Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Give Back, Don't Give Up

When I hear stories about children who have died, my heart aches. On my List of Things to Ask God, finding out the answer to that one is pretty high up.

In the last couple of months, there have been many stories about children in the St. Louis area who have died. One in particular was a young girl died while on vacation in Costa Rica when her ATV went off a cliff.

I found her memorial website, and read about their plans to hold an annual benefit on her birthday. I was so touched by their story that I left a comment explaining who I was and that I also hold a benefit for Jessica and Kelli. Her mother, Jennifer, responded to me. She asked what kind of benefit we hosted, and I gave her the details. She also asked for whatever guidance I could give her to deal with Brooke's death.

I told her, "I find that writing about them, while painful, is cathartic as well. By writing about them, I introduce them to a larger audience, even outside the US, and make people aware of not only how they died, but how they lived. I realize the impact that they had on their friends, family and even strangers. I pass on the good that they embodied and that I am trying to keep alive by my community efforts."

The community, both local and global, has been so supportive. I am still receiving emails and donations a month after the fundraiser. I know that Jessica and Kelli would want to repay that kindness by helping others, whether by scholarships, food drives, dress donations, planting trees or giving blood.

Jessica and Kelli were smiling, happy, kind-hearted girls who loved helping others. I do things that I know they would support, and would have loved being a part of, like the prom dress donation.

So I give back. I can't give up and just let this sadness drag me down. Believe me, there are days that I physically feel the weight of my grief. And those are the days that I drag myself to the mirror, and hear their voices saying, "Geez mom, brush your hair, and put on some lipstick!" So I do. I see their pictures smiling at me and I can't help but smile back.

That's what gets me through. Creating a positive result from a senseless tragedy. It's not easy, it's not the magic cure, but it's all I've got.


Kym said...

Beautifully written - I'm so, so sorry for your loss.

KBO said...

Kim, you are so amazing and strong.

Jill of All Trades said...

Wonderfully written and not writing to help through it is helping the other mothers who have had their own tradegies.

Erin said...

I am inspired by how you help your girls continue to create a positive impact, even after they've gone.

Anonymous said...

And this is why you continue to amaze me. I don't know that I could do what you do/have done, but I'd like to think so. Because you're that inspirational.

My Life My Life My Life said...

You are a role model...I'm sure you didnt sign up for it in this manner but here you are. Even in your own grief you reach out, build up and live. What an example of humanity and dignity.

You are a blessing to sooooo many.

Kelli said...

You are an inspiration. I know your daughters are so very proud of you.

Holly said...

You sure are a damned impressive lady. I really appreciate your positive message of hope! HUGS! Holly