We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Buon Natale

Christmas Season...upon us again?!?!?!

The feast of the seven fishes.  An Italian tradition.  Kim's version was cioppino.  The bambini worked her magic today, whipping up an invariable feast!!!  Scallops (Kim's favorites!), calamari (yes, squid!  It's the real chicken of the sea!), mussles (Kim and I farmed these from the jettis in Jersey), clams (our favorite order at Stahley's bar in Allentown, PA - $2.95/dozen), shrimp, tilapia and cod.

Tree decorated, awaiting Santa!

Cody, such a big helper and the glue to our family, applies the reindeer tracks...always amazes Antonio!!  Powdered sugar!  Cody made the stencil out of a manila folder!

DeGrazia chapel.  North on Swan from Skyline.  Kim's photo was inshrined their perpetually on Sunday.  They came across her blog.  Learned of her love of the DeGrazia gallery and his works and her talent for art....Lisa, the gallery manager asked me to bring Kim's photo for their altar.
I had placed her there once before, about two years ago.  Lisa told me that hey have to collect items frequently, as there are so many.  They bury them there on the grounds.  Kim would have been pleased.  But now, she is there forever!!!!

Autumn...at her awards ceremony...4.0 Principal's award!! With Micah Mortensen, Desert Sky Middle School's principal.  He takes such good care of her and his students.  She also won a citinzenship award and techonolgy award!!

Tonio...his fourth sparring match...he's doing well.  Such a joy to watch him work in the ring!

Our Christmas angel that we added for the holidays...for Kim...

                                The bambini hang angels in our front yard olive tree for Kim...

                               Wishing you and your family a blessed and very Merry Christmas!!!


Friday, December 13, 2013

From Storms Come Rainbows

                           "From storms come rainbows..."  One of the first messages I received today...One that kept me going all day long - counting all of the rainbows!!

                             I couldn't do it without these words of inspiration.  I couldn't.

                             Three years have passed in a blink of an eye.  Kim's bathrobe still doesn't get it.  It hangs, right where it always had, ready to go.  And the time doesn't lessen the pain, but with time, comes clarity - giving daily life coherence...and order.  We don't have a 'routine', but life isn't a 'routine', so we don't try to impose boundaries where they don't belong.  But, whoever said 'Time heals all wounds' was a liar.  Or had no heart.  Or, sadly, never had anyone like Kim in their lives!
                            We were able to spend the day celebrating Kim with friends.  It was a beautiful day...and her 5th Annual (yes, 5th!! She thought up, planned and ran the first two and planned the 3rd, but got sick and passed before the actual event!) Pancake breakfast is tomorrow morning already!!

A friend of ours that we met in 7th grade sent me this video - listen closely...the bambini stood stock still, ears cocked, eyes locked on the screen....and then nodded in agreement...
Autumn, one of my 'Rainbows'!!
Good night Kimmy....
...my Angel

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

                On this day, three years ago, I spent praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe for a miracle.

Official Catholic accounts state that on the morning of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego saw an apparition of a young girl at the Hill of Tepeyac, near Mexico City. Speaking to him in Nahuatl, the girl asked that a church be built at that site in her honor; from her words, Juan Diego recognized the girl as the Virgin Mary. Diego told his story to the Spanish Archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the "lady" for a miraculous sign to prove her identity. The first sign was the Virgin healing Juan's uncle. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. Although December was very late in the growing season for flowers to bloom, Juan Diego found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, on the normally barren hilltop. The Virgin arranged these in his peasant cloak or tilma. When Juan Diego opened his cloak before Bishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.[1]

             Miracles.    I needed one...
            ...and what I've found out, is that I did have one!  Kim was MY miracle!!!!  How could I have been more blessed??
            When I was young and dumb - Kim found me, cleaned me up and taught me to appreciate all that we had and all that was around me. 
            Without her in my life....well, let's just say that I understand that Kim was my chance at something else...

Hope you had a blessed Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day!!!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Counting Stars

              Sometimes I can't remember....

