We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

On Tidal Waves...

    Ok, so today was a pretty rough day for the bambini's and me...don't worry, we know we'll have them and everyone tells us we will - we made it the best that we could.  Here's a story about a reoccurring nightmare that I've had since I was very young...please, if anyone feels like psycho-analyzing this one, do not read this story...or at least, do not post a reply...this is part of my journey...

     Starting with today, Grammie and Grandpa Jim made their way back to Pennsylvania...it was a sad goodbye and the weather was most bizarre, with snow showers and driving wind.  Until we approached the airport, when the wind settled down and the sun cut through the storm clouds above the airport.  The bambini's were pretty quiet, they will miss Grammie and Grandpa Jim, having had a lot of fun and comfort from them.  They have been a great help.
     When we left the airport, we headed down to 4th ave on the southside to pick up Kimmy's death certificates.  We talked about it on the way there...and the bambini's wanted to know why they have to call it a 'death certificate' - we are certainly discovering the cold side to losing a loved one, the bureaucratic, red tape required by so many.  We all went into Desert Rose Mortuary, the new 4 musketeers.  Afterward, again, we tried to make the best of the gray weather and our sadness and went to Micha's, right across from the dog track.  We were able to enjoy a meal and each other's company - these little bambini's are so inspirational!  We picked up some skates for Autumn and prepared for another night at Skate Country.
This helped cheer the kids up - Angie, Andrea, Kristie and Janene arranged for it and all of their kids were there and this time, our neighbors, Betsey, Brian, Amy and Tom and their kids all went.  Everyone skated and it helped Cody, Autumn and Tonio.  We are so blessed to have the love and support of wonderful friends and neighbors!
          But back to the dream, well nightmare...I've always had bad dreams involving tidal waves.  Usually, I'm at the beach, enjoying the day, sometimes with Kim or the kids.  The waves are always beautiful, seagulls in the air, when, out of nowhere, will come a monster wave, engulfing everything. I've woken Kim up screaming, coming up from these dreams, thrashing as I try to find the surface...
         I need to tell you I have no fear of water.  I love to swim.  In the Atlantic Ocean, I always enjoyed swimming the 30 yards or so out to the sand bar during low tide and riding the waves back to shore.  On both coasts, I always love going out on a boogie board or doing some body surfing.  I do not have any memories of a bad experience in the water to explain the dreams.
         Recently, I had one where Tonio and I were sitting on a bench on the beach.  Watching the waves break, Tonio was feeding seagulls and the day was perfect.  He began to tell me something and I leaned in to listen.  When I looked back to the sea, the wave towered over us, casting a dark shadow - it crashed before I could reach out and save Tonio...I could see him somersaulting through the water and could not quite reach him...
          A few years ago, we took a family trip to San Diego and went up the coast a bit to La Jolla to see if we could find any seals to show the kids.  The surf was pretty rough, as there had been some storms at sea.  We told the kids they could build sandcastles and play near the surf, but not to go in.  Kim, Tonio and I were on a blanket further away from the water's edge, enjoying the sun and watching Tonio dig, creating a fort for himself.  I glanced toward Cody and Autumn, who were trying to fill their buckets for their sandcastle they were building.  Little Autumn had her back to the surf and, just like in one of my nightmares, a huge wave was cresting.  It broke, sweeping them both right off of their feet.  Cody quickly regained himself and ran to safety.  Autumn went under and was quickly heading towards the sea.  Unlike in one of my bad dreams, I sprung up and sprinted towards where I'd seen Aut go under - and again, unlike in nightmares, I've never run faster, scooping her up, just as she was about to be pummeled by another wave, which crashed down on my shoulders, but I kept my legs pumping up the beach, never faltering.  Autumn had taken in some water, but she was ok.
           The wave dream comes and goes...I do not know what triggers it, as it happens during periods that are good and ones that are stressful, equally...and it's not as if they happen often, either.  Sometimes, it can be years between them.  But, it usually plays out the same, I can't save anyone with me or myself...
           While Kim was pregnant with Antonio, we took Cody and Autumn to San Diego to go to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and to Mission Beach.  They absolutely loved Sea World (I promised them we'd try to get there this summer), especially the dolphin petting tank and the dolphin show.  Cody likes the rafting ride there quite a bit, too.  The Philly Zoo was always are favorite, followed closely by the Baltimore Zoo and then San Diego.  We were actually members of the Phoenix Zoo for a few years, going up 3 or 4 times a year to see a sporting event, staying over night and taking the kids to the zoo in the morning.  And, we've been members of the Reid Park Zoo, here in Tucson, since about 1997. 
           On this particular trip to San Diego, Kim had another surprise for us...she had bought whale watching tickets.  The boat would cruise around the Sand Diego Harbor, before heading out to sea.  Cody and Autumn were excited, and so was I...again, I have no fear of water or the ocean.  But, the area had been hit pretty hard by storms and the harbor had some pretty good sized swells coming in.  We were all given life jackets and the boat headed out to harbor...it was a little rough, but we were enjoying the day, watching seals swim and keeping an eye out for a whale.  As we got closer to where the harbor met the bay, the size of the waves began to increase.  The waves were around 8-10' high as we entered the ocean and rising.  By now, I had Cody and Autumn in headlocks...the captain began turning the boat into the waves to prevent captsizing and the announced that the waves were getting to big and we were turning back - we would be given a full refund.  When we made it back, I overheard the captain say, he thought the waves were between 12-14' high in the ocean...
            When we got off of the boat, I realized I had never shared with Kim my tidal wave dreams.  She was so sweet, saying she would never had booked the trip if she had known...but, I told her, I'd go back out on a calm day, I really wanted to see the whales!  But, that day, I was fearful that Cody or Autumn would get tossed overboard by the rough seas.
           Well, I had the dream again the night Kimmy passed...and I had some level of understanding...the tidal wave had come, for real...in this nightmare, I was able to scoop up all three bambini's, keeping them safe and not losing them, like I had previously in every other nightmare...but, I could not save Kimmy.  I thought I could.  I bathed her, washed her hair, fed her, helped her walk, held her hand at her bedside, brought her cool drinks, ice packs, enjoyed her company and gave her her medications, including the twice daily injections of Lovenox, the blood thinner that her cancer outsmarted...and, while I was kneeling down, like the day I proposed to Kim, getting ready to give her a shot, she told me 'you are my knight in shining armor'...but, I wasn't, I couldn't be, no matter how much I did, it wasn't enough and as the wave engulfed me - I clung to the bambini's and reached for Kimmy's hand...but I couldn't hold on...she slipped away...as in my dreams, I never saw the tidal wave coming...
            The death certificate brought home that reality with a cold finality today...as I walked out, with my copies in my hand, I wanted to shout out 'what the hell happened?'...not with any anger, mind you, just shock.  Swirling around beneath the water, clinging to the bambini's. It's one of those things that never happens to you, always to someone else, yet here I was leading my three little ones across a bleak parking lot, under a gray sky, with a piece of paper that I needed to prove their mother had passed...  Instead of shouting, I grabbed all three in a large embrace and told them "I'm here for you, now and always.  We are together, here for each other.  And mama is watching over us now and will help to guide us."  Then I told them it was too cold and we should move somewhere warmer, which got them all smiling and offering suggestions...'how about the equator?' Tonio chimed in.  We moved on to our lunch at Micha's...
            Since Kimmy passed, I have made it a habit to spend some time out back, after the house was quiet, searching the stars for Kimmy.  Telling her about our day and listening for her advice.  Before going back in each night, I tell her how much I love her.  How much I miss her.  And pray for her.  Tonight, we started doing this together, as a family and the bambini's are so sweet in their wishes for their mama 'I hope you are warm in Heaven' Autumn calls out.  'Good night, don't let the bed bugs bite' Tonio yells...I tell him, there are no biting bed bugs in Heaven...that makes him very happy.  Cody whispers 'Sweet dreams'...
          So we end a dark day on a bright note, just like Kimmy would have wanted us too...

