We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Relay for Life...

             Five months...five months...five months...

            The Relay for Life, held out at Empire High School, was an amazing event.  It began around 4 p.m. and will go through tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. - many people were hauling tents, coolers, chairs and other 'necessities' as we pulled up to Empire around 5 this evening...And I forgot my camera!!  Thanks to Ami Bunch, for lending me her photos - so if you were to go to her blog (scroll down towards bottom of Kimmy's blog and you'll see it on the right), you'll probably see a lot of the same photos!!

The Cottonwood Camp!
            The infield of the track had mini-camps for every team walking tonight.  It was nice that Rincon Vista (Kimpossible!  We wore our Kimpossible shirts tonight, after wearing our Random Acts of KIMness shirts all day) and Cottonwood's camps were next to each other, thanks to Cathy Lane and Aimee Snyder, the team captains, working that out for our family.  There were already several tents, for those spending the night, set up and the place had a carnival type feel to it. 

 Jen Lofgren and Mary Montes get ready to walk. Mary, 5 months pregnant, lasted until 10ish, telling me she was inspired by Kimmy walking up A Mountain 7 months pregnant with Cody!!

           I had plenty of support in both camps, and arrived with my family here, Angie, Andrea, Breanna, Amy, Tom, Alex, Betsey, Brian, Hadley and Mitchell.  The group that gave us so much support and gave Kim so much care in her time of need.  And we were there to honor her tonight.

Mary's sister, Ami Bunch and her husband, Brian, brought the triplets along tonight!  It was so cute to see Ethan, Coltan and Hunter, racing along the track and playing!

Aunt Mary helps Hunter, Ethan and Coltan escape from the scary clown!

           Aimee Snyder, Rincon Vista's team leader, had asked me to speak tonight...about Kim.  I wasn't sure what to say and wasn't sure when I was going to be asked to say it...so I wrote and wrote...bounced it off some of the family...tinkered with it.  You know, writing about Kim and my feelings for her - and about all that we experienced is so easy for me.  BUT - to be able to capture the essence of Kim in a 10 minute capsule and to do her justice...was a daunting experience.
          During the opening ceremonies, I thought "man, am I going to have to follow up some of these great speakers in front of a full grandstand?".  But, the ceremonies passed, we all did a lap around the track together and then were ushered into the school's library for a dinner. 
         There were about 50 people there, being served Olive Garden, and I was approached and told I would speak just after dinner was served.  Whew!  50 people?  No sweat.  It was nice to sit with everyone, decompress and eat.  We even talked Lupe, Manny and Monsi into joining us.  So maybe there were 53 people, instead of half a kajillion or so.  What I felt was relief.
         When it was my turn to speak, I did.  And here is what I said:
Have you ever seen a shooting star?  Blazing overhead, leaving a bright trail?  So beautiful, yet so quick. It’s something you never forget.  Kim was our shooting star…
           But where does a shooting star begin?  It’s hard to say, there are so many stars overhead…Over the last few months, I’ve had a chance to look back on Kim and who she was…and how blessed I was to have her in my life for 33 years…and I know where she started, quite, shy, but with a smile that captured your heart - so bright, so radiant…
Obviously, when this happened, it was a huge shock - a huge blow- to the very fabric of our lives…and we could ask why?  We could moan and complain…or be angry…but, that would fly in the face of everything Kim was and everything that she taught us.
‘I’m a plan B person’ she’d patiently tell me time after time when I was sad or frustrated that plans did not go our way.  This was one of Kim’s big secrets to staying upbeat - she new things did not always go as planned - we can’t choose the hand we are dealt - we just need to flip the cards and make something happen.
Kim also knew - and I mean knew into the core of her heart - that the real joy in life is giving to others, caring for others and loving others.  I have never met anyone so selfless, so pious and humble - she truly loved to help others and not only expected nothing in return, but was embarrassed by it!  She did not have a selfish bone in her body as she gave herself and her time to too many causes to make our community better to even mention.  She loved Tucson.  She loved the Vail School District.  She loved our church.  She loved our people.  And it showed.  Every day. 
When she crossed paths with someone who was sad, down, angry or selfish, she would do all that she could to make a good moment for them, to make a difference in their lives.
This is her legacy.  I have people approach me nearly every day telling me they are living better, getting involved, loving their wife and family more, because of Kim.
        And for us, we keep each other going, for Kim.  And you help us keep our heads up to.  For Kim.  You know, God gave us these shoes to fit us, we have to put them on and wear them.  I tell the kids to be themselves and to be proud of who they are and when faced with a decision, ask themselves ‘What would Mama do?’.
The children and I, have started a foundation in Kimmy’s name - to help families like ours - who did not have the overwhelming support that all of you pored upon us.  For her.  In her last days, Kim did not think of herself, the pain she was in, what was happening to her…  No, all she could talk about was how she could thank you all - we’ve really tried to do give her thanks to you through this foundation and other projects here in the Vail Community.
  We will do our best, to appreciate all that we have, every day.  And to always help others…and to stay involved, to keep our community a great place to live and our schools the best.  We are blessed…
Kim was our angel - and she continues to brighten our days, and when I feel the strain of trying to live up to all Kim was, I remember that I still have the best guide in that beautiful angel…
       What do you do when you see a shooting star?  You enjoy it, make a wish, and….BELIEVE
          It is so nice to continue to share Kimmy and our memories with everyone...so this was good.
          After dinner, we ventured out to see what was going on...there were jumping castles, live bands, free massages (Andrea, Lupe and Angie all got one!)...the bambini walked laps together - they were so cute.
          Around 9, they started the luminaria festivities - lighting each bag - there had to be a thousand of them! They had a huge, inflatable screen and showed photos of our loved ones. 

