Sunday, May 31, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
- She wrote in her diary how sick she was, but didn't want to worry us.
- She never complained about her suffering; about losing her sight, her ability to think, or the terrible pain she was having in her head.
- Kimmi wanted us to take a family picture (Evey and I, Kimmi and Millie) because she wanted us to have a last picture of her.
- She bought Evey a Digital Picture Frame (10 inches) that was well beyond her price limit. I had to pay 75% of it, but she really wanted her mom to have a special Christmas gift, and it had to be that.
- The day of her fistula surgery, where she had the heart attack, she told her mom that she wasn't afraid even though she had two previous heart attacks and knew she was getting weaker.
- She organized all her papers and Millie's papers so we wouldn't have to go through a mess.
- She told Shawna she knew she was going to heaven and would ask Jesus to save a place for her, so we wouldn't have to worry so much about her salvation.
- While she lay dying that first night, she would squeeze my finger to tell me that she loved me. That was her last "conscious" action.
- But, the one thing she could not do was fix the holes in our hearts when she left us. Those holes, though healing, will never go away!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
She wrote, "How about the time she was sick? Everyone knew she was sick, but no one knew how sick she really was. She kept it to herself. She didn't want people to worry. She knew she was close to the edge. She knew she couldn't take the pain anymore. She knew her brain was starting to fail. She knew she couldn't think clearly anymore. Don't cry, I'm happy now, I feel no more pain. I couldn't take it anymore. It was affecting my need and my way of thinking. I'm with God, I'm cured! It doesn't hurt anymore mommy and daddy. I'll see you guys when you get here". I love you!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I don't know how to tell you this Baby girl, but I am really worried about your earth mother. She is doing something extremely awful, something I never would have imagined while you were here. I still can't believe she'd do something like this! And, the really bad thing is that she got this idea from your "Iowa" sister-in-law, Missy. I'm getting more and more worried about Missy, especially with all the weird things coming out of Iowa.
Kimmi, you just have to talk with Jesus, and ask Him if he would relay a message from you to your mom. Ask Him not to whisper this into her thoughts, but to shout so loud that she knows it is from Him. This is extremely important, something that could literally change the course of the Riedel family and name. Since you left us, Evey has done some really strange things. I can account most of it to the shock of us losing you, but she's gone too far this time.
Maybe you better sit down on a cloud because the shock of this could literally knock you over and cause you to fall out of Heaven. I know I'm beating around the bush, but this is so terrifying that I can't speak it out. But, I have to.
Kimmi, your mother is making "INSTANT" mashed potatoes! There, I said it! You heard me right, Instant mashed Potatoes! Maybe it's because we don't have you to mash the potatoes properly since you were the only one who could do it right. Maybe she just can't do real potatoes because she doesn't have you to help her. Or, maybe she just can't do something that causes her to miss so much more, which makes it hurt that much more. Even I could tell that the real mashed potatoes weren't right because you aren't here to put the "perfect" touch to them, but we still need to do our best if we hope for any chance to continue living. Please, Kimmi, talk to Jesus. Tell Him how important it is to shock her out of this evil Iowa way of doing things.
Kimmi, I love you so much. I can't believe it's been 7 weeks since you left us. The house is so empty, Milli is so lonely that she is even wanting my attention. The holes in our hearts are healing, but only because we know you loved us and because we know you'd want us to be happy and to get on with our lives; but most of all because we know Jusus is taking care of you now, and we are trusting Him to heal us. Also, Kimmi, please ask Jesus to give us more dreams about you in Heaven. That dream on good Friday just made my entire week. I love you Baby Girl, and I can't wait until we meet again.
Your earth dad.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
But, even with my own parents, I looked at the monument for information, but I don't really feel anything at a grave site. I knew the bodies of my parents, relatives, or friends were in the ground, but it didn't really mean anything to me. I mean, they're just dead bodies in the ground. As a Christian, I know that the bodies are dead and the spirit is in eternity; heaven or...I try not to judge. I would just look at the marker and have memories that always got me through. All the memories are in my head and heart, not in the cemetery.
But, that all changed. I know it is just Kimmi's body in the ground, and her spirit is in heaven with Jesus (I trust that she is with Jesus in heaven). But, when I go out to her grave, things change. Sometimes I picture her down in that casket all alone and scared. I can't protect her and it scares me. I know that is ridiculous, but when you've spent her entire life doing your best to protect her, you feel terrible because you're not doing your job. Sometimes I can't seem to picture her in my mind, and that scares me even more.
But, most of the time, I just miss her so much that I don't know what I am going to do. I can't wait to die, so I can see her again, which really sounds stupid because it should be Jesus that we can't wait to see - and I can't. But, sometimes, it is just a patch of dirt with some flowers and a marker with my baby's name on it. I can't accept that even after 7 weeks, but I have to. I have to live. I have two wonderful sons and their families to live for, and I can't imagine leaving them. I don't want them to lose more than we lost 7 weeks ago. I certainly don't want to hurt them any more than they are.
All I can do is pray that God will give me more dreams, especially like the one during the Last Supper. I can still picture Kimmi in such fantastic surroundings and having a wonderful time. Her entire face just lit up the whole place and lit up my heart. Dear Lord, please allow me, and especially her mother, more dreams like that. And, thank you for loving us so much that you let us borrow her for this long when she should have died 27 years ago. And, please help us overcome this lonliness.
- I miss her crying out in her sleep. Sound asleep, she'd yell out a scream, or she'd talk about something. Never could make it out. I dreamt that twice now, and thought it was so real. Not even sure if I was sleeping. Maybe I'm hearing voices!
- I really miss watching her sleep.
- I miss her mashing the potatoes, like only she could do it. Now, we rarely have mashed potatoes and they just don't taste as good.
- I miss her coming home from dialysis or after a night with friends, so I knew she was ok.
- I miss her with that gruddy little hat/visor she always wore when she drove.
- I miss her scrapbooking. Always late at night when it was time to go to bed, and she'd just "Have to do it now."
- I miss her and her baby, Millie. Kimmi would have made such a wonderful mom. She just loved little ones, especially babies.
- I miss the stories she'd tell us about her day.
- I miss sitting at the table, eating with her. Don't think we'd ever sat at the table if not for her. We do a lot more now.
- I miss her trying to walk Millie, or should I say, being dragged by Millie.
- I miss kissing her good-bye at night when I went to work.
- I miss staying up in the morning to make sure she got to dialysis.
- I miss loaning her money I knew I'd never get back. She spent much more of my allowance than I ever did, and I liked it that way.
- I miss her making fun of me; being old, modern illiterate, my habits, etc.
- I miss helping her with her computer when she had problems with it.
- I don't miss those stupid "reality shows" she liked so much, but I sure miss watching them with her, and whining about having to watch them.
- I miss all the goofy ideas she'd come up with. Just glad she never tried most of them.
- I really miss worrying about her, and hoping she was ok. It sure beats what I'm doing now.
- I miss us nagging her about saving some money, but she always had enough, and the future would take care of itself.
- I miss wathcing her get dressed up for a night out. She was so darn cute.
- I miss sharing the joy of something, and comforting the sadness.
- I really miss that cute little face, that cute little body, and that cute little pug nose.
- I miss that tongue ring that I always wanted her to take out.
- I miss the happiness she instilled in our home.
- I miss her feistiness.