              ....I hear a song, and look for the memories attached...

              ....or drive down a street and find a time that we did together...

              The drive interrupted by a new business.  Or road improvements.  Or new homes.

              And my mind drifts - this song...?  Did Kim hear this one?  Was she here when this group put this out?  Lately, it's One Republic.  Or Train.  Any of her favorites.  When I hear them, I think that it was one of Kim's songs and wait for where we were when we first heard it together.  When nothing comes, I think 'Kim would have liked this tune'...



              Here's another one - convenience stores.  Yes, gas stations with mini markets!  When we lived in Pennsylvania, it seemed 7-11 was dominant.  And we loved the Slurpees.  I liked the collectible cups that they would put out.  The 1988 men's Olympic Basketball team was one of my favorite.  I had accumulated a trunk full of them.  Our cabinets were stuffed with them.

              "Dave?"  Kim would begin.  Gently.  "Maybe we could get rid of some of the older cups? To make room?"   "But they are perfect size for iced tea!"  I'd appeal.  I think I still have a Michael Jordan cup somewhere!

              When we moved here, Circle K was like 7-11 on steroids.  We loved the drink selection.  And chili jalapeno hot dogs!?!?!?  We probably went to a Circle K every other day.  And, I'm convinced, we were at every Circle K in Tucson over the time that we lived here!

              Now there is QT.  I'm sure that Kim had never been.  And I know that she would have loved them!  Fresh brewed iced tea!  At a convenience store!?!?!  And in several flavors, including mango, my current favorite and Kim loved all things mango.  The newer QT's feature a snack bar that have fantastic soft pretzels and real cappuccino!


             The employees great you as you enter.  And, after checking out, they say 'See you next time!'.  The bambini love it.  Cody has discovered their make-your-own milk shake machine and turned Tonio into a fan.  Autumn like's the selection of bottled lemonade.  They have the Tapatio/Lime potato chips that Breanna got me hooked on.

            Crazy, eh?

            But when I'm driving around, not really thinking about anything...these things come up.

            Road improvements...Houghton corridor widening project.  A running joke between Kim and I.  On the books when we moved here in 1994.  We'd often comment that if only they had begun before they built the Civano, then Mesquite Ranch, the Desert Willow Estates (our development), then Sierra Morado - it would have been a much quicker, easier and less expensive project, since it was only desert on both sides of the road.  The project runs approximately 10 miles from Houghton and I-10 on the southern end of the project to Tanque Verde and Houghton on the north end. She would have gotten a  chuckle and found irony in the city deciding to start the project, seemingly randomly, in the not quite middle between Valencia and Irvington 
           There is no doubt that Kim had a great appreciation for life and the experiences that we shared.  She lived each day to the fullest, no regrets.  Yet...as I witness 'progress' and change, I wonder what experience they would have brought to us.  Or, in some cases, I struggle to remember if maybe we had some shared memories in what I was passing or seeing.

          Movies are another.  When we watch a movie together on Netflix, or on t.v., I think "Kim and I saw this...or did we?" 

          It has become almost a game with me, trying to decipher WK (With Kim) and AK (After Kim).


Bisbee, AZ
Best friends!!  Brinley and Tonio building castles..
                                           More Best Friends!  Monsi and Tonio ride coaster at Peter Piper Pizza!!

Cody trips the Merry-Go-Round!
The bambini continue to fill my days...so thankful for them, so blessed to have them.
 Cuz when I was a kid, there were these inflatable guys called 'bop bags'.  Sometimes they were clowns, like Bozo. Sometimes you could find them as super heroes like Batman.  Or Scooby Doo.  They were almost pear shaped and the bottom has some sort of sand or something to make it heavier.
You could punch it.
And it would bounce back up.
You could kick it.
And it would bounce back up.
You could karate chop it.
And, you guessed it, it would bounce back up....


