devynn, Trynnity and Prestton Fisher

  25. Dear Dave,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. They are with Cody and Autumn and Antonio, and of course, with Kim. May the stars shine brighter with the light she carries with her to heaven. Please know that we are thinking of you, and that if you need anything we are here.

    All Our Love,
    Michael and Cassie Alegria

  26. Dave~ I have been following Kimmy's journey since it first began. Every morning, I would read your blog posts as I ate my breakfast. I would then think about you all of and on EVERY day...throughout the day! The two of you have inspired me.
    I am so very sorry for the loss of your Kimmy. It is very clear to me, and I'm sure to all, the deep love and commitment you have for your Kimmy. I know that she knew your love for her. I remember Kimmy telling me,YEARS ago, how much you loved her. She told me a story about you purchasing shoes for her as a surprise. I think that she said that you had them under her pillow waiting for her. She said that you had really good taste! :)
    I would love to hear more stories about your wonderful life with Kimmy! Should you ever decide to use this blog to share your favorite memories of Kimmy, I will read them. I am sure that there are many! God bless you and your sweet and precicous children as you begin this new journey. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. You all hold a special place in my heart!
    Dave~ I recently heard Beth Moore (Christian Author/Teacher) say, "God will only allow us to go through things that will glorify Him in the end." I want for you to know that I recognize that you have indeed given God much glory throughout this difficult process. He must love and cherish YOU so very much! God bless you guys! I know that you have LOTS of support, for which I am grateful, but...should you ever need anything at all, please don't hesitate to let me know. With much love, Cindy Motz

  27. Dave and kids,

    I was blessed to know Kim for a little over a year. Working with her at RVMS was in my eyes, a gift from God. She was the sunshine that everyone needed and looked forward to seeing each and everyday..

    On a lighter note, I wanted to share a silly, yet important memory of Kim with you all:

    Of course, Zona 78 was her favorite restaurant. At RVMS, she always had her glass Zona 78 Glass (that looked like a beer glass) on her desk filled with iced tea. I would always walk by her desk and tease her about "drinking on the job" because it looked like beer. I am sure the joke got old, but each and every time I said it to her, she giggled that sweet giggle and smiled. I plan on visiting Zona78 over break and purchasing a cup and filling it with earth tone rocks, and displaying it on her desk at RVMS.

    Praying for you all...

    ~Denelle Rasch

  28. Dear Dave,
    It has been a little over 24 hours since we learned of Kim's passing. Her journey, which you so eloquently shared, did not end the way we hoped, prayed or wanted. Kim is one of those extremely rare people that demonstrated genuine care for every person she encountered. Your family is extraordinary for its love, strength and faith despite challenge and hardship. Annette and I are eternally grateful that we had the privilege to know and love Kim, yet saddened that we didn't get the chance to get even closer to her. She made others around her better people - as do you, my friend.
    Our love and prayers for Kim, you, Cody, Autumn and Tonio continue and we will honor her by keeping her spirit close to us. Your love and dedication to each other and your children is an inspiration to us all. May God bless and comfort you during this difficult time, and may He reassure you that your beloved Kim is now doing His work from Heaven.
    Much love,
    Annette, Alyssa & Kirk Perrini

  29. Dave,
    Losing so much of my family in the last ten years you would think I'm a pro at these emotions. I have been in tears for the last day and half. Kim was the most selfless person I have ever met. I'll never forget walking our first born babies down Paseo San Bruno. All the wonderful family dinners together. Every year at Christmas I take out four ornaments that Kim had given us over the years and by now the kids even say "this one is from the Conca's". We still have the white rose bush that she sent to Shawn after his Mom passed away. I feel so blessed to have known her. You are all so special to us. We love you and keep you in our prayers always!
    Love, The Hoffman's

  30. Dear Dave & Kids,
    From the time Andrea called me yesterday to let me know that Kim had left us I have been struggling to accept it as real. We all have. My mind is flooded with the memories that we have of getting together for birthdays and baseball and easter egg dying etc.. Although much time had passed since our last get together, the memories that Kim and your family leave behind are so full of joy and a constant reminder of just how special she and all of you are. Everytime we ran into each other we always said the same thing "we have to get together soon" I'm so sorry life kept us all so busy, but how fortunate we are for having gotten to know Kim and all of you, and getting to spend what time together that we did! From the moment we found out that Kim was sick the prayers and hope never faltered and even though the loss is so great at least we can take comfort in knowing that she is with God in heaven and that our memories are wonderful because of the extraordinary person that she was. May god bless you and grant you the strength and peace that you need in this difficult time. You continue to be in our hearts and in our prayers. We are so sorry for all of you.
    With lots of love and hugs, Rachael,Mike,
    Sarah,Elizabeth,Luke,& Grace

  31. Dave,
    I am so sorry hear about Kim’s passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. I wish I had words, or a gesture that could be of some comfort to you. What you and your family have experienced is just incomprehensible. So deep, so sad and poignant. Yet your thoughts in your blog reveal how precious life is and how positive love is to us all. I hope that is something to reflect on for everyone who is touched by this loss. Something to help make sense of this senselessness. The world needs more light and kindness, not less, not now. Kim always brought that to the world around her when I knew her and apparently she never stopped. She will always have a special place in my heart. She taught me a lot about myself back when I needed that. It was a long time ago that you were both part of my life and I look back fondly on all those memories. Know that you are in my thoughts, and the thoughts & prayers of my family and so many others out there. I hope all that love and compassion, can help carry you through this trying time and help heal the wounds you have. Take care, be strong. If there is anything I can do please let me know.

    Mario Perrett

  32. Dear Dave,
    Brian and Betsey have kept me informed. I have and will forever keep you and your family in my prayers. Im very grateful that I have been able to get to know you,Kim, and your children. I have been so sad for Kim, you, and your kids. Last night, I dont recall any dreams but one... Kim was smiling like always. You and your family have given us a very valuable gift....the gift of being able to see such strength and love...in which we will always cherish as well as learn from and incorporate into our daily lives. Love Christa (Brian and Betsey's sister)