- I miss her buying more and more candles, and me worrying about the house burning down.
- I miss those extra high shoes she always wore. Made her 3-4 inches taller.
- I miss everything being PINK! Practical wasn't important, but pink was. She would even pay way more to have pink. She sold a really good camera and bought a cheaper PINK one.
- I miss all the pictures she took. But she made prints of them too. So many pictures.
- I miss detangling chains and necklaces. Every week or so, she'd bring me a couple of them all tangled up. Usually took hours, but that cute smile made it all worth while. In fact, I just did 3 of them today, so I'll have to trust that she is smiling from heaven.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Selling her car is mostly a good thing. First, we really couldn't keep it. It would just sit there and take up space plus force us to keep one car outside, and we are not getting rid of the other cars. I couldn't drive it because I don't fit in it. More importantly, we can use the money to buy Kimmi a really nice gravestone, and the people we sold it to are a nice couple. They bought it for their daughter who is going to NU next year.
So, why is selling it causing me so much trouble? Like I said, it is one more step in losing Kimmi. Now, I pull Rob's Civic into the garage. I feel so bad taking Kimmi's place in the garage. That is HER place. Every time I pull in or out, it reminds me that I'm taking HER parking slot. It's like I'm kicking her out. I know it's stupid, but I feel guilty taking, and enjoying, her place in the garage. I've really missed Kimmi this week, with selling her car that she worked so hard to buy and keep up, then having a very sad Easter Sunday with no Easter basket for Kimmi. Just about everything reminds me of her; of all the things we can never do with her again.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
We did get to buy two more plots right next to Kimmi's. I know it is dumb to worry about dead bodies in graves being alone, especially since we will be dead and nobody will even know who we are. But, it really bothers us that Kimmi will be alone there. We just don't want her to be alone. In the past, a grave was just a grave, but now, it's our baby girl. I can't get it out of my mind, seeing her little body down in that dark casket all by herself. As stupid as it sounds, I'm worried that she'll be scared, and I can't protect her or comfort her.
I did have my fantastic dream or vision Friday, but it ended way too soon. Finally, the picture people sent us the HD disc of all the pictures we had taken last December. It normally would have cost us $250 to get a disc, but with her passing, they gave us the disc free, and transferred all rights to us. That was really nice of them! And, that is the end of the good.
The BAD started on Easter Sunday, on what should be the most glorious day of the year. All day long, we were down in the dumps. visited Kimmi's grave on Saturday and put some flowers out. Then visited again Sunday, but it really hurt. For only the second time since Robby was born, we didn't do an Easter Basket (didn't do one last year because Kimmi just came home from the hospital in very serious condition). Fluid had been building around her lungs and the hospital couldn't stop it or find out why. We were led to believe they were sending her home for good, not expecting her to get better. So, we didn't feel like doing a basket, and Kimmi was too sick to care.
So, for the second year in a row, we didn't do a basket for Kimmi. Only this year, we know we'll NEVER do it again. Even though Kimmi was 27, she was still a little girl in many ways. She still enjoyed getting an Easter Basket every year, and still enjoyed special parent / child treatment just like she was a little girl.
All day long was just plain sad. We went out to eat, but didn't enjoy it. And, the rest of the week has been the same. I have no idea what we will do for Mother's Day, but I wish we could cancel it this year. Evey is really getting depressed, and may need medicine. I do have an idea that may help, but not sure if I can do it. I can only hope things get better when Craig, Missy and Maddie come. Then, of course, ther is work. The best way to make a bad situation worse is to work for the post office.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
But, what really stood out was Kimmi. She was so very beautiful. She had a huge smile, literally grinning from ear to ear. And, she was playing. She was jumping, dancing and having a wonderful time with absolutely NO LIMITATIONS! She was so happy and excited. I think I remember other people or animals, but my entire focus was on Kimmi, so don't know. It probably only lasted a second or two, but seemed like 10 or more minutes. And, as it ended, I was rejoicing inside, but wanting the vision to come back.
Thank you Lord for this dream. Thank you for letting me see my Baby Girl so happy instead of the sickness and sadness we saw her last days on earth. Please bless me, and especially Evey, with more visions like this. I can't wait to go home and see all this in person.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Then, when the Lord took the cup from me, I decided I wanted it back. When I was no longer suffering, it seemed like I could no longer see Kimmi or remember what she looked like. I could barely see her in her casket or in her bed as she died. I wanted it back. I needed to see her, to tell her I loved her.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me. I don't need to remember her suffering to love her. I don't need to remember her dying to love her. I don't need to remember her dead body lying in that casket to love her and know that she is with Jesus.
He took the cup from me, and I am rejoicing. Now, I am remembering and seeing the happy, wonderful and beautiful baby girl I knew before this terrible tragedy. Now, I am remembering the fun things we did, the great times we had, and that absolutely beautiful smile just below her cute little pug nose attached to her gorgeous little face. I still can see Kimmi taking her last breath on earth, but it was really beautiful the way Jesus took her home. And, I was blessed with a dream, or vision, of Kimmi in heaven dancing and jumping, smiling the most beautiful smile and praying for us down here. I don't need that cup anymore. I have Kimmi and Jesus!
Of course, I still have my moments, and will continue to, but that, too, makes me feel that much closer to my little angel.
Friday, April 10, 2009
But, what really struck me when we were having communion was the REAL CELEBRATION in Heaven. I could just picture Kimmi with all the angels and other saints having an unbelievable celebration of Jesus' death on the Cross and His triumphant victory over sin, Satan and DEATH. I saw that beautiful smile like I never saw it before. I saw her body dancing and jumping, worshipping and praising, living to the fullest like she never could here on earth. I saw her praying for us, and I saw so much love that I don't even know how to describe it.
I thought about how I can't wait to die so I can see Kimmi again, but what I really can't wait for is to see Jesus; to be ashamed of all my sins, but to hear Him say, "Welcome My good and faithful servant. Welcome to MY eternal kingdom." I just kept seeing that beautiful little girl / woman / saint / angel with such a gorgeous smile, and glow of love all around her. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this wonderful vision!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
-- I just loved her cute little pug nose.
-- I just loved her beautiful smile. I may be prejudiced, but she had the cutest, most beautiful smile I've ever seen. Her smile just lit up the room and melted my heart.
-- I just loved her small frame. At only 4'5" and 75 lbs., this girl sure could carry herself.
-- I just loved her orneryness (she got it from me). She was usually the instigator when her and her friends got into something, and she'd work it out to the tiniest detail. Then, she would be so proud of herself when done, and have that gorgeous smile.
-- I just loved her stubbornness. I've never known anyone to out-stubborn her. Losing to her was frustrating, but fun, and oh so predictable!
-- I just loved her strength. Kimmi took everything thrown at her in stride. Even when she knew she was dying, she never felt sorry for herself. She never gave up hope, but kept fighting. But, most of all, she kept her real condition from us so we wouldn't worry. She privately suffered while putting on a show of normalcy for us. 50-plus surgeries, countless hospital stays - many in the ICU and being sick so much of her life couldn't break her spirit.
-- I just loved her gentle spirit. She so loved babies and little ones. Always bringing home, or wanting to, a kitten or puppy. She really wanted a baby, but knew she couldn't. But, she surely loved to babysit.
-- I just loved her taste in clothes. She'd come home with some of the strangest bras and undies. we'd get such a good laugh sometimes.
