Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Friend Kim

As you all know, we have just come out of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I did a couple of posts highlighting this very important cause. Well I am like many of you now. I have lost someone who was so dear to me, to this horrible beast of a disease. It has taken me several days to come here and write about this, because I just didn’t know what to say. It was like I was in a state of shock, but it was a shock that I knew was a possibility, and yet I didn’t want to entertain the thought of it all turning out this way. I didn’t feel like I knew how to honor my friend and do her justice with my words. Then I decided that her advice to me would be, “Girl, just say what you feel” :-) So I will just say it simply…I’m gonna miss her so much.

My friend’s name was Kim. We were former co-workers who shared some great laughs and camaraderie in the office. We both worked for a corporation in downtown Atlanta. We worked in the Sales Department and she was one of the managers in the department. From the beginning she was always cool. On my first day, I was introduced to her and she said, “Welcome” and then we both laughed because we saw a resemblance. We both have sort of heart shaped faces and we just looked like we could be relatives. She looked sort of like one of my cousins does. So from that day on, she would walk past my cubicle and say something or she would stop and talk.

My best memories of her are her coming in in the mornings and saying, “Ohhh, I need my ‘cawfeee’ (coffee)”. Kim had the most wonderful New York accent and to my Southern ears, in its difference, it was music to my ears :-) I love to do impressions, so one day I parroted her morning line to her as she walked by my desk before she could say it and we both laughed. I created a monster though…after that she wanted me to do it all the time :-) She added one time though that I didn’t have enough of a Southern accent for her to mimic, so when we were kidding around, I would thicken my accent up for her pleasure :)

Kim’s other favorite thing besides coffee was chocolate. So around that 3pm slump that we all get, she would come by my desk and ask if I had any chocolate. Sometimes I did and I would load her up with whatever I had. At Halloween and Christmas, I would go by her office and we would trade off candy. It was great :-) But we would remedy any chocolate droughts by going to hit up the vending machines in one of the break rooms. As time progressed she started to collect spare change in a metal tin on her desk, and at nearly 3pm on the dot, she would come along rattling the tin. I’d hear her before I even saw her and then this voice would say, “Let’s go get some chocolate.” I’d take along my own money, but she would often just say, “Hey, I’m buying.” She was just a cool lady, like a big sister. She was great, not because she bought me candy…she was just a friend to me and I so appreciated her.

Kim was one of the higher-ups, but she never played that game with me. She respected me and I respected her. Even though we were in different groups within the department, she would call me into her office to brainstorm with her. Whenever she was writing something up she would always call me to her office with the enticement of chocolate :-) She didn’t need to entice me though because it felt good knowing that she trusted my judgment and skills. It felt good to be valued. And here’s the thing that shows what kind of woman Kim was, she would tell other higher-ups that I had helped her or let her boss know. I think the true strength of character is shown when people know that their strength comes from not only doing well themselves, but also from not feeling threatened by sharing the light with another and knowing that there is power in standing together. That was Kim. She even encouraged me to write for the newsletter for a time. She was always a cheerleader :-)

On many Friday afternoons, nearing the end of my time there, we would sit in her office and talk about what the future held. I was engaged to Brit Boy and was preparing to leave soon. She would say, “Lemme see that picture of you and that cute fella of yours.” I would go and get it and she would say, “Look at that, you all got matching dimples.” Then she would say, “Be happy girl…you deserve it.”

Kim said that she had dreams for the future too. She always wanted to do something to help girls to be strong in this world. She had wanted to do something that would help girls and others through mentoring and other services. She said that when she retired she would love to get a grant to set something up. Then she added, “I’m gonna look you up whether you’re in England or not. I need you to brainstorm with me and write up me a grant proposal.” I would laugh and say, “Kim, you need a grant writer for that, somebody who knows their stuff.” And she’d say, “I trust you to work it out.” I choke up when I remember that. Kim was what we all need in this world…someone who believes in us in spite of everything and will tell us so whenever we need it. So I told her that I’d be there for her when she called, and I fully meant that, no matter how out of my depth I felt :-) She had been there for me countless times and I was gonna be there for her whenever that call came.

