Crazy to think, 22 years ago when I started this gig, Obituaries were part of my job assignment.
In honesty, back then, there wasn’t much to them.
The funeral home would send over the details and I would simply type it up into our format and forward on to our editor. I was also new to the area so the names were simply that to me. Sad as it would be with each key stroke of typing there was no personal connection, which made it a bit easier.
As this business has changed so too has that responsibility. The transition quite honestly happened at a key time, as names now are much more familiar to me than they once were, which makes the reality of the finality quite hard; even in the news business.
As I sat thinking of this week’s column, the right words and this very depressing topic, I recognized how while I may not be the “obits girl” any longer, I have over the last several years used this space for exactly that – from a more personal side.
This week will be no different.
Late last week, after a summer of unknown, questions and confusion, Heaven gained another Angel and so did we. The passing of Kim Davison (aka Kimmy) is one I’m still wrapping my mind around, even as I type these words.
It wasn’t sudden in the traditional sense, yet it was too soon all the same.
We first learned of Kimmy’s cancer right in the heart of summer. As a breast cancer survivor herself, Kimmy had been one of the first who gave me a hug and reassured me all would be okay. At the time, I had no idea she too had walked this same path, many years before me.
The irony of that moment and where we ended up this summer are just plain wrong. After a life filled with love and memories with her husband, four kids and beautiful family the ugly disease returned. This time it was terminal.
Like many, we held hope that her two-month prognosis would be wrong – and it was. Almost as if she was giving us all a chance to truly prepare for what was to come, Kimmy fought hard for three months. While it was not as long as we had hoped for, final Christmas memories were a topic, it was long enough to accept this was actually real.
My connection with Kimmy (ironically) first began at the once infamous Oakdale’s Relay for Life.
It was during the heyday of this annual American Cancer Society event and without sounding boastful, it really was an event that everyone seemed to be involved in. So many touched by cancer and so many wanting to do whatever we could to help end this terrible disease.
Kimmy, along with her family were involved with a team, her brother Howie in a popular band that we all loved to rock out to during the event. It was truly one of those times in this community where one could say, “If you know, you know” and I for one am grateful that “I know.”
Years later our paths would cross again, as I became a single mom and her family, as if overnight became family to us. Her sister-in-law Michelle (aka Charlotte to me) a dear friend who would invite the kids and I over for Sunday dinner and a swim.
Still a fish out of water in navigating life with two young kids and no spouse, we went. My eyes leak as I recall how beautiful that family was to me and my two babies. Taking us in like family. The men razzing my boy and listening to all his stories, the ladies fawning over my then-little girl.
Kimmy could always be found in Michelle’s kitchen working on something or another, magically producing something on the table for us to either snack on midday or enjoy for dinner. Always smiling, joking and laughing.
Her joy was infectious and her love genuine.
To think three and a half years later I would be the one on the other side of her hospital bed is still a thought hard to fathom, yet here we are. Another life lost too soon at the hands of a merciless disease. Yet she still shined.
Sweet Kimmy, a hole has been left in your family which will remain forever more. You were the balance of the four siblings and the love your family shared was admirable. Those who knew you adored you and rightfully so.
Yet now as they say, you are no longer in pain. No longer at the mercy of medicine, nurses and doctors trying to keep you comfortable. You are at peace and we are left with the memories, how lucky we are for that. Until next time sweet friend, thank you for loving us as only you could.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.