Monday, April 07, 2008

R.I.P., Kim

"Have you heard about Kim?" a fellow mom asked me.

"No, what about her?"

"She died last Sunday." And then she told me some of the details.

I met Kim through the Sunday pre-school program at our parish. The program was a co-op venture where the families buddied up to teach--okay, it was the mothers who usually taught. The dads generally took the older siblings to Mass or supervised on the playground. Kim's two boys were about the same ages as my two youngest. When our parish school recommended that Kim's oldest wait a year before starting Kindergarten, I was able to give her my perspective, having been through the same situation the year before.

Kim served on the PTG Hospitality Committee, so she was usually in the kitchen. She seemed unflappable, keeping the tea, coffee, hot chocolate, croissants, and fruit coming during the Welcome Back Coffee on the first day of school. If there was a class party, Kim was there. She also worked as a nurse at night so she could be with her boys during the day.

Eleven years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She remained cheerful and upbeat, admitting only to being tired and frustrated that she didn't have the energy to do everything she wanted to do. She wore colorful scarves and hats to hide her bald head. But she had faith that God would not let her down.

She beat that round of cancer.

Three years ago, the cancer returned. Again Kim fought. The entire class of 2007 prayed for her every day. She made it through graduation and danced with her youngest son. But the cancer was relentless and in February she decided to stop fighting. She had Open Houses, wrote her own eulogy. Unfortunately, I was out of the loop and didn't get a chance to see her to say good-bye.

That Kim passed on Divine Mercy Sunday seems quite appropriate.

I wasn't able to go to the funeral, but DD#2 and I did go to the Rosary. (DS#2, who knew Kim's oldest son, was visiting a friend who just came home from the hospital after being treated for lymphoma.) A lot of the kids from their class were there, along with staff from the school. We shared our memories and our prayers. We made the usual comments about how nice it was to see everyone; how sad it had to be an occasion like this, we really need to get these kids together for a happier reunion.

We probably won't.

I can't imagine the school kitchen without Kim behind the door.