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sorrow...

Today I received a call from my cousin Shanna (also a former Pampered Chef teammate) and was told that my former PC Director, Kim had gone in for a scheduled hysterectomy. A few days later ended up back in the hospital with a hemorrhage in the brain, emergency surgery and a coma. I just got the news of this at about 12:30pm or so. Just shortly after receiving the phone call, I received a forward email that stated that Kim had passed away.

I'm am filled with such sadness because Kim was such an empowering person, so full of life and had a positive outlook on everything. I spent a lot of time talking to her on the phone, receiving encouragement, strength, motivation, and many other just funny moments. She had such a great sense of humor and such a way with words that it was so funny to me. She was my teacher and director through Pampered Chef but most of all she was a friend that I really enjoyed having in my life.

A few weeks ago I sent Kim this email and it stirred up some emails that were so refreshing. She had made me aware of her surgery and I told her in the email that her recovery would be similar to my mom's and would probably be hard but she would get through it. I read that email today about 10 times and just cried. I also went back and did a search for all emails that had been passed back and forth. One in particular keeps tapping me on the shoulder as if she knew something was up but just wouldn't say it. Kim said, "I am having a hysterectomy. I have been having such problems and ended up in the hospital to have a blood transfusion at the end of Jan. I was feeling pretty bad and they thought I might have a stroke... I feel better now, but will be out for a little while." I read this and can't help to think that somethings was existent before the surgery and they just couldn't find it. Following the surgery, it was just too late and the outcome was not promising. After a number of tests and increasing and decreasing of drugs, the end was closer than they could've ever imagined. Friends and family swarmed the hospital and surrounded their family with love, support and prayer.

There are many emotions I am surrounded with today. Kim was only 47, married for over 20 years, four kids and such a fabulous mother and dear friend. She will be so greatly missed. Her energy and enthusiasm was contagious and will never be forgotten!

Here's the email that I was referring to...

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,
the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone
and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not;
no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor,
or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me
at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands,
nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer,
"What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around
5:30, please." I was certain that these were the hands that once held
books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated
summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter,
never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of
a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous
trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was
sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down
at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was
clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid
I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty
pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package,
and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals
of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I
read her inscription:

"To Carol, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building
when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great
cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see
finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The
passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of
God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man
who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a
workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled
and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that
bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever
see it."

And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake
you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are
building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will
become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my
own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn
pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great
builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will
never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be
on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could
ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing
to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my daughter to tell the
friend she's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets
up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she h and
bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the
table."

That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just
want her to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to
say to her friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if
we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world
will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that
has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Hug your mom today and tell her how much she means to you. Even if it's something that you've never done because it just didn't seem right. Just do it because you never know what tomorrow will hold.

Kim's Obituary

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