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Feast Day of Juan Diego

I don't know where to begin today...so, since it was the feast day of St. Juan Diego, I thought I'd share his story - perhaps my favorite?  Kim and I wanted to make it down to Mexico, to see this church...

Juan Diego was born in 1474 in the calpulli or ward of Tlayacac in Cuauhtitlan, which was established in 1168 by Nahua tribesmen and conquered by the Aztec lord Axayacatl in 1467; and was located 20 kilometers (14 miles) north of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City).

On December 9, 1531, a native Mexican named Juan Diego rose before dawn to walk fifteen miles to daily Mass in what is now Mexico City. Juan lived a simple life as a weaver, farmer, and laborer. That morning, as Juan passed Tepeyac Hill, he heard music and saw a glowing cloud encircled by a rainbow. A woman's voice called him to the top of the hill. There he saw a beautiful young woman dressed like an Aztec princess. She said she was the Virgin Mary and asked Juan to tell the bishop to build a church on that site. She said, "I vividly desire that a church be built on this site, so that in it I can be present and give my love, compassion, help, and defense, for I am your most devoted mother . . . to hear your laments and to remedy all your miseries, pains, and sufferings."
The bishop was kind but skeptical. He asked Juan to bring proof of the Lady's identity. Before Juan could go back to the Lady, he found out his uncle was dying. Hurrying to get a priest, Juan missed his meeting with the Lady. The Lady, however, met him on his path and told him that his uncle had been cured.  
She then told Juan to climb to the top of the hill where they first met. Juan was shocked to find flowers growing in the frozen soil. He gathered them in his cloak and took them at once to the bishop.
Juan told the bishop what had happened and opened his cloak. The flowers that fell to the ground were Castilian roses (which were not grown in Mexico). But the bishop's eyes were on the glowing image of the Lady imprinted inside Juan's cloak.
Soon after, a church was built on the site where our Lady appeared, and thousands converted to Christianity. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the patroness of the Americas.

   And now to Autumn, once again, who I'm so proud of, but worry about the most.  She puts so much on herself.  Taking care of the boys and I. And maintaining straight A's.  As I made her soup for her lunch at midnight, Cody came to me concerned.  I explained Autumn's stomach has been sensitive - stress?  Probably.  He asked me not to stay up to late.  He's such a good son - I'm pretty proud of him too.
  Autumn tells me she does not want to see a doctor.  I tell her she's known her doctor for years and the group we go to - they are all so nice.  "No Dad, what if they send me to the hospital?" she says quietly, tears welling up....

                  "Like Mama?"

      I'm a little too floored to respond immediately.

      "Play 'Headlights' Dad." she asks, those deep blue eyes, like magnets, searching my eyes. "Has a song ever given you goosebumps?  This one gives me them." 
       Well, I can think of a bunch - with wonderful memories related to Kim and the times we shared, so I tell her absolutely, that's what I love so much about music - finding the tunes that grab you, take you somewhere else.
       Her Mama like a band called Fun.  And the lead singer, Nate Ruess, collaborates with Eminem on this tune:

           I always love when the bambini tell me which songs speak to them.  Cody always does.  This is a good one, particularly the end - I know it reminds her of her Mama - if you listen to the final refrain, it will remind you of Kim too.  She was so stoic, right up to the end.  It was me who broke down, holding her tight, crying. And there was Kim, consoling me, asking me to give her a kiss, everything would be alright.  She was not afraid.  She had her faith.

         She has passed on that strength - it was not for nothing.  I know that I was blessed to have had her in my life.  And the children she brought into this world...amazing!

"Those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."
                                       -Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, December 8, 2013

5 Days

                 5 Days.  A great drinking game, perhaps.  'if you knew you only had 5 days to live, how would you spend them?'  Or 'what would you do?'  or any number of scenarios....

                  Kim knew.  She would spend them with friends and family.  She would give us all peace.  And a sense of hope.  Set our minds at ease and giving us memories to last a lifetime.   The poise she had...amazing.

                   That was Kim.

