In Memory of Kay

A Different Kind Of Christmas Tree

~~One blink of an eye.  A single flutter.   Eyelashes touching a bottom lid.  Open.  Close.  And before your eyes close a second time…

Darkness sets in.. Shadows arrive. The love of your life has been shot three times in the head.

Life changes, a family is torn apart, a world becomes reduced to something you’ve never known or imagined.

EVER.    Not in your most horrifying nightmares.

After my sister’s murder, I faced darkness directly in the face. I never turned away.  I absorbed Every.  Single.   Detail.  

Her laying powerlessly on a breathing machine.  The doctor of death giving us the news.

Brain Dead.  What does that mean?  What the hell does that mean?

The preparation.  The fucking preparation.  It never ended. The insignificant idiotic preparation.

The ironing of salmon colored shirts for the pall bearers.  Sitting with the  gray haired man discussing the ceremony. How many seats will we need?  Do you want cake or cookies?  Coffee or punch?

I don’t give a shit.

Seeing her  inside a shiny brown casket like  a shell of who she once was, something that shed its skin,  a porcelain doll.

Emptiness. Hollowness. A soul removed.

She was always beautiful.  Always the beautiful one.

I ordered the autopsy report.  I want to know, needed to know everything the son-of-a-bitch did to her.

She had a bruise on her  right arm.  She still had the remnants of a bullet  inside  her head.  She had three caesareans, a healed scar on her left ear. Brown eyes. Brown, highlighted hair.

She had been healthy until the monster shot her.  Not once, but three times to make damn sure she’d never awaken.

Then she left me.

The report said HOMICIDE on the front page.

I wrote to  the recipients who received her liver, her spleen, her lungs, her kidneys.  I sent them a lovely photo of  her in a long shimmering white dress.  I now  have that dress hanging in my closet.  The scent of perfume is gone.

Kay was our angel,” I wrote.   “She was my world.”

I wanted to know.  I wanted to see.  I needed the reality to sink into what was left of my being.

I’ve  heard that people actually die of a broken heart.   I never believed it.   Thought it was fictitious.

I think what they  really  meant is one dies from the  inside while their hearts are still beating.

I saw everything and I can’t stop writing about it.  I write until I’m vacant.   Then the words  fill up all over again and again.

All of this darkness…

Yet I can’t put my Christmas tree up this year because most  of the ornaments are from Kay.

Silver sister’s kissing, ‘I love you’ hearts,  cats with furry tails, women dressed in tiger outfits, and some gingerbread men we made together  from cinnamon and apple sauce.  And she bought me an angel that sings- “You Are My Hero.”

How can a heart hurt so desperately, so incessantly?

I  decided to decorate her tree next to her gravesite instead.  Hang some of her favorite things from it…Pearls, Hearts, and I purchased one special one in particular:

Two sister angels hugging.  That’s how it will be one day.  That’s how it will be.

What else do I have to give you, my dear?  How else can I love you?

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  • Reply
    Cheryl Lewis
    November 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    My dear Kim,

    Christmas is about more than ormanents. It is about our ultimately risen Lord. He died. Brutally murdered. Nails through His hands. Stab wound into His side. 3 wounds. Like Kay. She rose, too. Kim, just as we hinge – and have done so with utter confidence and joy for oh so many years – our praise and hopes and celebration on His birth and rebirth, so we can trust that she is by His side. Alive. Well. Smiling. Yes, she felt the pain. And, yes, she awoke to a reality more glorious than we can even fathom. She loves us more than ever. She loves you more than ever.

    Ceaseless love in all its forms.

    I love you,

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Your writing is amazing. Tears falling down my cheeks…I can’t even begin to leave a comment that describes how reading that made me feel. Thank you for continuing to write with a broken heart. You’re inspiring.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 2:07 am

    your words are terrifying adequate. I can only imagine what you feel: the feeling of a open wound that never heals. I only hope that you will find a part of a healing someday, in one or another way. The one thing I wanna tell you is that you are so blessed to be able to experience a true love in your lifetime. Not many people are that lucky. Cherish the memory of it, it is a treasure you will keep forever.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 4:56 am

    (Sitting here in silence, crying at the beauty of your writing and the depth of your pain.)
    Love you, lady.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 6:15 am

    That’s wonderful you sent her donors a letter; I’m sure they were beyond touched to learn of the woman who made their lives possible. What a wonderful idea, Kim.

    The picture of that tree at her gravesite is something, I’ll tell ya. So much color and happiness in an otherwise unhappy place. Yet again, another wonderful idea.

    This is your first Christmas with Kay. Last Thursday was your first Thanksgiving without her. They say the “firsts” are the worst, and I believe it. My hope and prayer is that (as time passes) your broken heart will mend itself little by little, and these celebrations will become more bearable.

    I love you, lady.

    XO – Tara

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 6:45 am


    Astonishingly stunning. Word by word, you share your sister with us. Beautifully.


    Love you always

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 7:13 am

    My dear Kim,
    you leave me speechless. I feel the cold come off the picture of the cemetery and yet the sight of all those ornaments hanging from the branch makes me feel your warmth and tenderness towards Kay.
    I think that was a wonderful thing to let the families know about Kay. You are spreading her love around the world.
    love you. elizabeth xxxx

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Your words are so stunning Kim – just as your Kay was. I love Kay’s tree. I know she does too.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    My heart bleeds with you, that is all I can say.

    I love you

  • Reply
    December 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    How odd that I know you, and feel your overwhelming pain through your words. Yet when I see you in public, I can think of no words to say to you or to comfort you in any way. Speechless. I am so sorry for your grief. God bless you…….

  • Reply
    December 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Damn, Kim … that picture … your words … your raw emotions. Thank you for sharing. I continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers … with love, Ginger

  • Reply
    December 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Dear Kim,

    This is beautiful. Your pain comes through it all. I wish for you some healing and that you get through this first holiday without your sister. The firsts are the hardest. It doesn’t get easier necessarily, but it does get less painful. I hope that you and I can meet some day. We have a lot in common- losing a sister to bullets shot by a man who needed control and power. Be at peace.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Kim
    I love you

  • Reply
    December 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    It is a sad time, with many memories,but Kay is with our Lord, and so we give thanks and celebrate Christmas because of the gift of Jesus Christ. A perfect gift that was also murdered, but he and 2 thieves ascendedinto paradise that day!! PTL!!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    This was beautiful. Just beautiful. You and your sister shared a relationship that not all sisters even experience. You were best friends. You both are gorgeous. I am so sorry that that nasty man did such an evil thing.
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