Saint Pius lived back in the late 1700's in Italy, and his life was characterized by helping the poor and down trodden, giving people happiness in their darkest hours...much like Kimmy, who truly found the good in everyone she met and brought that to the surface - I think this gift she had, was the reason she was able to touch so many lives, as, when someone brings the good out of you, you cannot help but feel great!
Today was the first day we went back to St. Pius to go to Mass since Kimmy's celebration. We had been on church grounds to visit with Father Harry, but not to Mass. It was difficult, at first, as gravity tried to betray me, but firmly holding Autumn under my left arm and Antonio under my right, like crutches, we made our way to a pew...I held the bambini's tight, just as I did the day of Kimmy's celebration, and, once again, they were my inspiration, my reason to be strong.
During the Mass, the congregation joined in to sing In Excelis Gloria and, instantly, I was transported back to the Christmas Kim and I were in 7th grade. I had a very vivid memory of sitting in the auditorium at Nitschmann Jr. High for a Christmas choir performance. Yes, Kim was in the choir...now, I could see her up on stage, wearing a red gown, looking everybit the angel that she was - she had a beautiful voice too, but rarely could you catch her actually singing, as she was too shy and did not believe her voice was angelic. They had performed In Excelis Gloria that night and my eyes were locked on Kimmy's as she sang, totally oblivious to anything or anyone else around me - she had that affect on me, to this day.
After the show, I rushed back stage to embrace her and tell her what a great job she did. She looked both ways to make sure no one was listening and whispered 'I wasn't really singing, just mouthing the words'.
It's been a challenging transition for the bambini's and I on our new journey...Cody, in particular is feeling the strain. And I've found some understanding of my wave nightmares and what I'm living through - perhaps the wave has been building up my whole life and I've been riding it perfectly, with Kim as my balance - the cancer was the tidal wave, the breaking point that swept over me, engulfing me, taking my breath, disorienting me as I struggled to save Kimmy and the bambini's and find the surface for just one sweet breath of air, but unable to figure out which way was up...yesterday, I got that breath, thanks to a good friend...I actually slept decently last night - my first since the wave broke on October 19th...6 hours - I've had anywhere between 40 minutes and 5 very broken hours of sleep within a 24 hour period, mostly settling for about 3 hours - so this morning, I had the epiphany - which, after listening to the Gospel reading, having to do with the season of the Epiphany - today, the church celebrates the feast day of the Epiphany.
After church today, we went to Jerry Bob's for a big breakfast. Kim loved a good diner, a good 'hole in the wall' type of place - we always loved the food, atmosphere and the people. Whether at home or traveling, we sought out these hidden gems. Anderson's Diner on Union Blvd in Allentown, Pa, was a favorite. We actually went there for Thanksgiving one year - and it was our favorite place to go for late night meals after going to Canon's, another 'hole in the wall' type place in Allentown. Out here in Tucson, there are some great spots we loved to go - Brawley's, Joe's Pancake House, and Jerry Bob's - they just feel more intimate, more real, like more Kimmy-like. Sometimes, our instincts were a little off - one time, we were down at Myrtle Beach, S.C. and found a place called P.J's. Looked like our type of 'hole in the wall' night club. We should have been tipped off when we entered - there was a lady behind a glass wall who collected a cover charge and buzzed us in to the bar area...we've never been buzzed into any place ever again. There was a pretty good cover band on that night and we did have fun - but I remember Kimmy's beautiful big eyes getting a size bigger when I came back from the men's room to tell her there was a pretty good fight going on in there while I was going and a lot of blood...we ended up staying till closing and talking to the band, who invited us back to their hotel for an after party...we declined!
When we got home, we all changed into gardening clothes and went out back, together, the four musketeers. We began preparing our garden for a 'nitcho', for Kimmy. Cody dug a footer, I relocated plants and Aut and Tonio removed broken lights. We'll put in new lights this week and work with our neighbor, Brian, who designed the nitcho, to build it. Tomorrow, I am going to go statue hunting and Janene and Andrea have provided us with candles for it already. We talked about how we can talk to mama at any time in any place, but her nitcho will be a great place to come pray, light candles and feel closer to mama. We'll post a photo when we are done. It's so nice to work together the garden that Kimmy loved to keep looking so green and lush, with all of her love.
And, for the first time, I feel like I've hit the beach, I can stand and breath and I've got the bambini's tightly in my loving grasp - thank God for them! I know there will be days that I feel like I'm back under, twisting and turning in the grip of the wave, but, my friend helped me find the way up, the wave's subsided, for now, I've got my breath...and I still may be lost, but I'm finding my way and can be there more completely for Cody and Autumn and Antonio...Thank you.
'This child, Jesus, will be a light for revelation'