                   Coming home from the hospital, we were elated.  There were banners hung from our garage.  A chalka Estrada (sidewalk chalk) display on our driveway.  Our friends, and Arizona family, were here to visit, cook, and enjoy Kim's smiles and kind words.


                  Today, at Mass, I remembered all of this...as if it was right now.  Kim, with such dignity, providing all of us with smiles, all the while knowing what lie in store for her.  Getting ready to give us the best 5 days of the last 50 days.  Remarkable.

                  This weekend, I was thankful.  One of my friends, facing tough circumstances and putting forth a great effort and attitude.  Leaving me feel very thankful for those 5 days of peace and hope that I shared with Kim.

                  I am even more appreciative of the time I was blessed to have with Kim, when I compare my situation to that of others.

                  I could have had infidelity in our marriage.  We did not.

                  I could have lost Kim suddenly, in a car crash or violent crime, but did not.
                  I could have Kim, as an ex, hating me, not loving me....

                  ....but I do not.

Here we are, on Thanksgiving, enjoying a family breakfast...the bambini have been like concrete!
Those 5 days...an absolute gift from Kim.
"I cried because I had no shoes...until I saw the man that had no feet"
Kim's 5th annual Pancake Breakfast and 5K is this Saturday.  She thought up this idea.  She planned and ran the first two events, complete with classic car show.  She had planned the third event, when she was stricken with cancer...the 3rd event was held just days after she passed.  Rincon Vista Middle School has been so kind, thoughtful and generous to keep Kim's vision alive and apply her name to this fun event.  This Saturday is the 5th Kim Pancake Breakfast.  5th. 
The bambini and I would appreciate if you could find a way, in the midst of your busy lives, to attend this event.  All Kim wanted to do was give back.  To a community she loved.  Please honor her this Saturday, a day after the 3 year anniversary of her gaining her wings and becoming an Angel...We'd love to see you there!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Halloween '13

                           I never got around to writing or posting pictures this Halloween. I'm no longer a big fan of this time of year.  The holiday's stretching, seemingly taunting me, from now until New Year's. Each week bringing a new anniversary, a reminder.
                          It's alarming how fast Halloween came and went.  I had Cody pull down the decorations at the beginning of October, determined to celebrate this holiday in Kimmy fashion...I had the bambini carefully unpack the assorted ghosts, ghouls and goblins that Kim had put together over the years and place them about the house where they liked...And, I resisted the urge to reposition any of them!
                       We typically did not put out the outdoor decorations until the day of Halloween and the bags of pumpkins, etc lay waiting in the garage...only, they never made it out.  We did not make it to the pumpkin patch for the first time ever - the kids were so gracious about it. "It's really ok Dad." Autumn told me...

                       Halloween day, I finally ran down to Walmart...WALMART!?!?! (you know I'm broken...running low!!) and picked out a pumpkin for each kid....and candy for Cody to hand out.  For the last few years, he has stayed home, transformed the front of our house into a haunted house and scared trick-or-treaters.  This year, he told me that he was going to see a movie with his buddies...the thrill had worn off.

                   We were invited to haunt in Lupe and Manny's neighborhood with Monsi...I LOVE Monsi's zombie costume!!!  This girl and Tonio are best buds, she has the greatest personality!!  Autumn dusted off, literally, Kim's Cruella DeVil costume and ROCKED it!!  Complete with makeup she did herself.  Tonio pieced together an old Cody costume (which Lupe had to make last minute emergency alterations on because his bones kept falling off!!).  I had taken these guys out costume hunting to several places...they looked carefully, and after much consideration, told me they were going to put together costumes from the box of old costumes in our garage.  I overheard them talking about price..."I'm not having Dad spend $30 on a costume I'll only wear one night and that I'm not even that crazy about." Tonio told Autumn.  Autumn not only agreed, but told Tonio she thought the same thing but wasn't going to say anything in case he saw a costume he really wanted!!!