-- I just loved her love. She loved everybody, including the unloved.
-- I just loved her work ethic. Sick all her life, she worked as much as she could to buy her own car and pay her own insurance. When no longer able to work a "real job" she still babysat or did anything she could. At home, she always tried to do her part, even if it left her totally exhausted after only minutes.
-- I just loved to watch her sleep. So peacefully! Sometimes, I worried that she wasn't breathing.
-- I just loved her driving abilities while I hung on for dear life!
-- I just loved kissing her on the forehead and telling her I loved her. Especially this.
-- I just loved how good we felt when she'd come home, because I always worried when she was gone.
-- I just loved to watch her dress up to go out. She was so very beautiful.
-- I just loved being loved by her. As much as she wanted a normal life, she always appreciated her home and her parents. She gave more love than she ever got.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
What I'm writing today is the thing that has bothered me from the very beginning, the one thing that has made her death so terrible for me; the one thing that causes me to agonize so much: what caused her to code; did she suffer, how long did she suffer, and most importantly, why wasn't I there to take care of her like I am supposed to?
I remember releasing her to the doctors that day. I reassure her that, "It will be ok, Kimmi. You will do just fine." However, she was already starting to worry and panic. She wasn't afraid of the surgery, but of being awake while they did the surgery (they were worried that putting her out is what caused her heart attacks the last couple of times, so they were doing a local while keeping her awake). This is what really caused her to code every time, and it killed her this time.
In the past, they always sedated her while she was in pre-op with us. We kept her calm while she fell asleep. But, the last few times, they waited until going to the OR to start sedating her. Each time when they did, she coded. She was afraid and didn't have us to protect her and calm her nerves. So, she would become anxious and start to panic. This time, since they weren't putting her out, she kept panicking which caused her to code.
But, why weren't they ready for that? They even told us that they were prepared in case she did code. BUT THEY WEREN'T! All her symptoms should have tipped them off - that she was starting to code. They knew it, but didn't do anything until it was too late. WHY?
She coded for 15 long minutes before they could re-start her heart. Knowing she had a history of coding, why didn't they have a heart team there just in case (by the time they got there, it was too late). Yes, they did CPR, but 15 minutes without oxygen to the brain is many time more than what is needed to kill the brain.
HOW LONG DID SHE SUFFER BEFORE SHE CODED? WHY DIDN'T THEY STOP WHEN SHE SHOWED SIGNS OF CODING, AND BACK OFF - LETTING HER KNOW THEY WERE STOPPING SO SHE COULD CALM DOWN? IT WOULD HAVE SAVED HER LIFE (yes, to suffer more as her body and brain weakened). HOW MUCH PAIN DID SHE GO THROUGH BEFORE SHE CODED? AND MOST OF ALL, WHY, WHY, WHY COULDN'T I PROTECT HER? This is tearing me up inside. I released her to them so they could kill her body through ignorance or just plain stupidity. But, the responsibility was mine. I should have stopped it when I saw her starting to panic. It's always taken too long before the sedation took effect, but I still allowed them to continue as her panic was so intense that it caused her so much anxiety.
Lord, you removed the cup of pain of her death, but why haven't you removed this cup; the cup of pain and guilt for allowing the doctors to do something I didn't feel comfortable with? Please remove this guilt and fear of her suffering from me. Help me to quit worrying about that time and remember that she is no longer suffering now. Please help me to get this fear of her suffering out of my mind.
Finally, Lord, help me to dream again. Yes, many of my dreams were nightmares of her being stranded somewhere and crying out for her daddy to rescue her. But, those dreams, even the nightmares, would allow me to see her again; to talk with her again, and, even with the pain of a nightmare, allow me to be with her for awhile longer.
Friday, April 3, 2009
She wrote, "How about the time she was sick? Everyone knew she was sick, but no one knew how sick she really was. She kept it to herself. She didn't want people to worry. She knew she was close to the edge. She knew she couldn't take the pain anymore. She knew her brain was starting to fail. She knew she couldn't think clearly anymore. Don't cry, I'm happy now, I feel no more pain. I couldn't take it anymore. It was affecting my need and my way of thinking. I'm with God, I'm cured! It doesn't hurt anymore mommy and daddy. I'll see you guys when you get here". I love you!
This is what keeps me going. Knowing that my baby was suffering so much that she couldn't think clearly, and that she knew her brain was failing, and having it proven by her MRI, helps me deal with her death in a positive way. I could never stand to see her in pain or suffer emotionly. This, and knowing that she is resting in the love of Jesus makes all this bearable.
Kimmi left us one month ago, today at 4:43 p.m., and went to rest in the arms and love of her real Father in Heaven. While we still suffer in the pain of losing our baby, we also celebrate her new life; her pain free life; her victory over death and suffering, her glorious joy of everlasting peace!
I don't know when our pain and suffering will diminish, but in some ways, I hope it never does. Hurting like this makes me feel closer to Kimmi even if I can't see her beautiful face and little pug nose, hear her making fun of me, or feel her precious little body as I kiss her forehead and tell her I love her.
Happy 1-month anniversary Baby Girl. This is just the very beginning of your timeless joy in eternity. I know you are preparing a place for us, and we will really celebrate when we see you again. To us, it will seem like forever, but to you it will only feel like a split second. Sweet dreams my little angel. I love you!
P.S. Milli really misses you, but I take her for a walk nearly every day. She really enjoys that.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
But, the day made me think of all three of my children, again especially Kimmi because she needed it the most. When the kids were little, they'd get tired going somewhere, and the words came out, "Daddy, carry me". When they were really little, Evey or I would pick them up and carry them (never understand how moms can carry a child for hours, but dads tire out after only a few minutes). Also, dad would pick them up onto his shoulders and carry them. After a minute or so, I'd jerk their legs up as if to push them off. They (especially Kimmi) would scream and hold tightly onto my head. Kimmi would say, "Daddy don't do that." But, I continue doing it, and they'd scream and laugh with complete joy (fearing a fall, but knowing completely that daddy would never let them fall). Eventually, they would get too big to carry, or dad got too old.
But, in Kimmi's case, since she was so tiny, I carried her on my shoulders up to about the age of eight or older. Even up to this last year, Kimmi would sit in Evey's lap while Evey would lift the back of her shirt and lovingly scratch her back. This was continued bonding, growing love and maintaining closeness.
However, in the last few months, Kimmi has been carrying her mom and dad by not letting us know she was suffering. Just like we lifted her up to carry her, she carried us by hiding her pain as it got worse and worse.
Even after her death, Rob, Craig and their families carried mom and dad through the terrible shock and loss. I don't know what we would have done if not for them to run things for us (doing obituary, taking care of details, making decisions, and encouraging and loving us through this tragedy). We were completely lost while they did just about everything to carry us through this. In these past weeks, they'd call us to make sure we were ok, cry with us, and encourage us in every way.
But, we also have a daddy that we cried out to, "Daddy, carry me." Where else could we turn, but to the one who allowed our baby to die. Yes, if not for our Father in heaven, there is absolutely no way we could ever live through this. There is no way we could ever find peace in our baby's death if not for our relationship with our daddy "God".
Monday, March 30, 2009
I've found these stages of GRIEVING SO FAR.
SHOCK: Even though we've been preparing for this for 27 years, when it happens it is still a complete shock. Every time Kimmi went in for surgery, especially this past year, we knew it could be her last. But, the complete shock was still there. You can never prepare for this!
