Kimmy McMahon Walter surely was no saint, but if you were lucky to be loved by her, it oftentimes felt like you were loved by one. Her sass matched her experience and she always let you know what she was thinking. She was blunt and honest no matter what you threw her way. And throughout her short life, quite a bit was thrown her way.
As time went on Kimmy morphed into someone who was humbled – not hardened – by life’s untraditional challenges. She was positively changed by time. In the end of her life she became closer to people she loved. She reached out more. She asked for help. She recognized the totality of life.
She became comprehensively “Real”.
I couldn’t say it better than the classical story of the Velveteen Rabit by Margery Williams and I can’t think of a more perfect person to represent its profound story than Kimmy McMahon Walter:
“Real isn’t how you are made” said the Skin Horse to the rabbit.
“It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it Hurt?” asked the rabit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse.
“When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once,” he asked…. or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.
“You become.” He said.
“That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Kim was very Real. Because she was very well loved and not easily kept. Her absence will make us all become a little more Real, too.
We as people who love her can never be hopeless in loss, because we can not be irreparably broken. We become what we are becoming. We only become more Real by loving and living. Just like Kimmy.
Today we say see you later to the wild spirit who lives on inside the hearts of her children and the people who love her. Today with these life lessons and throughout the ebbs and flows of this grief- we will all become just a little more Real.