Daughter. Sister. Mom. Gigi. Friend. Lots of people called her different things. I called her Aunt Kim. I will never forget all the wonderful memories I have with my Aunt Kim growing up. Family was her life, her reason for living. Picnics in the park, swimming, water parks, George Strait concerts every year for my birthday. To each one of her four sons and her two niece's (that she had a big hand in raising) she had that 'special connection'. My own mother had to sacrifice so much by working multiple jobs to support my sister and I. My aunt stepped right in and treated us like her own. She'd come out of her way every Sunday to pick us up for church. At the time, I was never thrilled about it...but she did it for us. See, my Aunt Kim stayed focused for her family. For everyone else. She always made sure to ask us about our days. If we were upset about something she'd make sure we talked it out. And when we achieved great things, her praises were the best to receive. Her eyes would sparkle and her pearly whites shined through her red lipstick that she always wore! She was such a huge inspiration and positive role model in my life. She showed me how to be a good sister. To always be there for each other no matter what. To lean on, and embrace family with open arms during the highs and the lows. She was one of the strongest women I know. She has touched so many lives in such a positive way. She had a gift of making everyone feel welcomed and acknowledged. Even when she was sick and people just didn't know what to say, she would open up conversations and ask about their lives. She would explain to them her journey with her brain tumor to help them better understand the situation and break the ice.
Most of all she taught me how to be a wonderful aunt. I will carry that inside me and do my best to pass it on to my nieces and nephews for the rest of my life. Even though we can not physically hug her, I know...I know, she will forever be with us.
She must've known her life on this earth wasn't going to be long enough...so she treasured every moment and LIVED LIFE. She was always ready to keep going and doing. I will always remember her as the strong, fierce woman she was. She was the glue to our family and still is. A quote from the great Dr. Seuss was read at her funeral that I try to keep in mind when I get sad...'Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.'
And here is then piece I ended up creating for Candie's Aunt Kim. I felt very drawn to the image of a circle and all that it represents. To be whole, to be united, to be connected, to be strong... I took from Candie's words someone who's love extended far beyond just her inner circle, and an ability to reach and touch so many other people's lives by just sharing her light.