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."