That girl in the wheelchair

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Several months ago, my husband and I were at a hockey game when suddenly, everything around me just stopped. I had gotten word through social media that the world had lost a beautiful soul. I had known Kimmie for literally half my life. It didn’t seem real. There are days that it still doesn’t… I was so confused. Kimmie was a wheelchair user due to Muscular Dystrophy, but she had seemingly been in great health when we had last seen her. I have been trying to find the words to express my feelings on this loss ever since. I wanted to share or say something that would represent what she really meant (and still means to) everyone who knew her.

Kimmie and I had known each other since 2000. We met as competitors in the Jr. Miss division at the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2001 competition. This was where I first experienced her gift of writing. Outside of that weekend, we (unfortunately) really didn’t have many opportunities to connect deeply over the years, but she is someone that I will never forget. I admire her so much. I admire her for her gift of words (I will never be as great of a writer as Kimmie was). I admire her for her quirkiness and her wit. I admire her for her positive outlook on life too. Most importantly though, I admire her for her willingness to help others and to be a good friend. I am most grateful for our very last interaction together, because it helped me truly understand who she was as a person.

She had needed some help with her computer and my husband offered to try to help her out. Kimmie and her significant other (Jamie) came over that evening and we chatted about random things while my husband worked on her computer. At the time, it didn’t necessarily seem like it would be something that would be forever embedded into my memory bank, but it is. This was the night that I had realized (far too late) that Kimmie and I shared something that I believe was significant in both of our lives: writing. After that night, Kimmie so graciously pointed me to some resources for writing and she genuinely took an interest in my goals for becoming a better writer. That is something that I wish I had taken time to thank her for. It was only a couple of months later that the world would feel the loss of this amazing lady. Kimmie’s celebration of life service was unlike any other I have ever experienced. It brought people back into my life that I had lost contact with over the years. We all swapped Kimmie stories and laughed. I’m pretty sure Kimmie wouldn’t have wanted that day to be any other way. Somehow, even in the midst of so many of us individually grieving the loss of such a wonderful soul, she still always manages to find ways to remind us all that she is with us in spirit.

There are days that I really wish that I could just send her a message to gain some more of her wisdom in the writing world. I pray that she does know how much that night meant to me though. Kimmie was funny, kind, quirky and awesome. She was a beautiful writer. She was an advocate. More importantly, she was a beautiful and loving soul.

While I wanted to write this months ago, I just couldn’t quite articulate the words before now and I knew in my heart that forcing myself to write something just for the sake of honoring her at a specifically executed time or date would never really embody who Kimmie really was. Kimmie was random and spontaneous and (for some reason) has decided to use tonight to push me to finally take the time to honor her and what she meant to so many people. As a writer myself, I knew that the only way that I could honor her in a way that would be meaningful to me and to her is by just taking the time to truly speak from the heart myself and by sharing her amazing talent for writing by sharing a couple of the only videos I have of Kimmie (circa 2000) and letting them really just speak for themselves. These videos are proof that our words and lives have meaning.

Our words have the ability to bring happiness into others lives or bring others down. Life is short. We should always strive to share words that bring joy into others lives while we still have the chance. Some day, the memories of those words might be all we have left. Kimmie was more than just “That girl in the wheelchair“… She brought joy, light, laughter and beauty into this world. These videos are proof of that.

Kimmie, thank you for being you. I can honestly say that there will never be another amazing human being quite like you.

To read some of Kimmie’s writing, you can visit her website: http://www.thatgirlinthewheelchair.com/

In honor of Kimberly (Kimmie) Jones
              (11/18/1982-4/4/2017)

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