It was a Kim worthy event. Several hundred people gathered today, at Rincon Vista Middle school, to share breakfast, hear music, watch performances, see classic cars and visit the book fair. The cafeteria was decorated so nicely festive music playing. It was nice to see a lot of the teachers and staff that Kim had the opportunity to work with while at Rincon Vista.
The breakfast was pancakes, scrambled eggs with peppers (provided by Viro's), sausage, fruit, coffee and juice. Vito Jr. commented on how nice to see the community together, having fun, especially during the holidays. He hasn't witnessed this camaraderie outside of the Rita Ranch/Vail area.
Rincon Vista graciously provided us a table, up front, to promote Kim's cookbook, sell the "Random acts of KIMness" bracelets and hand out literature about how the funds from Kim's foundation are used to help people/families here in Tucson (special thanks to Aimee Snyder for making the yellow poster board with foundation info on it!). The Perrini family (Kirk, Alyssa and Annette) volunteered to work the table while I flipped some pancakes. Later, Tammy, Emma and Sarah LaPlant came and helped work the table until the event was over.
Annette, Vito Jr and Patti enjoying some deep discussion...
Cindy Petersen, office manager at Desert Sky Middle School, and her daughter Sarah came by to show their support. The Petersen's lived two doors down from us at our old house. Sarah and Cody have been in classes together since kindergarten and now have honors world history together (in which they speak to each other with British accents Sarah informed me this morning). Cindy was a huge help in pulling off 'A Night in Italy for Kim' in October.
Aimee Snyder spoke to us about nutrition (she was responsible for having fruit and eggs added to the breakfast!) while Lydia Crain, Principal, looks on. Cody had a blast hanging out with Lydia's son, Trevor. They had run against each other in track meets over the years. This morning, they used the wheel base from the garbage cans to ride down an embankment in the school's courtyard, careening down the slightly muddy slope as fast as they could.
Loss. We all have experienced it at some level or another. This was evident at the pancake breakfast today, as Brent Edwards, assistant principal, announced Kim's Foundation and what we were working towards. He then introduced a young man, 13, who had lost his father in the middle east war and had started a foundation in memory of his dad. The bracelets he was selling has the slogan "All gave some, some gave all". He was very courageous in telling his story and proud of the ways he is honoring his father. Next to him, was a table for Shayan Kindness foundation, set up to honor a little 7 year old who perished from a rare muscular disease. Countless people came up to me throughout the breakfast to relate their story of a family member who passed from cancer. It surrounds us, yet, I realized once again, that I always felt somewhat insulated...safe? Naive? I'm not sure what the right word is, but you know that feeling - you feel sympathy for someone when you hear about sickness or disease, but it does not exactly cross your mind that it will happen to you. So, when loss happens, it manages to sneak right up on you and WHACK!!!!!!!! You get the picture.
On our way home today, Autumn articulated her sadness for the young boy who's dad was gunned down by Afghan police and for the little girl who lost her life at the tender age of 7. She is realizing that it could be worse for our family...
I had the opportunity to speak about Kim this morning, for which I was grateful. I was able to talk about her giving spirit, never giving to get recognition or praise and how what we were doing with her foundation, was to keep her giving spirit alive. As much as I don't mind public speaking, it always gets me to speak about Kim. Perhaps because I cannot just present facts and figures - when I try to describe Kim and all she did to people who never were blessed to have met her, I know that I must go deeper to better paint the picture, with feeling, her essence...and that is when it gets me.
Fortunately, for our family, the supportive group at Rincon Vista was right there to share their stories, generosity, their prayers, their blessing, smiles, hugs and well wishes.