DISBELIEF: Even when the doctors told us that she coded for 15 minutes; Even when we first saw her; Even when the MRI showed damage; even when the brain scan showed no life, Even when they told us she was brain dead; Even when we took her home to her bed and watched her breathe her last beautiful breath and go into the arms of Jesus; EVEN THEN, WE STILL DIDN'T BELIEVE! It just wasn't possible. Even when we buried her precious body, we still couldn't believe we'd never see her in this life again.
ACCEPTANCE: Ok, we accept her passing. we know her body is dead, but her spirit is with Jesus. That is about the only thing that we have to keep us going; to keep us sane. That is the only thing that helps us accept her death. But, it hurts more than anything ever hurt before. There are giant holes in our hearts and we don't know how to fix it.
WHY GOD, WHY?: What did we do to cause You to take her from us? What did Kimmi do? Why did she have to leave us so suddenly and so soon? Why didn't You heal her? How could You take her away from us, and tear our hearts out like that? Why God, Why?
YOUR WORD: I don't know what we'd do without Your Word! I don't know how a non-believer could ever survive such a trajedy believing they will never see their loved one again; believing their loved one is just dead - that's all, no afterlife. Even though we don't understand, we trust You and Your Word. You said that Your ways are not our ways. You see the BIG Picture while we see the tiniest fraction of it. When Jesus was about to die, he cried out, "Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken away from Me, yet, not as I will, but as You will." Matt 26:39. In Isaiah55:8, the Lord said, "My ways are not your ways."
TRUST: Lord, help us to understand your ways so this cup will flee from us; so this pain will go away. Help us to understand Your will so we can fully accept losing her in this life. I don't understand, BUT I TRUST YOU. Although we are in pain, our baby girl feels no more pain, no more suffering, no more sickness, no more sorrow. She is completely happy in the arms of Jesus, enjoying Your love for all eternity. If it wasn't for Your Word and knowing that Kimmi is with you right now, we'd never be able to drink from this cup. Lord, we love You and we trust You. Thank You for allowing us the pure pleasure of enjoying this special GIFT from You. Thank you for loving us so much, that You gave us this most precious little angel from heaven, even if only for a short while. You blessed us beyond imagination.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I've had FIVE real heroes in my life. Sure, as a little boy, I thought of Johnny Unitas and Mickey Mantle (met him) as heroes, but they really weren't. Then, there was Dr. J. and the Sixers from 77-79, especially since I got to play basketball with them several times a week - true story that I might share some time. There was also my parents, and a few uncles when I was little. Also looked up to 2 teachers from grade school (Sr. Ivan and Mr. Rupp) and even wanted to teach after the military because of them. Then, there is my wife, a very special lady like my mother.
BUT, my real heroes were Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa and my three children. Jesus needs no explanation because jesus is the true meaning of love. Abe, of course because of his belief that all people are created equal and fought for the rights of all people. Mother Theresa was also easy. A tiny little woman physically that had the heart of a 100 foot giant. She devoted her life to loving the unloved and caring for the sickest, weakest, filthiest and poorest of the world. When asked how she could care for the slime from the slums, she stated, "I don't se the filth. All I see is Jesus!"
BUT, why my children? If you knew them really well, they'd be your heroes too. And, if you know of the lousy job I did as their dad, you'd be shocked that they turned out so well. All three of them have the love of God. All three loved the unloved and protected the weak. These are just a few examples of their love for the weak and unloved, their integrity and their decency.
ROB: When he was 5, we visited New York City. At the Statue of Liberty, Robby kept pestering us for a toy statue that he really needed, like any boy would. There was a homeless gentleman in the park. It was miserably hot, but this guy was wearing an overcoat and carried all his belongings in a shopping cart. He smelled really bad, and looked worse. My sister and I started making fun of him, even where he could hear us. Seeing how we treated this poor man, Robby started crying and walked up to him to give him his new "prized" statue. I felt so small and so ashamed, convicted by the love of a 5 year old. We ended up giving the gentleman $5 so Rob would keep his statue, and walked away with a different view of homeless people. Rob's integrity and decency has never changed. He still has no problem letting me know that I might be doing something enethical even if really minor.
CRAIG: I don't know if I'll ever get this exactly right, but walking home from Jr. High one day, Craig came across several boys picking on this skinny kid, all about the same age as Craig. They had a broken beer bottle, and were threatening to cut the kid up. Not thinking about himself, Craig intervened and chased the thugs away. He literally risked injury to protect someone he didn't know. He and the skinny kid became friends after that. Like Rob, Craig maintained the same attitude and spirit ever since. He is a loving, patient father, deacon and youth leader in his church, and has gone on numerous mission trips. It has to be God because I didn't instill that in him.
KIMMI: Don't know where to begin with this girl. Born with a deadly disease that eventually took her life, she always maintained a positive attitude and never felt sorry for herself. When she lost her first kidney and had to be on peritoneal dialysis (tube in her belly) at the age of 9, we feared she'd never be able to handle it. Upon leaving the hospital, the tube popped down out of her shorts. We panicked, but Kimmi just smiled and tucked the tube back in, "No big deal." But, even moreso than the boys, she always loved the unloved. She never looked down on anyone, never judged anyone, especially the poor, dirty, or weak. In fact, it was her nature to seek out the unloved and love them. At her wake and funeral, person after person (most of them poor and unloved) came up to us, introduced themselves and told how Kimmi loved them as her very best friends. Although we were very wealthy compared to them, Kimmi never looked down on them like most people did. This little angle loved them the way Jesus did.
I've learned so much from my children. I've learned to love the less fortunate, not to judge others because of their situations, to treat people fairly and honestly and to try to understand people's situation before criticizing. Although I eventually got my love from Jesus, it was first modelled for me by my children. I thank God every day for blessing me with such wonderful children.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Hello, I just wanted to write you an e-mail to let you know I've been thinking of you and praying for you. You are definitely in my heart and my thoughts as Kimmi is. I am also writing you to let you know what happened to me the other night. After getting off the phone with you and getting home to be with my kids (went to a friend's house to just cry), my husband had explained to my boys "why Mommy was crying" and let them know as best as he could what had happened. My oldest boy Hunter remembers Kimmi, pretty well actually.
Well, I was getting in bed and two out of three kids were asleep. The only one still awake was my middle child Mason. He was already laying in my bed watching cartoons. As I was getting in bed he said to me, "Mommy you're sad huh?" And I said, "Yeah, Mason, Mommy is sad. He then said to me, "Why are you sad?" I said, "cause Mommy's heart is broken cause her friend is no longer here". He said, "I know her heart stopped "beeping" didn't it?" I said,"Yeah baby it did". He then asked me, "Well Mommy can't we just get some tape and fix her heart and your heart so no one will be sad?" I said, "No baby it doesn't work that way, tape can't fix everything." It has stayed with me the last couple of days. How simple it is for children and how it is so much more complex for adults and as parents we do the best we can explaining things to our children. Just a funny thought, that I know Kimmi would have adored. Thank you for your time. I hope it brought a small smile to your face.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
We miss you so much. The house seems so empty without you to soothe the lonliness, without your smile to warm us up and without your prescense to make us feel valuable. We miss your jokes, your calming influence, and even your dumb reality shows just because they were a part of you. We miss worrying about you when you're away and miss our feeling of satisfaction and security when you're home with us. We miss sitting at the table with that special angel that made it enjoyable to sit and talk. We miss your driving abilities, even thought they scared the daylights out of us. We miss your love for your baby (Millie) showing us just what real love is. We really miss taking care of you. We felt so much more close to you when you needed us to take care of you, but also when you wanted us around because you loved us right back. But, most of all we miss the love of God that we saw in you every day. You had that kind of love for everyone and you shared it liberally.
