The receiving line at Kim’s wake was filled with people who knew her in so many different ways.
They wanted to tell me how sorry they were.
I wanted to hear a story about Kim from them.
So many of them shared great moments.
Others I shared moments back. I wanted to show them that I knew about them even though I’d never met them. That Kim had talked about them at home. That they were important enough to her to tell me the stories and that was enough that I remembered.
One woman from work said “I’m Sabrina, I used to buy Girl Scout cookies from Kim.” And I told her that that was so important to Kim that for the last eight years Maggie wasn’t even in Girl Scouts and Kim would go get a form and get the cookies to sell her for a local troop.
Our auto mechanic came and wrapped his arms around me and asked “whose going to give me hugs?” When I would drop my car off at their shop, Kim would come by to pick me up and drive me home and would always get out of her car to give Kenny a big hug. His daughter is buried not far from ours. Kim is moving in to their neighborhood.
Maggie and Elena’s first grade teacher hugged me and said, “If you wanted to see me you could have invited me over for a meal. Not this.” Other teachers and administrators from the Shaker Schools came through not believing this had happened. Not believing Maggie would have to face another huge loss.
The husband of one of her childhood friends told me a story about when they used to go water skiing. Before Kim and I met she and her friends used to go out on the water almost every weekend. (I worry that Kim had way less fun after we met than before, but that’s for another day.)
At the end of the day when they were putting the boat away, they would have to cover it with some sort of a tarp. Rick said that because she was short she was the one that had to do a particular task and that week after week when she was doing that, he would snap the tarp down with her inside.
I can picture her mad but not mad. It’s a gift of a moment that I never got to see that now I can imagine forever. Thank you for these stories.
Kim’s cousins, her childhood friends, family friends, my family, co-workers, former co-workers, and neighbors came through the line for four hours. We shared hugs and thoughts and stories.
People offered to bring food.
Really, I love to cook and I’m only cooking for one starting Saturday.
What I’d like you to bring are stories. Tell me a story about Kim that I don’t know. Tell me a story about Kim that I do know.
Don’t just tell me the cleaned up version to respect her memory. You can tell me about her when she was being sarcastic, angry, irreverent, or playful. I love the ones where she was being sweet, funny, goofy as well.
What can you bring me?
I was looking ahead ten years to the time when Kim and I would have been together longer than we’d been apart. I’m optimistic and romantic that way.
But this means that she died and I knew her for less than half her life. That’s a lot of stories people can tell me. Even during the twenty-four years we were together, she did a lot of living when I wasn’t there to see it.
Tell me stories.
Email them to me. Text them to me. Write them down old-school. Tell them to me in person.
Tell me stories about Kimmy.
A lasagna lasts a week.
A story lasts a life time and connects the teller to me through Kim.