                            Preparing to trick or treat at Lupe's house

Leaving Lupe and Manny's garage to score some candy.  As little trick or treater's approached, gleefully shouting "Trick or Treat!!"  I tried to school them, telling them to just scream "Treat!!"  cuz did they really want a trick?  Seriously, no one is in it for the tricks, just the treats!  The kids had so much fun with Monsi - it made their Halloween!

Autumn felt honored to wear Kim's favorite costume...she looked so good!

                                           Tonio wore Cody's old alien costume to a neighborhood function we went to the weekend before Halloween with our neighbor's Rachel and Dave.
                                          The kids had a blast walking the streets with Monsi near our old neighborhood and collected a ton of candy!!
                                         The weekend after Halloween, we finally found a minute to breathe...and carve the pumpkins!!

Bella helped out!!  I never did quite catch up in time for the holiday...it amazes me how quickly the time goes...I know what to 'fall by the wayside' means. But, the kids had fun and reassure me that it was a good Halloween!

Autumn has done an amazing job on the soccer field!!  Her and Lexy, may very well be the smallest two on the field, but both play with such heart and determination (Lexy scored the team's first goal on Autumn's assist!!).  Autumn is #4 in this shot and Lexy has a foot on the ball.  They have been so fun to watch.

And here's Tonio, in the ring, in his second sparring match.  He's such a hard worker!!

I had a neat shot of Cody driving us around Sunday, but our computer is last legging it (another 'by the wayside' example), so I'll have to try to put that one up a different night....

 WAIT!!! Got it!!  Between the dilapidated laptop and the dying PC, I managed to cross morgify this photo to Kim's blog!!

The nice thing about having Cody learn to drive, is, that he wants to go everywhere with us...so he can drive!!  It's nice to have his company and he is doing a fantastic job on the road!

These kids keep me going...

But, if anyone knows a good/cheap landscaper, to help me catch back up and/or carpenter...and computer wizard...I'm starting to get buried.  A bit.

Today, after my 10 hour shift, I went to get a crown put on.  At our new dentist.  Our dentist of 20 years, Dr. Jack, has retired.  His wife, Jane, had helped us find our first home and referred us to her husband when I needed a crown back in 1994.  They were like family to us.
As I sat in the chair, waiting for our busy new dentist, I lay looking out the large window at a rambling rose bush.  Many sparrows darted in and out of the beautiful bush...I got a sense of what Kim tried to describe to me one day, while on the 5th floor of St. Joseph's...after a long night, made more tolerable by the kind visit of RN Kim (Andrea's sister), who works overnight there.
Kim told me to look out the window.  At the trees.  And the birds.  And to notice the breeze, slightly bending the branches...

"I love to watch the birds.  And to see the mountains."  She said to me.  "But, I wish I could hear the birds.  And feel the breeze.  And smell the trees..." 

I sat there, straining to hear the birds at play.  And the wind.  I could not.  Sitting there, I could feel what Kim did - the frustration, desperation...and it reminded me of sitting next to her in the hospital, looking out the window as she enjoyed doing, imagining her straining her ears to be able to hear the slightest bird chirp, or wind through the trees...

My crown was a challenging one.  As I dug deep to ward off the pain and have patience, I asked Kim for help...soon, I noticed that the billowy white clouds, had formed into what appeared to be a large, white dove...and just at that moment, the dentist was successful in removing my temp crown and fitting my new. 
I thanked her.

When I left his office, I breathed deep the air...and stopped to watch the sparrows and hear them sing, with the majestic Catalina's rising in the background....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

3 years

 It's been three years, today (I began writing this post on 10/19, sometimes life gets in the way!), since Kim went into the hospital...diagnosed with a bad gall bladder...and didn't come home.  She just didn't.

   It wasn't what we planned. 

   "I will probably die tripping over our great grand kids Tonka truck when we are in our 90's"  She told me.

    That night, just dragged on and on...From the time I met her at St Joseph's ER around lunch time...til they did xrays, sonograms, blood tests...putting her in a hospital bed in the hall, no rooms available and the man in the bed next to her babbling incoherently...
    I cannot describe to you the look in Kimmy's eyes that night...full of concern, pain, wanting. 

