Meet my friend Kim.  She’s just a blob visually now, but that’s fair.  So am I in this one… for now.

Kimmy the Unicorn is based on a real person, Ms. Kim Ward.  Kim passed away in 2005, at the ripe old age of 38, from a congenital defect in her heart.  What you may not know is that this is actually a blessing and a miracle.

You see, the reason Kim had this hole in her heart was kind of also the reason she wasn’t operated on.  She had Down Syndrome.  At the time she was born – the late 60s – people were just waking up to the fact that a “Downs”(1) could have a productive and happy life.  But saying that was a far cry from thinking it really a good idea to spend thousands of dollars operating on a “defective” person in a risky heart procedure.  BUT I DIGRESS…..

Fast forward to today, and a (say it with me) Person who has Down Syndrome  (Good!  Now that wasn’t hard, was it?)  Anyway, a person with this condition not only can be diagnosed before they are born, it’s now an almost routine surgical procedure to make those hearts run as well as possible.  Things do get better.

Long story short, Kim never got the necessary surgery.  She was supposed to die at age 6 or 7.

Over 30 years later, I helped bury my friend.  BOOM –Miracled.  I’d drop the mic right there, but I (as always) have more.

I met Kim at Grandpa’s C-Mart, which is no longer in the heart of Dundee.  I’m not even sure what’s standing there now, but it ain’t Grandpa’s.  Kim did dishes and was the adopted daughter of the Grandma and Grandpa, whose cartoon faces were on the side of their delivery truck.

Once I know Grandma and Grandpa have seen this – and are okay with it – I might mention them by name.  But anyone that knew Grandpa’s knew them… and knew Kim.  See, I’m of the theory that her extra 30 years was due simply to the power of love.

Kim was loved, and she loved back with all her heart.  Now sometimes it sounded like complaining about actually DOING a dish, but there was a teasing love there as well.  But don’t ever think she’s stupid.   As Kimmy herself would say,  “Don’t EVEN go there!”  She just thinks a bit differently than most of us, that’s all.

And since I love Kim like she was a sister, I can’t draw her caricature.  Or at least not yet.  While I think I surely could draw Kim’s physical characteristics pretty well, every time I try, it seems mean-spirited.  It doesn’t capture her soul.

So until I can draw Kim on the page as a human, with dignity as well as not hiding her condition, well then I’ll just draw her soul instead.  Thus, she is the rare pink faerie unicorn.  We’ll talk about Kim’s faith next time.  Oh, I bet you can’t wait!  But for now, yes, Virginia, there are pink faerie unicorns.  Our Kimmy was one.

Perseverance furthers,

~R


(1) Yes, they used the “s,” even though it wasn’t in the name.  But that was what they were called back then, which was still better than “mongoloid” and “retard,” to name two of the more printable terms that others called them.