I left that December, nearly three years back now and she left there that January. She got another job in North Carolina that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We both went off into the next chapter of our lives. I always had it in my mind that we would see each other again. I figured that one day I was gonna drive on up to North Carolina, drop in on her and say, “Kim, where’s the chocolate and ‘cawfeee’?"

Then about a year later, I found out that she had breast cancer and even though I know it is a terrible diagnosis, we always have to have hope, you know. So I sent her a card and letter to let her know that I was in her corner and gave her an additional email address to contact me and I prayed.

Well, as the last few days of October ticked away, Kim passed away. She fought the good fight til the end. She was laid to rest yesterday. I wasn’t able to go back for the funeral, but in a quiet moment, I thought of her. And as the sun set and I looked out the window at the clouds, I waved her off and I was proud to have known her and to have called her my friend. People like her come into your life to teach you and I learned a lot about the kind of person that I want to be. I will value her friendship forever…a friend who believed in me.

24 comments:

DJ said...

That was a lovely tribute to your friend and I'm sorry for your loss.

Dori said...

DJ,
Thanks. She was great and I'm glad I could share her great spirit with everyone.

Elizabeth Harper said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know what it's like to get such sad news and not be able to attend the service.

Kim sounds like she was a good person and a good friend.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Oh, Dori! I'm so sorry to hear this. It just sucks that cancer gets the good people.

Mountain Woman said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Kim's death. It's just so terrible when the people we know and love die. It leave such an empty spot in our lives. Your tribute to your friendship was absolutely beautiful.
Thank you for all you do to bring awareness to breast cancer.
I'll be thinking about you and Kim as I go through my days.

Lidian said...

I am so so sorry for your loss. That was such a beautiful tribute to your friend.

Thinking of you...

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

Oh, thank you for sharing. Isn't it wonderful to have someone touch your life the way she did? I am so sorry to hear about your loss and can completing understand how you feel. I lost a friend that I worked with two years ago in October to cancer and while we had hope it was obviously a possibility that she would succumb.

We have to love our sisterfriends hard because you never know when they may be gone.

Ivanhoe said...

I'm so sorry about your friend, Dori. You wrote about her wonderfuly. It sounds like she was a great lady. I sure would like to have somebody like that in my life. Hang in there, girl :o)

Anne said...

Oh my gosh, I am so sorry for your loss. That must have been so difficult to write since it was so recent. I hope remembering your times together was able to bring you some comfort in your grief.

Jacqueline said...

Dori,
That was really touching. I hope at least one person find me as worthy to write about in such a loving and thoughtful way when I'm gone. This is such a beautiful tribute.

Sorry for such a great loss.

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

What a nice story! She believe in you and maybe you reminded some woman somewhere to get herself to her annual appointment.

alicia
http://todaystyle.today.com/

Gypsy at Heart said...

As you believed in her. I'm sure she knew and appreciated your support Dori. I'm sorry for your loss and I just wanted to tell you what a lovely tribute this was. Thank you for introducing Kim to us.

Ane Fallarme said...

I'm so sorry for your loss... it's always hard to lose someone that you care about, whether they died or not, it's hard to lose people, period. She'd be happy knowing that you remember her this way and that she has touched your life in a good way... your post made me cry and made me realize that maybe i need to forgive and move past differences with someone before it's too late... thanks for sharing your story... :)

Cricket said...

I am so sorry for this loss. What a beautiful way to remember her. She will forever be in your heart when you need her.

You are in my thoughts.

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I am sorry to hear this-she sounds like she was an incredible person and what a lovely tribute to her on your blog. I got tears in my eyes reading this.

betchai said...

i am sorry to hear about your loss. what a wonderful story you have written for her, a tribute filled with love, she really seemed a wonderful person.