    She'd always had things under control.  And such a great perspective on life, enjoying the moment, never getting too hung up if things didn't work out quite the way she imagined.

       "I'm a plan B person" she'd tell me.  That way, no matter what happened, she'd have a happy ending.

         There was no plan B for this.

         Autumn...asks me 'Does it seem weird to you Mama's gone?  Cuz it seems weird to me!'

She's still right here, I tell Aut.  Her beauty is in our memories and our dreams.
'I don't get it Dad...why Mom?'
There's no 'getting it'.  To try to 'get it', is to bring on insanity.  I told Autumn that we were blessed with Mama in our lives.  I believe these things happen to help us appreciate what we do have.

And this little guy...coming into his own.  Always caring for others first.  Seen here with his Mama on July 4th 2010....timebomb ignited within...

                    I don't think I've ever posted this one.  Kim looks spectacular!!!  Love the bambini in this one too, Autumn holding my tea, Lil Kim...Tonio's unbridled happiness...Cody, in the 'Joe Cool' shades, flipped back ball cap (and broken collar bone)...

Oh man...I DEFINITELY out ran my punt coverage!!!! 
What have I learned after three years?  Grace?  Maybe.  I'd sure like to go back and have a few 'do overs'.  I was a bit of a train wreck.  It's as they say, 'you are always the last one to know when you are at your lowest'.  How  to 'bear my cross'?  A little better, perhaps. It's still heavy.
I don't know. 

Cody comes to me Monday evening, excited.  Animated. 
"I got the new Eminem Dad!"
'But, it's not out until tomorrow...' I begin, stopping myself, since Cody is the master of getting us tunes, why am I asking?   He knows.  These tunes, they bond us.  We get each other like never before. He's become such a young man - I can imagine how proud Kim would be of him...
...and the driving thing.  Well, she didn't want him to drive until he was 18.
"16 year olds have too much on their minds to drive!" she believed.
We struck a deal.  Maintain A's and B's and he could get it by 17 years old.  He's done his share, so last week, we went down to the MVD and signed him up.  That place is an adventure in itself.  I often wonder if the MVD was created by the folks who brought us Walmart....or the other way around perhaps?  The people watching is fabulous, complete with Buddhist monks in full regalia, young men cheating on their permit tests, even taking pictures of the screen!  We ended up making three, fun filled trips.  Cody failed his first attempt.  Studied hard and partnered with Andrea's son, David, to prepare and go the second time.  Well, we ended up getting to the MVD at 4:35 only to be told "you have to be here by 4:30 at latest to take a test - you should bring the boys around 3:00." a compassionateless lady informed us.  "uh...then I'd have to take them out of school early." I replied.  She treated me to a shrug.
So, that third time, on Halloween, with Breanna in tow for good luck, we tried again...And Cody nailed it!
Now he is on the road and doing a great job!  I always thought it would be Kim doing the teaching when the time came for the kids to drive, as I did not believe my patience could handle such an endeavor...So far so good!
We continue to honor and remember Kim every day, every chance we get.  We went to the Dia de los Muertes celebration downtown on Sunday for the third year in a row.  Behind Breanna, Tonio and Autumn, there is a band playing.  There was an enormous parade, with floats and people dressed up.  On the side of one of the larger buildings, a slide show of loved ones who have passed away was on a continuous loop.  The kids liked the huge stage with Aztec dancers and other performers.  It was breath taking - the feel was electric.

And somewhat surreal....another example of it being 'thin' between here and There...

