Each month, I will be choosing a very special woman who inspires me and captures best, what I define a Diva to be ~ A woman who is walking in her magnificence and beyond. A true Diva has that special sparkle which captures the attention of those around her. Most importantly, a Diva is a strong woman who has the ability to recover from adversity, refusing to be defined by a painful experience. Instead, she is able to learn and grow from a crisis or life changing event, making the choice to let go and move on. She embraces her power as she walks right into her newly claimed brilliance with confidence and success.
The person I have selected for our first “Diva of the Month” captures the true essence of a strong and brilliant woman. I have chosen her because she is someone who has inspired me throughout my life and touched my soul with her fearless determination and ability to recover from pain and trauma. This amazing woman is my beautiful sister, Kim.
I did not choose my sister out of devolution to family or favoritism. I chose her for the reasons I have discussed and because today is her Birthday. I am a big believer that we should all celebrate ourselves and define our most perfect moments on the day set to celebrate our entrance to this world. It is the perfect time to review our accomplishments and celebrate our success. Many of us do not take the time to do so, and my sister is no exception. So, in honor of her birthday, I wish to celebrate who my sister is, who she has become following adversity and what a gift she is to me and everyone around her.
Let me tell you about my sister Kim. She is loving, giving and an amazing mother and friend. She gives so much to many and expects nothing in return. Kim will take in any stray animal or child and has been a safe place for many teens that have faced difficult times and were in need of a home and loving family. She shares her time as a community volunteer, coach and advocate. She has the energy of a teenager and a laugh like nun other. When she enters a room, the sparkle is so bright you must slip on your Diva shades or you will be blinded by her brilliance.
Several years ago, Kim was involved in a life altering automobile accident through which she sustained multiple injuries and a significant loss. Her vast injuries included serious injury to her entire body and significant facial trauma. Kim has faced countless surgeries and pain that is unimaginable. Beyond the physical pain, on that day in which I believe her life was changed forever in a brief moment, she faced an unimaginable loss. Kim’s very best friend, a woman who stood by her side through everything and brought so much joy to her life, left this world as she passed away.
I remember sitting by my sister’s side for days and weeks in the hospital after the accident. Only days earlier, Kim and I returned from a “girl’s trip” to Mexico where we had the most amazing time. I was in shock that the beautiful, radiant woman I had seen dancing in the sun just days ago was the same person lying in a hospital bed covered in bandages and medical equipment. Her facial injuries were significant and her beauty was hidden by swelling and bandages. The only recognizable reminder of the person I loved so much and hugged goodbye in Mexico as we boarded different flights home was the hint of pink on her still tanned toes. I recall the initial hours when the trauma physicians looked somber, unable to tell us if my sister would be ok; unable to be certain if she would walk well, think clearly or ever really be “Kim” again.
As my sister regained awareness, she began to ask for her friend. We were told to give her more time to heal before being told of her friend’s passing, as her state was fragile. Like me however, my sister is very intuitive, she knew before being told, that her friend was no longer with us and putting her questions off was not an option. I recall the day the words of truth were spoken to Kim by her husband. The pain and loss in my sister’s eyes is something I will never forget. My heart broke then, and it breaks now as I remember….
Close your eyes and think about the story I am sharing with you. Imagine losing your most trusted friend in a moment when you needed her most. Imagine still, the physical scars and pain that you are left with and years of surgery you knew lie before you. What would you have done? Often, I think about it, and as strong as I know myself to be, I believe I may have simply crawled into my bed, and never wanted to get up. Such a life altering event like my sister endured may have taken my ability to walk in my magnificence away.
What I have witnessed over the last several years, is that this event did not take Kim’s emotional power away at all. In fact, it is has given her more. Kim showed extraordinary strength within the days following the accident. The doctors and staff looked on with disbelief and applauded her as she began to walk assisted and then alone, fighting the pain as she showed great courage. Her persistence and determination in the weeks that followed beamed from her soul. In those moments she seldom spoke of her feelings yet, I could hear her unspoken words, “I will not let this define me”.
Kim has recovered physically from her injuries, although she continues to have surgeries to address her facial trauma. She has scars that would take a large toll on other women’s self-esteem, but she is not affected. In fact, she feels and looks more beautiful than ever. She continues to require all of us to put on our diva shades when she enters a room. Her endless sparkle fills any space with a very bright light.
Moving forward, not only has Kim recovered physically from this experience, but emotionally as well. She is simply soaring. She stepped out of her fears and uncertainties and recently opened a small business in her home town of Simsbury, Connecticut. Not surprisingly, her love of children and the worlds environment, led her to open Teenage Wasteland Consignments. Her store has become a haven for teens who can recycle their clothing and purchase the latest trends affordably. It has become the “cool” place to go and her energy attracts teens from across the state. Her business is exceeding her expectations but not mine. My own words, remind me of why she has found success….
“If you do what you love, while being who you really are, you cannot hide from success”
Like many women, Kim does not see who she is as a gift to others and seems unaware and unable at times to believe that who she is and what she accomplishes as an exception to the norm. What touches my soul so completely is Kim’s ability to overcome physical and emotional trauma without letting it define her. In the end, my sister’s journey of pain has led her to become a stronger and more beautiful person. As I watch Kim walking in her magnificence, I am truly in wonder and awe.
So today I celebrate my sister. I define this day a perfect moment.
“Always the best big sister”
Happy Birthday “My Kim” I love you!