Also, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

Mike Golch said...

Your friend sounds like she was full of life.It is sad to think that she died the way she did.
I am truely sorry for the loss of your friend.
I to have been touched by someone who breast cancer took away as well. My Grandma Hellen was taken by that cancer in her 70,s in 1981.I cannot remember how old she was now.All I know is that I lover her and miss her still.

Jennifer said...

You really brought your friend to life in this vivid and fresh portrait. It really is a fine tribute. I'm sorry, Dori.

Dori said...

Elizabeth,
Thanks so much for your kind thoughts :-) Kim was a swell person and she was indeed a good friend.

Susan,
Yes,cancer does take away so many great people. I just pray that a cure comes within our lifetime.

Mountain Woman,
I'm so glad that you liked my tribute to Kim. I just hoped that I could do her memory proud :-) This cause will always be close to my heart and thank you for visiting me.

Lidian,
Thanks so much...all of this support means so much to me :)

Renee,
It is great to have that kind of connection and it's true that we must love the ones close to us while they are here.

Ivanhoe,
I'm glad that I got across just how Kim was. She was great. Thanks so much for the support my buddy :)

Anne,
Thanks so much for visiting me. It was hard to write, but as the words poured out, it got easier and I felt a weight lift. I hadn't cried about Kim until the day I wrote this. I had a delayed reaction. As I wrote these loving words about my friend, my spirit lifted. I will miss her, but I'm glad I told the world about her :)

Jacqueline,
Thanks my friend. I'm glad that you also liked what I wrote. It was from the heart and I'm so glad I could share my memories with you all :)

Alicia,
Oh, that would be my greatest hope that women and men also, would keep up with checking themselves and having their annual check-ups. That is one of the things I love about blogging...spreading the word.

Gypsy at Heart,
Thank you. Kim was great and I'm glad that I could share a bit about her. I was there for her and she was certainly there for me. I will always remember her influence on my life :)

Ane Fallarme,
Thank you. And you made me want to cry in return, because you said my post inspired you to forgive someone in your life. That touched me so deeply and just made me feel the power of each of us helping one another. I wish you every happiness :-)

Cricket,
You are right, I will always hear Kim in my ear urging me on whenever I think I might not be up to something :) Thanks so much.

Health Nut Wannabee Mom,
I'm so glad that I could share a friend like Kim here. She was a good friend to me during a challenging stretch of my life. Thanks for always stopping by and caring :)

Betchai,
Thank you. Kim was great and I'm glad that I could write this tribute to her and share it here :)

Mike,
Kim was indeed full of life...she loved life and I try to remember her example everyday. Thank you so much for your support my friend. And you are right, no matter how long it has been we always miss those we love. I miss my parents everyday. I'm just glad to have the memories always :)

Jennifer,
It means a lot to me that my tribute came across so well. I just wanted to convey some of what made her special. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the support :-)

BK said...

... I know that she will be living forever in your heart and she will never be far away; you have learnt from her and will continue her positive and kind-loving spirit and her positive and kind-loving spirit will continue to live in us too, as we learned from your writing about her.

Dori said...

BK,
You are right...I think we always carry the influence of those special people who have touched our lives with us always :)

Jenny Fletcher said...

Sending big hugs to you Dori - your description of your friend is so heartwarming and sad. I lost a friend this way recently too. Dee Munday fought 3 bouts of cancer, starting with breast cancer and died in October. I'm keeping the Breast Cancer site link right up there at the top of both my blogs. If doing that tiny simple thing, and clicking every day myself, helps just one woman to find a tumour early and beat it permanently it will be worthwhile.

Ann said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. What a wonderful post about someone who sounds like she was a great person.

Dori said...

Jenny,
Thank you so much. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend too. I had decided like you that I would keep my breast cancer site link up top too. We are our sister's keeper...and taking care of each other is the way to go :-)

Ann,
Thank you and I'm so glad that I could share Kim's memory with everyone :-)