Nine years. Now it's been 9 years. I've been "widowed" longer than I was married. And I was thinking recently that this past November, just a few months ago, was when I met Kim 20 years ago. My gosh! Time really does fly and it seems to do so exponentially faster the older we get.
I think I've written something every year on this "anniversary". A friend sort of intimated a few days ago that I need to "move on" with my life. I think she missed the point: I have moved on, but this week is never going to pass for me without notice and I wouldn't want it to.
When I was in Mississippi this past Christmas going through mementos and such I ran across the Eulogy my friend Margaret wrote and read at Kim's funeral. Margaret was as much or more Kim's friend as she was mine. She was one of my "ace" youth workers when I was a Student Minister in Gulfport but she was also one of Kim's co-workers at Memorial Hospital.
I don't know how many of you have ever been in a position to plan a funeral. It's stressful with lots of snap decisions. I drove home from the hospital where Kim died in the wee hours of a Sunday morning and after taking a nap I had to notify the funeral home and write an obituary for the newspaper. Later that day I had to go to the funeral home and pick-out a casket and all the trimmings.The next day I had to arrange for the burial site. Then I had to choose Pall Bearers and others who would be involved in the service including asking someone to provide the Eulogy. Regardless of stress involved, I can look back and know with certainty that I made the right choice in asking Margaret to perform that difficult task. Here's what she wrote:
Kim White- one of the most unique, one-of-a-kind, loving young ladies that I have every personally known. I truly hope that this community, this church, her hospital and her entire family know that they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have someone of her caliber...walking in our midst.
Kim could have so easily whined, or felt sorry for herself or even have been bitter. She could have been consumed with her health problems- I am afraid I would have been had we exchanged bodies. Instead she never brought her sickness or health problems to light unless others pursued or forced the conversation. It makes me feel like a sissy- when I think of what she did with such significant issues. About a year and half ago Clinton and Kim moved into a new home. Some of us from church and her family worked together for a week or so painting and getting their home ready to move into. I can remember begging Kim to take it easy, to sit it out for a while. She basically gave me, in just a few words, that she wanted to be working. She was a very bright girl, who happened to have Cystic Fibrosis her entire life and who just happened to be a nurse. She knew the things taking place in her body, the affect of the anti-rejection meds on her entire system. The possibility of rejection; and she let me know- life IS FOR THE LIVING. She changed out her IV drips running through her PICC line and then would pick back up the roller and paint harder than the rest of us. WITHOUT A BEAT- she had so much experience multi-tasking. Taking care of herself and living a full life. This is a huge part in credit to you- Mr and Mrs Batey, and Mary. You raised her up and supported her in a way that did not lend to her feeling or acting as if she had a disability, but instead she felt special, beloved, and protected by her family. She was so happy to have moved closer to her parents. She loved you all so much.
Kim was a great nurse. Bob and I actually experienced her intense TLC after one of his bad seizures. She knew how to get to the heart of your fears, give comfort, give skills and much compassion. She put a very intelligent mind, together with a huge heart and mixed in some really great clinical skills. The nurses that worked with Kim in Cardiac Observation were devoted to Kim, and Kim to them. All through the years I have heard first hand praise for her nursing from patients and her co-workers first from 4A and then the other 9 years from Cardiac Observation. Her manager, Cindy, relayed to me that she was always concerned with the well-being of her unit. She worried to the point of calling when she was sick to make sure the staffing was covered in her absence. She constantly was concerned with her co-workers well-being. She actually called last Tuesday to the unit to check on a co-worker who had illness in their family even while she herself was very ill. But her co-workers had her back also. Recently a co-worker actually locked the door on an employee from our environmental services who was trying to come in and strip and wax the floor. She actually had no intention of letting Kim cone in contact with those fumes. AND SHE WON!
Her co-workers thought so much of her nursing, that they turned her name in to Oprah's Person of the Year contest, and WLOX's Nurse of the Year Contest. So, Kim, we all know you are OUR Nurse of the Year. We know you were an example to all of us, the perfect nurse, a role model of caring. Her peers quote her as there to help in every time of need, quiet and respectful, patient-centered, always positive. SHE WILL BE IRREPLACEABLE at Memorial, where she showed us all the CALL and TRUE ART of NURSING.
Kim and Clinton were limited in starting a family. Kim physically never bore children, BUT WAS A MOTHER TO MANY. The last 9 years God used Kim and Clinton's marriage and home to provide an open door to all who entered. She had a loving heart, provided many a quick thrown together meal for the masses. Many a taco, and barbecued burger for 2nd Sunday Fellowships, Progressive Dinners for the youth...she had a tolerance that is beyond comprehension for the interruptions that we as a church and as a youth group would constantly give her. She laughed and giggled at the Life-Size Barbies the girls left at their door that would scare here when she opened her front door. She tolerated having her home toilet-papered so the girls would know the thrill.She acted in videos depicting how the life-size Barbie we left was kidnapped and through the imaginary investigation.
The kids would give no warning, night and day, they just appeared. And she loved them so. She would drive vans, pick up food for trips, drop us off early, pick us up late.We shared long distance trips and she nursed many a youth. She gave them words of encouragement, comfort for the sad, the lonely, the mis-placed, the scared and those in need of nurturing. She has always displayed "our home is your home". Instead of having 1 or 2 children that she devoted all of her time and attention, instead she mothered hundreds of kids through the 9 year mission she had as a youth minister's wife. So, for the Emily's, the Laura's, the Monica, Jana, and Ali's, the Justin, Tyler and Ben's, the Chelsea's, Heather's and Amanda's, the Jenna's, Scott's, Chip and Anna's- they would all want me to tell you how much Kim meant to their lives and how much they loved here. And I know Kim would want them to know she loved them too.
Clinton is such a great youth minister, much of this has to do with the support he received from his wife WHO VERY MUCH LOVED AND SUPPORTED HIM. She graciously took into stride when he was called away for weeks every summer and when the kids kept his ear and attention. She did this with seemingly ease because she loved SERVING GOD and she loved her husband Clinton.
Kim could see the good in everyone. I never once heard Kim say a negative or bad word about anybody. At Church, on trips and yes, even at work. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS TO DO? I can remember thinking to myself so many times, HOW does she do it? How is one person so sweet? How can you stay so kind? So consistently? I am just sorry I never told her how she inspired me to be a better person. So Kim, I do so know. This sweet spirit and attitude led her ability to be a friend. She had several lifelong friends, friends from church and friends from work. They were loyal to her and her to them.
Clinton, Mr and Mrs Batey, Mary and all of Kim and Clinton's family- we all cry and mourn with you. We will miss her in our lives. But we also celebrate and rejoice in the knowledge that she was taken into the presence of OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST at 1:30 am on Sunday, March 12.
IN HIS PRESENCE, in a place that God has prepared for those who love him, His presence and the place he PREPARED FOR KIM, that she is now experiencing. A place in his presence that our ears have never heard, that our eyes have never seen and where our minds cannot even conceive. She is now with THE ONE who came to make all things new. Where now she is new, where she is basking in his brilliance and IN HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.
Kim, you made it count. We love you.