People say we are free to do things now. FREE? Without you, we lost our freedom. We chose to be with you, to take care of you and to love you in every way possible. That freedom was taken away when we lost you. But we also know that you are with Jesus, and have no more pain or sickness. That makes us so happy and relieved to know that Jesus finally healed you and protects you in His loving arms. Take care Baby Girl. We pray that Jesus and time will fill the huge holes in our hearts, but we will NEVER forget YOU! We will never forget all the love that you brought to our lives and our hearts. We thank God for letting us borrow you these nearly 28 years.
P.S. We are taking good care of Millie.
We can't know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom
in the warmth of sunlights kiss upon its face,
before it folds its fragrance in and bids the world goodnight
to rest its beauty in a gentler place.
But we know that nothing that is loved is ever lost
and no one who ever touches a heart can really pass away,
because some beauty lingers on in each special memory
of which they've been a part.
Since my mom's family was close and my dad's wasn't, we gravitated to mom's side. I will never forget the family gatherings. Christmas, Thanksgiving, usually a summer reunion or two. Then, we usually went to my grandma's house every Sunday evening. It was always a great time having fun, sharing everything, and feeling loved. We called every uncle and aunt by first name, even Sister Paddy. There was quite a bit a drinking, visiting and playing games, no matter the weather. Of course, we'd run into each other many times throughout the year, and we always had a great time. There is something about family that just makes things better.
As we grew, my sibs and I all moved away (4 out of state and my sister moved to Wichita, 90 miles away). Brother Art eventually moved back to Kansas (Larned), about 40 miles away. I was in the military, so could be anywhere. But, when I came home (usually for a month), we'd all be together again and we'd all have a great time. Unfortunately, as time goes by uncles, aunts, and even our parents passed away. There are only three uncles and aunts left. With our parents gone, we really don't have much reason to go back home except for a funeral or wedding. And, since we no longer have mom and dad, my sibs and I rarely see each other.
Fortunately, I married into even a larger family. My wife's grandmother on her mom's side had 14 kids. And, they were also very close. They lived just 20 miles to the south of Hays, so we also visited them quite a bit. Again, her dad's side wasn't very close and lived almost 300 miles away, so we didn't go to see them much. But, the reunions were something else. I have never been able to remember the names of all the uncles and aunts, let alone the cousins. But, a few were closer, so we knew them better.
We've lived in the Omaha NE area for over 20 years now. It became our home because of the military, but mostly because Kimmi's doctors were here and there were only a very few places we could take her. However, we live a minimum of 300 miles from any family, so don't see anybody that much. We are a small family with 3 children (now 2), but we are still a close family in heart. Kimmi passed away at 4:43 p.m. on March 3, 2009, and is still in our hearts every second of the day. She is in Heaven with Jesus.
Unfortunately, our boys also moved away (Craig to Davenport, IA and Rob now lives in England). When he moves back, he'll probably be back in Peoria, ILL. So, we don't get to see them that much, but still do at Christmas. With Kim always sick, it was rare that we could go to see the boys. Now, that she has left us to be with Jesus, we will be able to travel more. But, we usually talk to them of the phone a couple times a week. And, we even set up an Internet View Cam (Kimmi did this for us old, uneducated folks) so we can see each other.
We visited Craig and family this past weekend. We were so happy to see them, but felt so much lacking with Kimmi gone. We still had a great time with Craig, Missy, and our grandaughter Maddie. On Sunday, we went with them to a family reunion on Missy's side. A large part of her family was there for a baby shower. It felt so good to be around a large, but close family again. It took me back to my family reunions as a child.
I am so happy that both of my boys married into large, close-knit families. Rob's wife has 5 sisters, and all live in Omaha. They will always have large families to gather with. Even when we are gone, my boys will have lots of family around to make them feel at home and feel loved. One only realizes the importance of a family, especially a large close-knit family when we lose part of that family. We thought about moving closer to the boys, but how could we ever leave Kimmi? We could still move her with us, but will need a permanent place where the boys will always be, so we don't have to move over and over. And, of course, we still have a group of friends that, in many ways, replaced our nuclear family. They are much of our family now.
I so miss the times of my childhood when I felt the warmth and security of my family, but I cherish the times we have now, even if mostly in our hearts. Not an hour goes by that I don't think of, and miss, my boys and families. Not a minute goes by, now, that I don't think of Kimmi and miss her so much. Into my dying days, I will always be thankful for my family and will always cherish the time spent with my family, especially my own family: Evey, Rob and Jeni, Craig and Missy with Maddie, our beautiful, beautiful little angel Kimmi, and any other grandchildren that come along. I can't wait to get to heaven and see all my family again, especially Kimmi. What a glorified reunion that will be when we all gather around Jesus and then stay together forever in eternity.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Everyone we talked to at the funeral and wake said the same thing: KIMMI WAS LOVE. She seemed to love everybody. It didn't matter if rich or poor, smart or not so, clean or dirty. She loved them, and she would be their friend. I still remember some of the characters she brought home. I about had a heart attack when she brought Larry, Darryl and Darryl home (these three reminded me of the characters on the Newhart Show, even looked as shabby as them). But, they were her friends. I wanted to commit murder when she brought another character home (high school dropout, in trouble with the law, stole from me, and used Kim in the most hateful ways. Even his family used her over and over and were never friends to her), but Kimmi considered him and his family friends. Other people came and went in her life (mostly for a selfish short while) but they were her friends even when she knew they were using her.
1 Samuel talks about a man who was an adulterer, murderer, and lousy, lousy father who raised his kids in anything but a Godly way. But, God said that "David was a man after his own heart". God made him the king of all Israel, a line that Jesus had to descend from to be legitimate.
Although I didn't always approve of Kim's ways or actions, I do know that she had that HEART OF GOD! Like Jesus, she loved the unloved, lifted up the useless, and cared for the uncared for. She'd give her last dollar to the needy, then have to borrow from us to pay bills. she'd take care of friends, then do without for a month. And, she'd never ask for the money back. Many never paid her back. She'd drive for people even when she didn't have gas money. She would always try to be a friend, even to those who didn't treat her right.
So, we weren't surprised when so many told us about her heart, her love and her friendship. Even the church staff told us that Kim's funeral attracted more people than they ever had before. With such a small family, most of them living very far away, they still came; many flying thousands of miles. We expected about 75 people, but over 250 came. These were her friends, the ones that she loved over the years.
How did so many people love her so much. It was her HEART OF GOD and her LOVE for others that brought people from all over the Omaha area to say "Goodbye" to a precious angel from heaven.
Kim's real friends (those who stayed with her when she was sick or in the hospital) were Bambi, Shawna, Paul, Mike, and Holly much of the time. Never saw the other 'friends', especially that family, when Kimmi needed friends! It was when she was sick at home or in the hospital that she really needed friends, but most of those times it was just her family and her pets (Prince, Millie, and Peanut) that kept her company.
