We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"You don't know me, but..."

                Have you ever experienced one of those days where you are anticipating the phone to ring?  Someone at home calling, or from work.  Just to see how your day is going?  Today's been one of those, where my hand is actually reaching for the phone that is not ringing.  And did not, no matter what my subconcious was willing.

                The other day, though, my phone did ring.  And I rarely answer my phone these days, unless I recognize the number.  Especially if I am at work.  But, I had just completed all of the opening responibilities at the bookstore (including firing up the espresso machine so I could obliberate the rust that had accumulated, encasing my body, overnight, while I "slept").  I glanced at the clock - 8:05, I was about half hour ahead of schedule.  Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the mosiac I've carefully constructed on the side of my filing cabinet.  A potpourri of my life.  Photos of Kim, bambini and family, brighten m office.
                 "What if this call is about one of them?"  my interior, often nefarious, voice whispered.

               I picked it up.

                 "Hello this is Dave."  I said, half convincing myself.

                "You don't know me, but..."

                  Ok, now there is a dubious opening line.  Where was this going?  I ask you - has this ever happened to you?  A million things were going through my head, but, resoundingly, they all pointed to Kim.

                  Sure enough.

                   "I read your blog.  It has really helped me."

                   I sat down.  Hard.  In my swively chair (that the bambini like to spin each other in when I have to drag them to work on 'bad coverage' days).  Staring at the mound of holiday Godiva chocolate stored in my office (talk about temptation!), I mumbled "Really?  Thank you."  Except "Thank You" really does not convey anything about how I felt.  And once again, the words escape me.  But, let me tell you, I felt gratified, that good things continue to emerge from Kim's passing.  It made me feel as if there was something somehow worth while to come out of this, and that I might be contributing to some larger good, somehow.  To 'help' someone?  Made me feel relevant again.
                 Relevant.  Worthwhile.  Needed?  All feelings that fade quickly in the aftermath of losing your best friend, wife, mother of the amazing bambini.  Special, being another.
                 My caller went on to explain that she was Jill McClain.  Mother of Amy, who worked with me several lifetimes ago at Toys R Us (We Be Toys 'N Sh*t in Philly).  Amy was a young, recently married, toy stocker, who worked her way up rapidly into management, through amazing work ethic and wonderful interpersonal skills. 
                And Jill was a huge part of the Vail School District, who holds a great deal of my heart and has been such an incredible part of the bambini's life, continuing to lend love and support.  Small world?  Infinitely.  Jill was on the governing board for 12 years.  Contributing her time and ideas, making our district what it is today.
               Jill and Amy suffered a horrific loss.  Much as we did.  But - their husband/father, was ripped from their lives in an instant.  My heart went out to them when I had heard the news.  And Amy has been in touch following Kimmy's passing.
                I told Jill, that when I start going down, tangled up in darkness, I remember, that there are people, families, worse off than me.  I told her that I felt blessed to at least have had the golden opportunity to say goodbye to Kim, and beg her to 'visit' (I asked her to haunt me).  Jill's husband was killed, murdered and she didn't have that time.
               Graciously and emphatically, Jill chose to say that the horrors that I faced in those lightning, blurry, 55 days was just as bad...my mind, involuntarily flashing to some of the low lights that still come to me in the wee hours of the night (it is always darkest before the dawn).
               It was a motivating conversation, as Jill's story inspired me and was therapeutic talking to her.  I also got to speak with Amy, later.  I've been looking for an assistant manager, as one of mine retired, and I told Jill "this is too much of a coincidence, where is Amy working?"  Fry's.  So, I did my damndest to convince Amy that taking a 50% pay cut to work at the bookstore would be the right thing to do.  She'd have to be insane not to agree.  By the end our our conversation, I realized that Amy was insane.  And staying at Fry's. 
               That morning, while overdosing on caffeine, I was thankful that I had answered my phone...

              The past two nights, I've closed the bookstore.  And while hurtling down I-10 (which, thankfully, has not digressed into slow-mo in some time), I saw a shooting star, at nearly the same exit - Prince Rd.  I always remember the night that so many saw a shooting star, leaving its home, just as our shooting star did back on 12/13/10.  Both those shooting stars brought a smile to my face...

My shooting star - another photo from our stay in downtown L.A. pre-Antonio...

Family portrait taken by St Frances church for their parish year book.
And I'm still waiting for the phone to ring....


  1. Dave, while we weren't in AZ for long (18 months) your entire family made an impression on me. Your blog has been a gift for me in a way. It shows me so many emotions I can't even begin to list them. The love and connection you have with Kim inspires me to live my life with my family to the fullest each and every day. It reminds me of how precious our moments in life are and there is not a day that goes by that I don't read your blog and take something from it to spur myself on.

    Thank you for sharing Kim, your family and you to all of us listening. You all have been an amazing gift in my life and even if I was a speck of time in yours I will forever be grateful to have been given the chance to meet you all.

    Stefanie (D- from Tonio's Kindie class and Autumn's 3rd grade class/mom)

    1. Thank you Stefanie - it has been quite a roller coaster. Sometimes, I am so lost in the emotion of the memories, that I do not even remember what I wrote, until the next day...but, writing remains catharic for me. I was blessed to have shared my life with Kim - she was amazing. Thank you for reading and for your kind words!

  2. Dear Dave: Below is a copy of a poem my youngest daughter wrote recently after learning of the death of a Mom in her Church. I (instantly) thought of you and asked her if I could share it with you. Blessings. Jill

    Team of Foals (-M.Sinclair)

    The first of many storms to come
    Marks the day that you have gone

    Really, you have been slipping more
    Each hour and day before

    Sadness cannot define
    The brokenness of my mind
    My soul, my body, my brain as well
    Will never, ever grasp it well

    What to do with this life
    Overbearing, incredible strife?
    My eyes right now, too red from tears
    Cannot discern even the purpose to peer
    To try to make any sense at all
    It is months off, if at all

    First, I must, a man I am
    Remain strong for this family
    As best I can

    To raise these tiny images of you
    The way we should have, were supposed to
    Though, without you by my side
    Encouraging, guiding, as my bride

    Bleak, black, pain I see
    I humbly know they need me
    And I need them, maybe more
    To keep me focused
    For what that's for

    The numbness will fade
    Though pain remains
    There is never closure
    Just fuller days I gain
    To spend with them,
    The tiny images of you, again
    To heal their hurts
    To hug on them
    When they aren't able to say in words
    That their tiny hearts just hurt

    The further we go--many weeks
    Still I will try
    To cover my cries
    From the assistants around.
    It is only after the phone stops its noise
    That I will certainly lose this "poise"
    Reality will hit
    In that quiet moment
    That I am alone
    (I might always be)
    The only one able to stand for me is me

    God, I ask you for strength,
    Just for their sake, right now,
    And to live again somehow.
    To see in them my wife and love,
    Your plan for me, from above
    To comfort all this misery
    Cover our hearts
    Our minds and souls
    With the love she would have given
    To her team of foals

    Give me the permission
    And a nudge if needed
    When it is time to rest,
    To close my eyes and heed it.

    1. Wow Jill! Thank you for sharing that poem. Amazing...definitely defines the feelings, doesn't it? Your daughter captures everything - she has talent! Dave