More and more, as the third year approaches, I am drawn to San Xavier Mission...always lighting candles...and finding comfort in the peaceful surroundings where we were married.
Three years...these two months, it does come back, unbidden. It was a lifetime ago...yet, it feels like yesterday.
Each day, I am thankful for all we had.  This year, I've run across parents who have lost children, one passing at the tender age of 6 from, you guessed it, cancer.  And divorce - I am grateful that Kim and I were in love, never had to face infidelity, falling out of love, separating with children, etc.  Of course, there have been other people that I've met this year who lost a spouse - some of them suddenly, with no chance to say goodbye.  I am reminded daily, that there is always someone else who has had it worse.
We continue our nightly ritual of going out back to say goodnight to Kim, blowing kisses to the stars.  The bambini like to pop in a movie, to fall asleep to, as Kim used to..."Let's watch a show to fall asleep" she'd say.  Invariably, it's a Disney classic that they choose, knowing those were Kim's favorites.  Tonight, it's Peter Pan.  George and Martha, the parents, reminding me of Kim and I.  Me loosing patience with the kids, as George does at the beginning and Kim making everything ok.  Wendy reminds me of Autumn.  "I kinda feel sorry for Wendy.'  Autumn commented tonight.  "Why?"  "Well, she has so much responsibility, taking care of the boys and all, and she's only 13."  Lost upon her is the irony of her comment.  She is Wendy!  I couldn't tell her at that moment, that she does even more than Wendy for our family. 
The other piece of Peter Pan that brings Kim to mind, is that you need a 'happy thought' to be able to fly.  Kim always liked to refocus us with 'Where's your happy thought?' if one of us were down or upset.
I still go back, revisit those days she was sick and wonder what I could have done differently.  And, looking back on the wonderous years we shared together, I still scratch my head and ask myself how I pulled that off.  Kim Ardle?  I married Kim Ardle??  I married Kim Ardle!
"Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today."
                                                         -Mother Teresa


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The space between here and There

             Today was one of those days where between here and there was thin.

             If you have ever lost someone close to you, you know what I mean.

              In the cool, crisp Autumn air, I could feel Kim this morning, as I ran my circle, taking first Tonio to Cottonwood (and just squeaking in the back gate, as Kim used to say, before the bell rang) and then over to Desert Sky to drop Autumn.  Mr. Edwards greeted us curbside, broad smile, hand shake - a reminder of the support Kim had, his wife, Jenna, an RN, ready to assist Kim at home, to nurse her back to health...
             When I drop Autumn, before she leaps to the sidewalk, she quickly turns to me, holding a Mary medallion towards my lips...
               "Did you kiss Mary today?"  she asks, her brilliant blue eyes searching mine...

                 Those eyes....Those eyes, so like her Mama's...but I don't need to tell you that.

                "Do you have to go into work right away Dad?"  she asks.  She's so worried about the amount of time I put in.

                 "No honey, I'm off to Mass at the Mission."  I tell her.

                  And the concern is gone in a flash - she's lit up like the sun coming over the Rincon Mountains at dawn.

                 "Lucky!"  She squeals in her best Napoleon Dynamite voice, genuinely excited for me, knowing it's the best way for me to start my day.

                  And it can be.

                   Today it was.  I was compelled to stop in the gift shop, instead of going towards the little history of the Mission museum a few doors down, to get my candles (always one for Kim and a friend).  I like to buy them at the museum, because the kind lady who peddles them always shares a 'secret Mission fact' with me.  In a conspiratorial way.  Like:
                     "Those candles you buy?  Do you know what they mean?"  She looks at me from behind her candle laden counter, smiling.

                       "Uh...that I want to light them?"  It's early.  No caffeine.  Yet.

                     "The Virgin Mary of Guadalupe and the San Xavier Mission candles are for special intentions.  The Father Kino and St. Jude are for the critically ill." 

                         I'm enlightened....delicately choosing a Mary and a San Xavier.  They will work.

                       But today, I'm drawn to the gift shop, where they only have the San Xavier candles.  Which will work.  And further, instead of just getting the candles at the front cashier, I need to go back into the shop, where the crucifixes, statues and biblical books are...I'm drawn...and I see, among the statues of angels...

                   I buy it, with the notion it is for Autumn...from Kim.

