Today, my mom and Kim's brother, Kenny, flew in from Bethlehem, PA. The bambini's were delighted to see them and had fun playing with Uncle Kenny. The kids all went to school today, Tonio had pajama day and told me he had to go back, because everyone wanted him there. Mrs. Schrantz had his classmates draw him pictures and write to him when Kimmy passed away and they all said how much they missed him. It really touched little Antonio to be so loved by his friends...Autumn was ready to go back, too. Again, the love and caring these two receive at Cottonwood is extraordinary - everyone welcomed them back and Ms. Bryson, the principal, walked to class with us. Mrs. Schrantz took time to let me know during the day that Antonio was doing great and Ms. Bryson called to let me know she had checked in on Autumn, who was making gingerbread houses and Tonio, who was watching Polar Express and they were having fun. It was very comforting to get that news. Cody had a great day, receiving 4 awards at his end of quarter awards ceremony - one for high honor roll, one for perfect attendance, one for P.R.I.D.E., a citizenship type of program and one for Art. I was so proud and knew that Kimmy was smiling down from above on our boy.
My neighbor, Brian, is buys preparing a slide show for Saturday...Amy and I helped sift through boxes of pictures and memories, uncovering relects from our past...a receipt from a hotel at Beach Haven, New Jersey from August 1986 - we loved that beach, which is on Long Beach Island. L.B.I. has beautiful beaches - it is a barrier island, 6 miles off of the mainland - 18 miles long and 3 miles wide at it's widest spot. We would go there several times every summer beginning in 1984 spending all day on the beach, riding waves, swimming out to the sand bar at low tide and dodging the crabs that lived there. In the evening, we'd sometimes go crabbing in the bay or go out to dinner and then go see a band or two.
There were also movie ticket stubs, a collage of photos Kim had put together of us when we graduated from Liberty High School in 1983, college photos, photos from our vacations to Arizona in 1987 and 1989 - back before Old Tucson burned down - found some great ones of Kim, who was asked to participate in a stunt show, knocking out a few hired guns, and many, many incredible memories we were blessed to share together.
I spent some time with Father Harry, at St. Pius, who will preside over the celebration of Kimmy's life, recounting many stories of Kim's kindness and how much she reminded me of a Mother Teresa type of person, in that she was always helping others, never putting herself first and finding the good in every person she met or situation she was in. Above all, never complaining, but making the best of the situation and learning from it to do better in the future. While I was there, the surgeon who performed her gall bladder surgery, Dr. Atkinson (of Bristol, PA, where my Dad grew up!), called to say he had just heard about Kim and how touched he was by Kim and her positive attitude and what an incredible person she was - he wanted me to know he was on call this weekend, and as long as it was quiet, he would be there Saturday - another person Kim touched! I have received several calls, emails, etc with people telling me that this experience and Kim have made them want to be better people, and telling me that this has reopened there eyes, giving them new appreciation of what they have - amen! Kimmy's bright rays of sunshine touch more people!! She had that way, without being pushy or egotistical, but just living her life the way she thought she should, and loving and caring for the people she came in contact with, just as Jesus wants us to...
Anyway, I miss her so much and keep seeing signs of her - in the beauty of the mountains, that stray ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds, the soft sound of the falling rain today - and in the loving, caring support of all of you...