Bambi was there when Kim was younger, but moved away. Paul was a godsend. He was the only man who would love Kimmi back the way she loved him. He filled a major part in her life. They wanted to marry and have children, but it was impossible because of her medical condition and mainly for insurance reasons. Mike was there many times when nobody else was, Holly was there many times, and dear sweet Shawna. Shawna was ALWAYS there for her friend. They were BEST Friends.
When I wake up I think to myself another day to get through. Always thinking about the things I dont have. Sometimes I feel so alone and that no one would understand. The only thing that keeps me sane sometimes is the fact that I know there are people that will help me and be there. When I feel really down I think about the fact that I have a nice place to live and great parents that would do anything for me. I take it for grantid but not everyone has that. Id probably be in a shelter somewhere if it werent for them. I just pray that things get better with me so I can move on with my llife instead of feeling like Im stuck and everyone around me is moving as Im standing still.
By The Riedel Family (2001)
Kimberly (Kim) is our third child. She has two older brothers, both of whom are healthy. However, her mother's little brother died of Cystinosis in 1954, before they knew what it was. She was diagnosed with Cystinosis at 9 months. The doctors told us to take our little baby home to die, but gave us a very slim hope with a new experimental drug that might retard her disease.
This medicine (Cystagon) showed promise, but had severe side effects, including death. We chose to fight for our daughter's life and have never regretted it. Kim had a very difficult time with her Cystagon, which only came in a liquid form that tasted and smelled like sulfur. The Cystagon caused Kim to have severe stomach problems, and she was sick much of her early life. She usually vomited up her medicines, but kept enough down to keep her alive. For several years, we had to be quite creative in getting her to take the medicine that she hated so much. The medicine also made her food taste terrible. To this day, she has a strong dislike for milk, fruits, and vegetables, but has a strong craving for very salty foods.
She spent a large part of her early years in the hospital, at the doctor's office, and sick in bed. We never knew when she would get sick, but it happened often. However, there were many good days to go with the bad. A great deal of her hospital stays was the result of complete dehydration, and it was extremely difficult to put IVs into her tiny veins. Her Cystinosis also seemed to make her somewhat lethargic most of the time.
Kim started Kindergarten at age 5, but was a bit behind her classmates because of delayed speech clarity. They thought she'd need several years of therapy, but by the next year she had matured quite a bit. She was also slower, academically, than the other children. We held her back in 1st grade because of physical and educational maturity. We (and she) have never regretted it. She believes that if she'd been passed on, she'd have been behind the rest of her life and is very thankful that we held her back. Kim was extremely shy in school and around adults. She is still the same way today, having a great fear of being in front of a crowd. However, around family and friends, she is quite the lively button, usually the leader in doing ornery things.
At age 10, her kidneys failed. She went on peritoneal dialysis for 14 months. She did quite well with it, but hated to be hooked up to that machine for 12 hours every night. Of course, our family spent a lot of time in the bedroom. After testing both parents, the doctors decided that her father was the best match for a transplant. So, in April 1992, Kim got a new kidney and a whole bunch of new medicines, with their associated side effects - the main one being the puffiness from Prednizone. As time went by, the dosages decreased, and she started to have a more normal life. We were hoping for some growth after her transplant, but it was slow in coming and very little. When Kim was in Jr. High, we noticed she was having a very difficult time academically. She worked extremely hard, but was lagging farther behind. Specialized testing revealed that Kim had some learning disabilities. With more problems, this determined young lady kept fighting. She had to take some special education classes, which she hated because they were so boring. As difficult as things got, she kept working and started improving.
Socially, Kim was a normal teenager who did everything with her friends, with some physical limitations of course. She loves to go shopping and buy new clothes and she likes to tell us about all the "really cute" guys she meets. She also maintained a part-time job, earning enough to buy her own car and pay her own insurance; on top of her regular teen spending. But, she knew that the job would end if the grades suffered.
In November 1998, Kim began having symptoms similar to when her original kidneys failed. After a biopsy, it was determined that the new kidney was failing. After a prolonged illness, the doctors decided that her kidney needed to be removed and she needed to go back on dialysis. After a week in the hospital, she started on home dialysis, doing manual exchanges, which gave her a great deal more freedom. Because of hospital time, Kim had to go to summer school to stay on schedule and graduate with her class. She really worked hard to keep up, and found herself excelling. Since Kim spent so much of her life in hospitals, she had it in heart to become a nurse and help other children. She always wanted to be like the nurses in the children's ward at the hospital, playing nurse a great deal of the time. In high school, career testing helped Kim decide to become a medical assistant, with a possible future in nursing if everything gets better. She started searching for a school and scholarships. She started school at the Omaha College of Health Careers shortly before graduation, and has been going to school ever since, expecting to graduate in February 2002.
Kim has been on dialysis for 2 ½ years, and is still waiting for a transplant. She continues to live each day to the fullest, enjoying every minute of it, while still having some bad days. We firmly believe she will be a great medical assistant, and one day may still become a nurse. With her experience, we are sure she will be of great help to many children (and their parents) as they struggle with illnesses. Knowing what the patient is going through is a gift that healthy people can't understand. And having an understanding ear is sometimes more important than having all the answers. Kim is 4'5" and 85 pounds. Although she is very conscious of her size and has to endure a great deal of ridicule because of it, she keeps her head held high maintains a great attitude. She gets stopped by the police quite often while driving because of her size and young looks. We're sure many Cystinosis patients know that feeling!
We are very thankful for all the doctors, research people, parents, volunteers, pharmaceutical companies, and all the children who work together as a team, searching for a cure for this devastating disease. We are extremely proud of Kimberly for all of her accomplishments, and for overcoming so many obstacles in her way. We are also extremely grateful for the scholarships she's gotten, especially the LYNN POTTS SCHOLARSHIP. To receive a scholarship from those who know her difficulties, personally, makes her award so much more special. We know that Kim will use this gift to bless many more children in the future, as they struggle with their illnesses. Most of all, we are thankful for our heavenly Father, who holds us all in His loving arms. We believe he sustains Kim, strengthens her, and gives her the courage to continue fighting through all her difficulties. Thank You, The Riedel Family
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Yes, I thought about Kimmi many times, but memories were good ones. Thank you, Lord, for giving us peace today. Also, thanks to Craig, Missy and Maddie for keeping us busy. We talked about Kimmi, but we kept it all positive and happy. Also talked with Robby for quite awhile. I sure wish he didn't live so far away!
I am so glad that we have so many happy memories of Kim. Even her many times of being sick or being in the hospital leave us good memories. We always showed her our love and she always showed us her love. But, our times together were quality times. Even when she was on dialysis the first time (she was stuck in bed for 12 hours a day) we just spent most of our time in the bedroom with her. Had just as much fun there as anywhere else. We were together, and that is all that mattered.
Although we are physically separated now, she is still in our hearts and minds constantly, which helps us cope. So many people don't have the love that we had, and that would make the guilt unbearable. Kimmi, we love you so very much and miss you terribly. But, we know you would want us happy and getting on with our lives, and that also helps us cope. It was ALWAYS a pleasure knowing you and being with you. You ALWAYS made our lives valuable and fun. You are my hero. I just wish I could see you bouncing in Jesus' lap, and having all that energy and strength. Bye Baby Girl. Love you and miss you. See you later.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Yes, this statement says it all. She wrote this on her MySpace log shortly before she died. And, did she make the years count!
