When someone dies, remembering them can be a painful and bittersweet experience. But there is a woman here in Sioux Falls....who does some amazing work....using needle and thread has found a way to capture memories of a loved one. A way that allows those memories to be gentle and soft....and make the healing process not so rough. It is a pleasure to bring you the story of what this woman does...and the positive effect is has had on so many lives. Tonight, a story of everlasting love.
When you find that one special person that makes you see life differently....it is like being able to breathe for the very first time. And when the time comes to say good-bye to that person....it takes your breath away in the most painful of ways. "Kim and I met at a speed dating party that was downtown back in 2004..." Jim Brenden knew when he met Kim that the team of "Jim and Kim" was meant to be. "She was one of the gals that I had put down and I was one of the guys she had down." When it comes to guys meeting gals...it can be hard to find a perfect fit. It can be tough to find that special one that makes you melt. For Jim.....it was Kim. "My wife was one of a kind...."
Before Jim ever met Kim, she has fought back and won against breast cancer. After they got married, the cancer came back...and boy did she fight it....because she loved Jim....and he was there every step of the way. Kim was his joy. When she died in November of last year....Jim was left by himself, to deal with her loss and the terrible sorrow that came with it. "We were just getting started, just being married four years, we had a lot of things we wanted to do....as they say at the movies...we had a big bucket list."
It was while Jim was finalizing Kim's funeral arrangements at Woodlawn Cemetery that he saw a card out of the corner of his eye....for of all things...teddy bears. But these aren't toys. Far from it.
"My mother gave me a gift..which was a bear made from my Dad's clothing..." The card Jim Brenden saw was for a woman named Jacquelyn Henderson Hexamer. Years ago, following the death of her father, Jacquelyn's mother gave her a teddy bear made from some of her dad's favorites clothes. It gave Jacquelyn comfort.....and it also gave her an idea. "I'm just gonna go and practice...I'm gonna go get some of my old clothes and just make a bear and see if I can do it."
She did do it....quite well....and she began making bears for friends who had lost people they cared about. She knows a teddy bear can't dry tears....and it can't mend a broken heart....but she says it helps. It provides reminders of happy times...before illness....and before death. And knowing that her bears help, even in a small way....Jacquelyn says this is work she was meant to do. "To me its like the most rewarding work I have ever done..."
Jim Brenden has had several teddy angels made. They take up residence in several corners of the home he and Kim made together. A reminder that she loved him....and he loved her. "You can squeeze them and it was great therapy for me especially doing the grief classes I've been doing this Summer, which helps a lot too. I'm with people that have lost spouses too."
One of the last conversations Jim and Kim had was about regrets. Both of them said they had none. That they had the time of their lives...together. And Jim says he knows, someday, he will see his Kim again. Until then, he has his memories and his teddy angels. "Going through cancer the first time....you know...you look at life a little different....and I do too, now, losing her and...she was the love of my life."
What makes the story of Jim and Kim so inspiring and at the same time so heartbreaking is that they knew they cared for each other almost immediately. They made the most of their time, even before Kim's cancer came back. They lived life, thankful for every minute together. And that is something to admire and to aspire to. If you are interested in finding out more about teddy angels, click this link to visit the teddy angels web site.
2012 KSFY News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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