"She brings to him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate"
         Proverbs 31:10-12



  1. "Distress and grief I kept finding. But upon the name of God I proceeded to call. Ah, Jehovah(God) do provide my soul with escape! God is gracious and righteous and our God is One showing mercy. God is guarding the inexperienced ones...Precious in the eyes of God, is the death of his loyal ones..." Ps 116:3,4-6,15 "Out of the distressing circumstances I called upon Jah; Jah answered" Ps 118:5

    May these verses help you in times like this.

    My heart feels your families pain, "weep with those who weep" Ro 12:15

  2. I can't even imagine how difficult that must've been for all four of you..I have nothing profound to say today, because quite frankly, when I think of how much I miss Kim, I am immediately taken to you guys and what an unimaginable loss YOU all feel. It's just not fair. I am so sorry for you guys. So glad you have each other, and Kim up above. :)

  3. My heart hurts for you my friend. For some reason, Garth Brooks comes to mind after reading this entry. You continue to find the positives - "ending a dark day on a bright note". Just like the lyrics to this song.

    The Dance

    Looking back on the memory of
    The dance we shared 'neath the stars alone
    For a moment all the world was right
    How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

    And now I'm glad I didn't know
    The way it all would end the way it all would go
    Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
    But I'd have had to miss the dance

    Holding you I held everything
    For a moment wasn't I a king
    But if I'd only known how the king would fall
    Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all

    And now I'm glad I didn't know
    The way it all would end the way it all would go
    Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
    But I'd have had to miss the dance

    Yes my life is better left to chance
    I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance