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Letter to the Editor

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It takes a village and I am grateful

To the editor:

On January 20th my life completely changed forever, along with my family. It was a Sunday morning we got up went to church and started our day not knowing I would be losing my 9-year-old daughter named Kimberly to an accident.

Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. When the time came, me and Kimberly’s father made the decision to donate her organs (if you’re not an organ donor please consider being one). We thought to ourselves that our baby is so full of life and energy we knew she could save lives even if we could not physically have her in our life anymore. Jesus needed Kimberly home, but he sent me a “Village” in our time of need.

Growing up you hear the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” and soon after having children you realize it does take a village.

You have no idea through the years how many people have touched the lives of your children or how many lives your child has touched.

Unfortunately, and fortunately, on January 23rd I realized how big my village was, and I am humbled by and grateful for each one of you.

There are so many people to thank so if I leave anyone out please understand that I love every one of you from the bottom of my heart. It is not easy to bury a child especially one so young. I know Kimberly is smiling down on everyone who has rallied around her family to extend comfort, kind words, to help financially with the cost of her celebration of life, and to help us start a memorial scholarship in her name.

A special thank you to Williston Elementary School for hosting and allowing the dinner sales, for planting a memorial tree in her honor, and for understanding the things I’ve needed from you. Also, for helping the students who loved my daughter grieve and for allowing them to make a memorial garden to facilitate their healing process.

Knowing how my baby doll Kimberly affected those around her in such a positive way is amazing. Thank you, Mr. Hopping for organizing and supplying the food for the dinners. Thank you to everyone who helped at this event.

Another special thank you to Monica Merced and the WYAA for hosting a dinner sale, raffle, and bringing out the blood mobile to help people donate lifesaving blood. Thank you to everyone who helped at this event or donated items for the raffle. We raised enough money to start our scholarship program in Kimberly’s name this school year. A program that will last forever in her name. I will forever be grateful.

To Bubbaque's in Williston, thank you for donating gift cards for the fundraiser and supplying my family with dinner on our first day home from the hospital.

To Kids N Company words cannot express how much I love you all and am grateful to work for and with such an awesome group of women. You were there from the start and have been by my side every day since.

To Sarah Ingley at Gainesville Dance & Yoga LLC, thank you for starting the GoFundMe account and being with us at the hospital. Kimberly loved dancing with you and your studio. Thank you for seeing her through jazz, elementary tap, soft shoe Irish, hard shoe Irish, hip hop, ballet, musical theater, modern dance, yoga, and intermediate/advance tap.

To my church family at Morriston Baptist Church and Pastor Keith, thank you for a beautiful service and dinner afterwards. I know she would have been so proud of all of you.

To the town of Williston, Levy County, and everyone who expressed kind words, sent a card, purchased a dinner, a raffle ticket, donated to the GoFundMe account, or donated blood, I thank you.

Kimberly would be so happy to know the whole town came out to help us in our time of need. She loved helping others and would have done the same for anyone. For those of you who did not know her she was a happy girl with a bright smile.

She loved her family, her best friend Jordyn Lamb, and dancing. Kimberly loved dancing so much she attended eight different kind of dance classes weekly, along with musical theater. She loved Jesus and attending church. She was very active in children’s church and loved helping with everything especially VBS. She will forever be dancing in the sky with our Lord and Savior and that brings me great comfort.

I don’t know if I will ever get used to my new normal, but I want everyone who reads this to know.

It's alright if you do not know what to say to me just say hi anyways, please don’t stare and walk away.

I love talking about Kimberly so please talk about her with me. Tell me your stories, maybe I have never heard them before.

I am grateful for the pictures and videos I did not even know existed. So please do not shy away, embrace Kimberly’s memory with me.

To the Lamb family, thank you for everything you have done and continue to help my family through this process. I know you loved her too. Our girls have made so many crazy videos and pictures together that I will cherish for a lifetime.

To my village, I will never forget you and all your kindness, I am truly grateful for you.

Sherry Morales