“I have a new friend!” Shyanne exclaimed. She was in a new class that year, and first grade was already looking up. “Her name is Kim!”
It turned out that Kim’s brother, Andrew, was in our son Andrew’s fourth grade class and they made fast friends calling themselves the Double A’s because of their exuberant energy levels.
Kim was giggly and fun, with big, gentle eyes, and soft brown hair. Andrew was tall and lanky, with mischief in his twinkling eyes (to match my Andrew’s!). The four of them have a bond that has lasted over a decade.
Every birthday, the children pick one friend to go to Grandma’s house and have cake and then off to karaoke at a kid friendly restaurant. Year upon year my grandmother snaps photos of the kids….growing leaps and bounds in each picture. Kimberly’s smiling face next to Shyanne’s has graced each photo.
They were the first ones to introduce us to chickens and ducks. Our first duck eggs came from their family. We laughed at Andrew’s pet rooster and mourned his death to coyote.
Kim introduced my Andrew to her friend, Megan, who is now his serious girlfriend and whom he plans to marry next year.
Andrew and Andrew lived together when they moved out of the house. They have fought, made up, and have made plans to walk to California.
I have been around their parents often because of these friendships. Dropping kids off, or picking kids up, or riding together in a car to pick our boys up after they drove without a license to my grandma’s house (the police pulled them over). We have all worried together and celebrated together. We were with them through divorce, they with us when we moved.
These kids are special. When the girls in fourth grade were so mean, Kim and Shyanne stayed friends. When we moved to Elizabeth and then to Kiowa (out in the middle of nowhere!), it was Andrew’s car and Kim’s smiling face coming to rescue Shyanne and Andrew. Just a few months ago, when Shyanne broke up with her boyfriend and was crushed, Kimberly wasted no time in picking her up.
I know that Shyanne did not realize that would be the last time she saw Kim. Her body was found yesterday morning. Whispers of suicide taint the air. Time stops.
Children that practically become yours when you watch them grow up and share so many memories with. There are no warnings, because the warnings match all teenagers at some point or another. The sadness is deafening. Shyanne is beside herself.
The farm still needs tending, the food still canned today, the chickens still let out, the world keeps going, but with a weight and tears that time may or may not mend.
Rest in peace, dear child.
April 23, 1996-September 3, 2013