But, why didn't we see the "so obvious" truth? Kim was getting weaker and weaker. Her body and brain were giving out, and it really stood out like a sore thumb. So, why didn't we see it?
Looking back, I don't know how we missed it. She'd sleep for up to 16 hours at a time the last 6 months. Even when awake, she'd stay in bed for hours. She avoided the light more and more the past few months. After dialysis, she'd drop on her chair and be down for hours. And, most of all, even the slightest activity (mashing potatos or emptying the dishwasher) would leave her totally drained.
Kimmi was so strong on the outside, but hid it from us so we wouldn't worry. As much pain as she was in, she still managed to hide it from us completely. But, that is the way she always was. Instead of complaining, she always showed a positive look. When we'd ask if she was sick, she'd just tell us she was a bit tired. Never let us worry!
Her driving got worse and worse. After her passing, we realized that she could barely keep her eyes open, holding onto a very small squint to see the road. She'd eat less and less good food, but piled on the sugar, especially the Puppy Chow. It seemed that she needed extra energy to just function. So, why didn't we see it?
Other than a little lonliness, the day went really well, at least until we were on our way back. We stopped at a Texas Roadhouse to eat (one of the places we enjoyed with Kimmi). But, it was ok until we were served the rolls. I grabbed one to butter it, and it hit me square in the head. Along came the tears and the complete emptiness and grief. I immediately thought of Kimmi "buttering my buns". She always put the butter on my roll for me. Now she will never do it again! I started crying and rushed to the restroom to hide my tears. I didn't want to ruin the day for anyone. I felt tremendous loneliness the rest of the night, but did my best to hide it. I started thinking about all the things she did, or we did together, and it left me empty. Lord, please give me peace so I can enjoy life again.
For years, especially the past 2 years, we couldn't go to visit the boys, take a vacation, or do anything else without taking Kimmi along. We could never allow ourselves to leave her alone, even though she insisted she'd be ok, because we'd never know when she'd go from being ok to passing out in minutes. But, if she wasn't feeling good (most of the time), we just stayed at home with her. I always felt guilty because I felt we were ignoring the boys to take care of Kim. I think they felt hurt by us not visiting them, and even felt jealous of Kim because we built our lives completely around her. They just didn't understand, but they do now! They didn't realize how sick Kimmi was most of the time and how we could never leave out of fear that something would happen. It hurt that we couldn't go to visit them, but there was no way we could leave her.
Now that Kimmi passed away, we are "free" to do things and go places without worry. FREE? How free can we be when our baby girl is dead, and it took her death to free us up to do things. The entire drive to Craigs, I felt guilty because we were going to enjoy ourselves at her expense. How could we enjoy anything knowing she had to die to give us that freedom? How could we ever enjoy ourselves when we didn't have her to share our joy with? And, how could we ever enjoy ourselves when we missed her so very much?
So, the trip was a very long and sad. I don't think 10 minutes went by without me thinking of her, missing her, and feeling guilty about leaving her. We were happy to see Craig, Missy and Maddie, and think about a few days away, but I felt so lonely, so empty not having Kimmi with us. Will I ever get over these feelings? Will I ever be able to enjoy anything again, knowing I will be doing it at her expense? The Lord gave me peace with her death, but now I need peace with this empty feeling and with this guilt of ever being happy or having fun knowing that it took her death to give us that freedom!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I wanted to start this right away, but didn't have the courage. It hurt too much, especially thinking about her last week. Did she suffer? Did she have any brain activity? Did she panic in the OR? If she did, why didn't the doctors recognize it earlier before brain damage was done? It hurts to think that she suffered in the OR, enough to cause coding, and she was all alone at the time.
I will be writing this blog to honor this very special "hero" of mine. Ever since she was very young, she was courageous with her weak body. She took everything that came her way, but kept her sense of humor, kept her great attitude, kept up her fight, and kept smiling that most beautiful smile. She was a warrior until the end, protecting mom and dad from the truth of her pain.
The doctors say she had no brain activity from the beginning, but I know better. That first night, whenever I'd talk to her while holding her hand, her BP would go up and SHE'D SQUEEZE MY FINGER. Sometimes, she'd open her eyes and look right at me. The damage must have been completed that night because she never responded after that. Dear Lord, I hope she never suffered that first night. I still wonder how much she suffered before she coded, and if she suffered after she coded. I always feared her being lost and crying out for her daddy to help her. Even dreamed it many times. Then, when she needed us in the OR, we weren't there! She was alone. How much did she panic before she coded? How much did she suffer? Why didn't the doctors recognize her actions as the beginning of a heart attack? Why didn't they respond more quickly?
In hindsight, I am relieved that she died the way she did. From her writings and from statements of her friends, I learned that Kim had been suffering quite a bit for several months. Her brain was starting to fail and she was having trouble thinking clearly. The neurologist verified it when he said she had the brain of an old person; not soft and pliable like a person her age. She could barely see while driving. She never told me or Evey. She kept it from us so we wouldn't worry about her. She loved us so much that she kept her pain a secret so we wouldn't worry. I am so glad that she didn't have to suffer a long drawn-out death, slowly wasting away in severe pain. And, Kimmi wanted to protect us from having to see her suffer. But, why did she have to suffer at all?
I don't know if I will ever be able to allow a child to hold my finger again. Maybe time will heal this and I can let it go, but for now I can't handle it.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
RIEDEL – Kimberly Michelle, age 27 of Papillion, passed peacefully from her home into the arms of Jesus on March 3, 2009 surrounded by family and close friends. She was born June 1, 1981. Preceded in death by grandparents Art and Thelma Riedel, Irby Fisher and Albina Birney and aunt Linda Howard. Left to honor her memory are parents, Robert and Evelyn Riedel of the home, brother Robert Riedel Jr. and wife Jennifer of Durham, England, brother Craig Riedel and wife Melissa of Davenport, Iowa with niece Madison Emmerich, many special friends, including Paul Velasquez and Shawna Spracklin, uncles, aunts, cousins, and her treasured puppy Millie. Kim fought a lifelong courageous battle against the genetic disorder Cystinosis, accepting her disease with maturity way beyond her years. She impacted many lives with her gentle spirit and compassion for all people. She will be greatly missed and recently quoted “Love is not a matter of counting the years, but making the years count.” Her story is shared on http://www.cystinosisfoundation.org/ under “People and Pictures.” Kim was an advocate of organ and tissue donation.
FUNERAL SERVICE Glad Tidings Church Friday at 10:30. VISITATION Thursday, Open from 3-8 with family from 6-8 pm at Westlawn Hillcrest 5701 Center St 556-2500. Memorials to National Cystinosis Foundation or Mid-America Boston Terrier Rescue.
Dear Loved Ones,
I am sorry for the cutting things so close for travelers, but Friday is the only day available this week, and Monday was just too long to wait.
Kim's funeral is tentatively scheduled for Friday at 10:30, but will definitely be Friday morning between 10 and 11. Visitation will be Thursday evening at 7 or 8, don't know yet. Dinner will follow the funeral.
Memorials to The National Cystinosis Foundation or the Boston Terrier Rescue Network, one of Kim's favorite projects, will be appreciated.
For travelers, our children will be setting up a local hotel, and will let you know ASAP.
