As I go through the things in the house trying to make order out of what’s there, I continuously come across things Kim has created or bought to create things with. Kim was so talented. She could draw, she loved to paint, she loved crafting and coloring.

This wasn’t something that she had started when we were married, but before – there are crafts she made long before we were married at her dad’s house.

I remember the first full launch I did for Ford- the 1992 Ranger in Edison, New Jersey. It was the first time we’d be apart for more than a day. It was not easy on either one of its, but I always thought it was easier on me. We had Jeanette by then and I think Kim had returned to work by then. Kim worked midnights, so she had to drop Jeanette off with my mom in the afternoon, then pick her up in the morning. Somewhere in there, she had to get some rest.

Me? I’d go to work, return to the hotel, lather, rinse, repeat until every other weekend when I’d get to fly home. Kim would drop me off and pick me up at the airport. The hotel I stayed at had “points” with which we could get prizes. I spent so much time there that we were able to get a few things – a play tent for Jeanette (which HER daughter now plays with!), a stereo for Kim (it has been retired by mp3s, but still works and is still in the basement), a juicer for the kitchen (which was GREAT, but died decades ago). With the overtime, I was able to buy Kim something that would fuel her crafting passions for her remaining life: a New Home Memory Craft sewing machine that would do all kinds of stitches as well as embroider – and scan in her own embroidery designs! I honestly don’t remember whether Kim had wanted it, or if it was something I came upon myself, but she loved that machine. One of the first things she made was a little pink and grey jumpsuit for Jeannette on which she embroidered a bunny with a basket of flowers. For Halloween, she made a cute costume for Jeanette that is still around – I think each of the kids wore it for at least one Halloween, and it is still in the basement. I think our granddaughter may even have worn it.

A couple of years ago, that machine broke down for the last time – the repair shop couldn’t get parts for it anymore. She had already bought a bigger machine that, frankly, we couldn’t afford, but I wouldn’t let her take it back (and, lo and behold: we afforded it). The new machine could do bigger things, and you could put patterns to embroider on with via flash drives, but the only way to design your own was through some VERY expensive commercial software, or some very confusing open-source software. We kept the New Home – I figured I’d get the time to open it up and troubleshoot the board and maybe get it going again. It still sits waiting for me to find that time. Sigh…

Kim had made a beautiful quilt depicting The Last Supper on the new machine – she had just finished it and started on what was to be her lap quilt for cold weather chemo trips when the chemo caused her to lose feeling in her fingers and she couldn’t sew anymore. She was so proud of that quilt, and everyone who saw it raved to her about how great it was. I had promised her I would build a special frame for it that would incorporate internal lighting to show it off. Of course she passed a month or so after finishing it. I’m not in any hurry to make the frame – handling the quilt is emotionally painful to me – but I will get it done as soon as I clean all the extraneous crap out of the garage and have access to the woodworking equipment therein. I really need to get a new shed built.

Her craft room and the basement are full of so many half-done projects that will never be completed. So many supplies for new projects that will not be started…

Are all lives left so unfinished? When people die of old age, do they leave so much unfinished behind? Or is it only those who go too young?