             I tried to count bags decorated for Kimmy and lost count around 50!!!!  I missed her so much tonight.  At an event like this, she'd be right there by my side, smiling and saying encouraging things to people.  Tonight, the Cottonwood and Rincon Vista camps kept me smiling and saying encouraging words to people.  I had a chance to thank Dale Hoffner for coming up with the whole 'Random acts of KIMness' phrase!  I met Mary Chassels, who worked with Kim at Rincon, who told me how kind Kim was and how much she inspired her.  Aimee Snyder and Nicole Bucheit, both teachers at Rincon, were tops in getting donations, so motivated by Kimmy!!
            Once all luminarias were lit and we'd seen Kimmy on the big screen, we all took a lap together...the luminarias were so beautiful and it was incredible, as you looked behind you, or across the field, to see so many bags lit up, like a bizarre runway...it was pretty somber, too.
            The moon and the stars were so bright tonight, shining down upon us as we walked a quiet lap...I was thanking God for the time Kim and I spent together and for all of those who made tonight so successful...and thanks to Angie, Andrea, Amy, Tom, Betsey, Brian, Lupe and Manny for propping me up.
           Thank you all,


  1. I'm so glad you could feel all the love heading your way last night. I am always in awe of your upbeat, positive attitude.Kim taught you well!! What a great example you are for the bambini! Keep strong Dave!

  2. Dave, just reading about the Relay for Life event brings tears to my eyes. So much love and support. You are truly blessed.. Kim has touched so many peoples lives. Her life is such a powerful testimony to us all. Dave, we pray you find strength and comfort in the Lord. You are such a inspiring testimony to all the families that your family has touched. We love you Kim!

  3. Charlotte - I sure could feel the energy from the Cottonwood camp! Thanks so much for everything!
    Rose, I am humbled by the amount of love we receive, and pray daily for strength - it seems I always find a way through...Thank you, Dave

  4. As the Cottonwood camp we were discussing what a role model you are to all of us. I have to be honest and say that when I saw the survivors walking around the track, I began to get a little angry until I thought of you. Instead of asking "why" you remind us to think of the wonderful things about Kim and how she has changed us all for the better.

    I know families that have lost loved ones to cancer that make a choice not to attend Relay for Life because it is just too hard on them. You are such a rock for your kids and your attitude clearly reflects on them.

    I hope you are getting rest today! See you tomorrow at the Cut-a-thon!

  5. You know, until recently, I always quoted Charles Barkley on this topic 'I am NOT a role model'...but, I REFUSE to be put into a neat little box on 'grieving'...I will not have anger, because, I know that things could have been worse for us. My neighbor, recently comitted suicide...Kim and I told each other how much we loved each other before she left...And everyone grieves these losses in different ways, but, I feel so much positive support, from people like you, Mary, that inspire me not to try to take my grieving behind the scenes...Thank you! Dave