                    I take my candles, first to the main church, before Mass begins, up to the altar for Mary.  As I pray, thanking the Lord for Kim.  And the mother that she was.  And the wife that she was.  And the best friend too...I felt warm and peace coming over me - as if my prayers were being answered right now.  Kim was there.

                     Anyone who has ever lost someone close to you.  So close.  As close as the ocean's waves are to the sands of the beach, intertwined - so close, you cannot separate the two...you know what I mean.  I could feel her.  So, she was there.

                     I finished and headed to the side chapel dedicated to Mary, where Kim's smiling picture patiently waits through the days and the nights.  Toni was there, cleaning, always keeping Kimmy up front on the altar.  And dusted.  I embrace her and tell her - 'Kimmy's here.'  She knows.  And she fills me with stories, from the reservation.

                      I believe that Ivan and Toni, keepers of the Mission, know things.  Things that I can only suspect.  They are more in touch with their loved ones that have passed before them.  They lovingly relate to me stories...and happenings.

                      And when they are done..."Hurry, Mass is starting!"  Toni urges, breaking the bond.

                       The Father tells us it is St Teresa of Avila's Feast Day.  He described her life as one of helping others and urged us to walk away with the desire to do the same...Somehow, I'm feeling it's Kim, channeling, reaching out to me, as bits and pieces of our wedding day flash before me...but it's not sadness, or longing, that comes with these memories - but warmth and knowing that the moments that I am reliving were as monumentous to me as any miracle. 

                        I carry these feelings home with me, delighting in them...and choose to place Autumn's Mary on her desk, where she is sure to find it...

                        And I'm right - she texts me a picture of it and asks:

                         "What's this from?"

                        I'm working late...

                          "Mission"  I answer.

                       "That's pretty!"

                          "I'm pretty sure it's from your Mama..."

                           "When I saw it, that's what I thought too!!"  she exclaimed.  "Because it was sitting right next to my journal."  She still writes to Kim.  Every day.  About her day and how we are doing and what we did and who helped us through our day...

                           "How's it look?"  She needs to know...


                          As I wrapped up the busy day, getting home close to midnight, I logged onto email...

Hey Dad!
You are even sweeter dad! Mom would be so proud of you. The only reason I'm like this is because you and mom are such great role models and so caring and giving. Thanks so much for everything dad. :) Hope you had a great day today dad! Soccer was good but by the time we got home tonight I felt like I was going to fall over with exhaustion! Soccer for about 2 hours is hard work after a day of school! I hope I'll be ready for the championship games because I hear we don't get much of a break between games and they are hard work! well, hope you sleep good! Thanks again for my statue! I love it! Sweet dreams! Good night, love you.

Love, Autumn
xoxoxoXXooXOoxXooOx ;)

Subject: Re: Good night!
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2013 23:34:56 -0700

You are sweet Autumn!!  I know that you make Mama so proud of you everyday Smile emoticon and me too!!  Love you!!  Dad

From: Ciao Bella 
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 10:20 PM
To: Dad
Subject: Good night!

Hey Dad!
Hope your day was good even though it was so long. Did you eat dinner? Hope you did! :) That's not fair though that you had to work pretty much all day, at least 12 hours! You can't keep doing that Dad! Well, I hope you get good rest. Love you lots! Sweet dreams, good night!

Love, Autumn
           Autumn gets it.  She knows.  
           She's so caring and deep like her Mama - brings me to my knees sometimes.
           Some days it's just thinner.  Whether it's hummingbirds that linger, clouds that flash pinks/oranges as the day prepares to end or that feeling of warmth and love deep in your heart...
            Today was one of those days....


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dangerous Type

Watering the pots out front the other day, a passer by mentioned 'Kimmy clouds'...

How about Kimmy tunes?

                                               Chuy's, Tuesday night - playing the '80's...

Absolutely Kimmy...Especially the ocean scenes...so alive...
And then, I heard this one....
Sometimes, these classics bring such vivid memories...