We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Nitcho

   Today, Brian and I were able to lay out the footer for Kimmy's nitcho (nicqua in Italian), basically, a niche built into a wall.  If separate from a wall, or free standing, it is an altar or altare' in Italian.
   While we worked, we talked about the miracle that was Kim...and how 'easy' she made this on us.  During this time, unsolicited, I get to hear stories from others about their on loss, their nightmares, their unplanned for departings...tidal wave stories...most horrific, as was our experience, however, Kim worked so hard to keep our journey as pleasant as possible.  We know it could have been so much worse for all of us. RN Kim, who has taken such good care of our family, further related, that some of the nurses on the 5th floor, where Kim was so well cared for, spoke about how Kim said she never asked 'why me?', but said 'well, maybe when I get to Heaven, I may ask God why he chose me...no, I probably will not since I know I will be at such peace.'  Goodness, how we miss this positive influence in our lives.  Tonio had the toughest week and we had everyone's support at Cottonwood, where he passed out gifts at an awards ceremony and had apple pie with his teacher, Mrs. Schrantz today after school - he was well cared for.  Autumn has done a super job with her journal to Mama and Cody has gotten on board with joining us each night to say goodnight to Mama in the back yard as we look for her in the beauty of the night sky.
    She was amazing...when did I know, for sure, that I would lose her in this life?  The day the donkey was gone.  The other morning, my southwest mom, Angie, arranged for me to join her for breakfast at Kim's favorite 'hole in the wall' Brawleys for breakfast...seems I keep forgetting to eat.  Anyways, during breakfast, I told her about Kim's love for donkeys.  She said, that, one day, she would really love to have a donkey for a pet.  I would tell her, that I would buy some acreage and we would surely do that.  Well, there is a stable, not far from our home, called Pantano Stables.  They've had a donkey, amongst the horses, for years.  When we would drive out Houghton, she would always look for 'her' donkey...she had the bambini's look, too.  They loved that donkey.  One day, in late November, while driving by, I noticed the donkey was not there...I got cold chills and shakes and knew....the next time we drove by, Aut asked 'where's mama's donkey?'...I explained that sometimes they are inside for grooming, etc...but, when Kim came out of the hospital, however briefly, I made a point to drive home a different route.  One day, I forgot.  As we came down the steep hill leading towards the stable, it suddenly occurred to me that I had made a mistake - I felt, much like the D.H. Lawrence story, where the narrator has painted a leaf on the wall behind a vine to keep their loved one alive, that if Kim did not know the donkey was gone, there was still hope.  I engaged her in deep conversation as we went down the hill, telling her how happy I was she was coming home and what a relief it was and all we had done to prepare for her, to make her comfortable...yet, I saw her eyes, floating, drifting, towards the horses, the pens where her beloved donkey should be...but wasn't.  "Oh, the donkey is gone..."  she whispered.  So softly, so sweetly...and just like that, I knew, that no matter how many prayers, no matter what I believed, God was going to take her.  We looked at each other, until I had to look away, or surely end up in the desert...deeply, lovingly - me, probably about as sad as I've ever been.  It's been suggested that I stop in, to see where that donkey went...I believe I will, but I think I know...
   Tonio took this picture for me...I told the kids, in addition to the nitcho, I felt the need to comorate their mama.  I have a friend, Dave Williams, who, as a young man in his teens, came to work with me at Toys R Us many years ago.  He was a very talented artist and a drummer and left to play with a band and do tatoos.  We've kept in touch over the years and share mutual acquaintances - his childhood baby sitter, Ami, was Cody's kindergarten teacher.  I called him, told him what had happened and we got together to work on a design. 
    The shooting star.  How many people saw one the night the love of my life left us?  There were at least 25 of my closest friends/family at the hospital that night...and, as we said our goodbyes, we saw Kim, the blaze of light that had lit up our lives, burning through the chill of the night, leaving us speechless.  I've spoken to several people in different states, who told me, shortly after my text, that my sunshine had set, they too, saw a shooting star, blazing in the night sky...so I had to have one, forever.  For Kimmy.  She came into my life 33 years ago, when I was a train wreck, self-destructive, selfish and taught me what it meant to appreciate life, to not take anything for granted, to leave behind the life that was killing me and to forge something beautiful with her, willingly - it sure took awhile, but, after bottoming out, I finally got it - she reached me, however briefly...and her loving, caring, ways were fleeting, so brief, but left an indelible footprint to guide me, for the bambini's and their future.  She taught me to believe...'credere' (KREH-deh-reh) means 'to beleve' in Italian...originally, I had done some research on believe designs and liked the Japanese characters.  I showed the design to the bambini's and Autumn said 'I don't get it.  Why would you have 'believe' in Japanese?'  I told her, I liked the way it looked.  "yeah, but, why not do it in Italian?"...she is as wise as her mama in so many, many ways that it just melts my heart....so, I consulte Rosa and Vito and there you have it.  And although I did believe, whole heartedly, it did not work out the way I believed...but, I have new beliefs and continue to believe.... :)
     While Dave worked on my tat, once again, the Cottonwood teachers took care of the bambinis and Betsey picked up Cody and his friend Ryan.  They were so excited to see my ink when I got home and loved it.  Betsey and Brian had us over for pizza, along with Amy and Tom - all great neighbors...Amy showed us school pictures that she had found, stashed deep within Kim's desk - she never liked her school photos, and, of course, they were beautiful.  And the bambini's fell right to sleep when we got home, tired from their long week, but, doing better as they heal.  Wendy, the chaplain from St. Joseph's checked in with us this evening as the kids played on the sidewalk and I told her we were making our way...
      And now, there it is in ink, permanently...the shooting star that lit up our lives, the new belief...

      Maybe, now, following in the footsteps of Mother Teresa, she is "lighting the light of those in darkness on earth."...I know that my days seem brighter...


  1. Nicely done. Credere! Now all you need is to add an anchor to that 'tat' for hope, a cross for faith, and, of course, a heart for love. And don't be afraid to add just a little color. Your looking just a tad bit pale. Maybe some sun and some sleep wouldn't be a bad idea either.
    Don't forget that this is a 2-way street my friend. She believed whole-heartedly in you as well. Believed you'd be a great friend, a great father, a great companion, a great husband, a great source of hope, faith, and love. And you are! Don't just wear it for her... but for you and the Bambini's too. Believe that you are all these things and believe that she left all she could within you to share on.
    I believe it.


  2. Love the niche! LOVE the tat! What a great tribute to your beautiful Kimmy!! I am inspired by your ability to move forward. I know the love of/from the bambinis helps beyond belief! I saw Antonio several times this week at school and he gave me that cute little Tonio smirk!! :)
    Let us know if we can help you in any way!!

  3. Awesome Tattoo! I got chills again just reading about the shooting star that night...That's a really cool way to memorialize her. And I could not help but smile at Autumn's Wisdom regarding the Japanese....Gotta love that girl. She IS wise like her momma!

  4. Love everything about the tattoo - from its meaning to what it looks like! Continuano a credere, amico mio!