We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

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!!!