My wonderful friend Kim died of leukemia about 6 months ago.   I’ve wanted to write a tribute to her since.   Every time I try, I get stuck for two reasons:

1.  I begin to tear up, and then I just give up.
2.  I realize nothing I write will be enough.

Kim was such an awesome woman who fought her way through so many challenges and heartaches in life, and there is simply a huge void in my life where she used to be.

I have several good friends, but I don’t have another Kim.

Kim was a woman of tremendous faith who inspired me and encouraged me every time I talked with her.   She was a steadfast testament to the power of a loving, redemptive God who wants nothing but the best for all of us.   She was so mature in her faith and didn’t allow me to lollygag in my own.   I loved that about her.   She raised the bar and made me want to reach it.  

I miss that prodding. 
The last time I saw Kim, she was having a yard sale in my driveway.   She was moving to Oregon the following week to be closer to her grandchildren.

I munched on a bagel while I watched her work the customers.  She was welcoming and open to negotiation and not at all attached to her stuff.  She was taking with her only what she could pack in her white Hyundai.  I admired her adventurous spirit and her Godly confidence.  Even though we were the same age, she was the woman I wanted to be when I grew up. 

When Kim was cleaning out her condo, she gave me a yellow bowl and little matching creamer that had belonged to her grandmother.  She told me she wanted to give them to someone who would take care of them, and I was honored that she chose me.  

Maybe I was just the friend who was helping her clean out her kitchen that day…maybe they could have gone to anyone.  All of Kim’s friends loved her like I did.   I happened to be the one. 

I don’t have any dishes that are yellow, and I thought at the time that I would certainly cherish the bowl, but might not use it much.   She also gave me her spices, her tea bags, her baking powder and two pounds of white sugar.   I knew I would use those.

A little over a year after Kim arrived in Oregon, she was diagnosed, and her prognosis was the worst.   It was horrific news, such a blow to the gut.   It makes me catch my breath still.

Her Florida friends, we got together and cried and prayed and talked about who could fly to Oregon.   

Thirteen days later, Kim was gone.

In her final few days, I talked to her on the phone several times.   She sounded weak, but amazingly positive.  

“I’m going to see Jesus,” she would say.  She was not afraid, she was not even really sad.  She was ready to go.

One of Kim’s final requests was to visit Multnomah Falls, near her home.  Her daughter posted this picture of Kim in her wheelchair with a barrier of stairs between her and the light of heaven.

I don’t know what Kim was thinking at this moment, but I hear her saying, “Here I am, Lord.  Waiting for pick up.”

I have complete peace that Kim is with Christ, laughing and eating chocolate.  I know we’ll meet again.

Before she got too weak, she called me and left a message on my answering machine.  I’ve saved it.

That, and the yellow bowl, which I use every day.


Unknown said...

What a beautiful tribute! Thank you for loving mom and her yellow bowl. She has been given her great reward and is waiting patiently for us to join her as we all wait for our "pick up". It is not "good bye" but a "see you later"!

Dihiwi said...

I enjoyed reading your tribute to your friend. You read and commented on my tribute during the A to Z challenge this year and I appreciated your thoughtfulness. I've read several of your blogs and I love your writing style. It makes me feel like we're having a conversation over a cup of coffee. Keep writing - you are an inspiration.