Dear Loved Ones,
Our little Baby Girl went home to Jesus today at 4:45. We brought her home to be in her own home, in her own bed with her pillow, her blanket, and her baby Millie, and with all of her family. She blessed us every day, even in the way she left us for her trip home to be with her first love.
Kimmy passed away very peacefully, and she looks so beautiful and precious laying in her bed. She looks so comfortable, and even has a faint smile.
We will let you know funeral arrangements sometime tomorrow. Please pray for us, especially her mother Evelyn; that we will have peace in this time of sorrow and great joy that she is sitting in the lap of Jesus right now and learning all the fantastic wonders in heaven.
IN HIS NAME
Sadly, this was the day we feared. They did an MRI on Kim's head. The news was all bad. Just about her entire brain sustained damage the day of the surgery; both sides, front and back, inner and outer. Don't really know why she is still living. But the doctor said she doesn't feel pain and does not suffer. THANK GOD!
We didn't talk to the neurosurgeon today, but the Intensive Care Surgeon. Tomorrow, the neurosurgeon will sit down with us and explain our options. We were also told that Kim had a very old brain. In that, I mean that a woman her age would have a soft, pliable brain. But Kim's brain was dried up, showing areas of prolonged wear. This was not from the brain injury, but from many years of wear. That is probably why she would get so tired from doing the most minor of things.
We will not allow her body to suffer anymore, so will allow her to go home with Jesus, where she belongs anyway.
We will still pray for a miracle tonight, Jesus is still in the miracle business, but will prepare for the day we always feared.
ALL WEEK LONG I'VE BEEN PRAYING FOR HEALING, BUT ALSO FOR PEACE OF MIND AND COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE THAT MY BABY GIRL WOULD REST IN JESUS' ARMS. I READ SCRIPTURE AFTER SCRIPTURE, AND PRAYED OVER AND OVER FOR KNOWLEDGE THAT SHE WOULD BE WITH JESUS IN HEAVEN.
I got my confirmation from Kim's friend today. Another friend of hers passed away 2 weeks ago. Kim and Shauna were talking about it when Kim said that she didn't understand it, but she felt a complete peace with her own life. Asked to explain, Kim said that she was going to heaven, and that she would talk to Jesus about saving a place for Shauna. Kim must have known deep inside that this was about to happen. That is all I needed to know to make my heart dance with joy. My baby girl had peace with death for her body, and knew that she would be alive in her spirit. If I have to lose my baby, I have complete peace of mind and spirit knowing this little bundle of love is resting in Jesus' lap. Oh, thank God!!!!
This has been the absolutely worst 3 days of my life, but also the best 3 days of my life. I give everything to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has blessed us so much these past 27 years with Kim, and He continues to bless us every moment of every day. His loving mercy in a time of crisis, his gentleness whether we are in pain or even downright mad at Him for something we don't understand and His wonderful patience while we may not always be trusting in Him fully keeps me in complete awe at all times.
Yesterday was much harder than Tuesday. Kim made it through the night, but we don't know how. We were hoping for her future , but considering her funeral. Nothing the doctors told us gave us any hope. She coded (heart failure) for over 15 minutes, and they had no idea if she got any oxygen to her brain during that time. All we could do is wait.
Wednesday afternoon, Tim (our nurse) got concerned about her left leg. It was swelling and blood streaks were forming. They did an ultrasound and found a major blood clot. The vascular surgeon came up and told me that they needed to do a very serious and dangerous surgery to relieve the pressure on her leg and eliminate the clot. He also told me that there was a very good possibility that she would have to have her leg amputated above the knee. No time to consider.
What made this worse is her previous 3 surgeries having problems, with her coding the last two. Would she even make it to surgery or would she code right away like the last two? All we could do was pray and call family and friends to pray. We had no choice but to put our precious baby into the hands of her surgeons and of God (God would guide the hands of her surgeons).
Her surgery was supposed to take 2 hours. It took 7! Her doctor had worked since 5 a.m., and was just starting with her at 5 p.m. What they needed to do was cut her leg muscles (possibly all the way from top to bottom) to relieve the pressure on her artery. They also needed to get the clot out and, hopefully find the cause of the clot. After 2 hours, we learned that they got her arterial catheter done; hadn't even started on surgery. Then another 2 hours, she was still doing fine. Her blood pressure was good, and doctors working hard. Then another 2 hours later they expected it to take 2 more.
Finally her surgeon came out. Good news and bad news. They found, and repaired the source of the clot (in putting in her arterial in her vein Tuesday, they accidentally also poked it through her artery causing blood blockage and the clot. Then they started to cut her muscles to relieve the pressure on her artery. They kept her open looking for any other problems, and sewed her up.
When the doctor came out, he was completely exhausted (19 hours of surgery with a huge mess the last 7). ALL HE COULD DO WAS THANK US. YES, THANK US FOR ALL OUR PRAYERS. HE SPECIFICALLY SAID THAT HE FELT GOD DIRECTING HIS HANDS AND SHOWING HIM EVERYTHING HE NEEDED TO DO. HE KNEW THAT IT WAS PRAYER THAT HELPED HIM SUCCEED. THIS WAS DEFINITELY A MAN OF GOD TRUSTING GOD TO GUIDE HIM! WITHOUT THAT, HE SAID HE COULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS ONE!
Kim is back in her room, but still in extremely serious condition. How would she do through the night? And we still didn't know about brain injury. They were to do a CAT Scan of her lungs and head overnight.
The next morning (today) Kim looked 100% better. She was cleaned up, bandages were clean, and they got this awful thing out of her mouth (forcing it open for ventilator line). But, we still needed to wait for results of her CAT Scan. If bad, they'd have to disconnect her, if good, we'd wait to see if she'd wakes up.
They found bleeding between her skull and brain, but not sure how much. After several hours they determined that the bleeding was very minimal, but still a concern.
WE LEARNED LATER THAT 3 LADIES FROM OUR CHURCH WOKE UP AT 3 A.M. WITH AN INTENSE DESIRE TO PRAY FOR KIM. THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHY, BUT PRAYED (KIM'S CAT SCAN WAS AT 3 A.M.).
When I left at 5 today, Kim was STIRRING! SHE WAS BREATHING ON HER OWN! SHE WAS LOOKING MUCH BETTER, ESPECIALLY WITH THE SWELLING OF HER HEAD ALMOST ALL THE WAY DOWN. They had to strap her down so she wouldn't try to pull out her ventilator line. Now, we just need her to wake up, so we can see how she is doing!
ISN'T GOD WONDERFUL? HE GIVES US HIS MERCY, PATIENCE, AND LOVE. HE GUIDES THE DOCTOR'S HANDS. HE MAKES THE CAT SCAN TURN OUT GOOD. AND, HE GIVES US CONSTANT HOPE, EVEN WHEN WE ARE ABOUT TO GIVE UP!
Well, we still need her to wake up, then we need to get her home. Her little puppy has been crying, yes crying tears for her mommy. When we walk in, she is jumping for joy, but then she immediately goes back to the door to find her mommy. So precious!
Please keep praying that she wakes up and improves tremendously and quickly. She still needs to do the fistula surgery if all goes well and she wakes up, but that will be in a while I suspect. Doctors still need to know why she coded the last 2 times.
Thank you all for your prayers and concerns. Just think, to have thousands of people all over the country praying for our little girl. No wonder she got better!