Saturday, September 12, 2009


I have wanted to write for awhile about my visit with Kim that I had towards the end of the summer, but I haven't really known what to say until now!

Kim and I were great friends in grade school, but high school came and went, college, marriage, LIFE gets in the way, and you lose touch with people you spend much of your life with. Think about it, Kim and I spent 1/3 of our life seeing each other almost everyday at school. We played softball and basketball together after school, entered track meets, etc. We even played volleyball together, a sport that I wish I was much better at, but Kim was patient and kind with me while others got VERY FRUSTRATED. So, when I found out about her diagnosis, I was devastated. NO, we were in no way currently best friends, but we knew one another for 9 years, how could I not go visit? It would have been EASY to not visit her at the Mayo Clinic when I learned of her diagnosis, but I went. It wasn't easy, it was awkward and uncomfortable, but we chatted about families, what we had been up to for the last 1/3 of our lives, she showed me pictures, and overall, I was glad I went. I saw her again at the bowling fundraiser, we chatted again, it was amazing to see all the people around who loved her so much. All of these people brought together to celebrate such an amazing woman.

Throughout Kim's battle, the reports on the blog and getting the weekly/daily updates from Donna were two completely different stories. When I heard she was at the Cancer Treatment Center of America, I knew it was time to go see her again. I was lucky enough to spend some time with her, hold her hand, talk with her for a few moments. I left feeling kind of silly that I had gone because her room was filled with all of these people who just LOVED her unconditionally, and maybe they resented me for stealing even a few moments of time. I left viewing the blog as a whole bunch of fluff, I was mad at her blog, she kept talking about getting better, and I was mad that she was not herself, and she wasn't really "living life"! I swore up and down that if I was ever diagnosed, I wouldn't ever put my family through all of the treatments she was getting, when the doctors were telling her that there was nothing else they could do for her, she continued to fight.

It is unfortunate, but I wouldn't learn until after her passing, that she never gave up hope because she didn't want her kids to ever think she quit fighting to live and be with them. How can that not be something everyone should aspire to be? She was a fighter, and I swear she didn't ever think of giving up. How many times have I given up on things. There are a million and one things that I can say I have quit on, but very few I can say I follow through until the end. She followed her life through until the end! Kim has taught me the importance of hope. Without hope, there really is no reason to continue living, and she embraced that very theory. Kim taught me that I would fight until the very end of time to stay with the ones I love. There isn't a day that goes by in which I don't think about Kim. I wonder if she knows just how many people she has touched!?


Karen said...

Her story is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and very powerful. I cried everytime I would visit her page, alhtough obviously I never knew her except through your blog. I'm glad you had the opportunity to visit Kim and reconnect with her, even though it wasn't the best of circumstances. And I'm so sorry for what her family and friends are going through right now :(

Cynthia said...

What a touching & honest post, it has me in tears. I, for one, am proud of you for going to visit her. Undoubtedly that must have been realllllly hard to do, and I'm sure it was awkward after so much time. But I bet she loved it as did her close friends and family. It clearly showed what they already knew, what a wonderful person Kim was to have friends from grade school come spend some time with her! Like your friend Karen I read Kim's blog through you, and was hoping she would be one of the lucky ones to beat it. When I heard she was close to passing away I just cried and cried. I didn't even know her. I cried for her kids who won't ever know their mom, for her husband losing his soulmate, and especially for her, to miss watching her kids grow up. But like you said she left behind a strong legacy, to keep fighting, even when it doesn't look good, there is always hope.

Carrie said...

great post Colleen. She inspires me too and I didn't know her either. Each of our lives is a mosaic, and we pull light and color from one another into our own picture.

Brad said...

I think trying to pull something from this situation is the best way you could honor her. What a powerful post.

Laurie said...

Beautifully said Colleen! Hope is what lifts us up above the dark clouds - because even when it's raining, the sun is shining above the clouds. It is what is getting me through each day right now!