Even a baby girl can change lives
NEW CASTLE, Colorado Kindall Colbert was just a baby when she died last July. Yet her mother, Kim, is still amazed at the impact the lively, adventurous 13-and-a-half-month-old had on her family.I never imagined it would be so profound, such a young life, she said.This was the girl who was into everything, curious about the world and so different from her sister, Caylee, now 4. During a recent trip to Mexico, she was excited by the ocean and its crashing waves not scared. She was all about adventure but never wanted to be away from her parents for very long.Her short life changed our life forever, Kim went on.Now Kindall is getting her chance to affect even more people.This Saturday, Kim is hosting Kindalls Run for a Reason, a day of foot races, food and entertainment in New Castle. Proceeds will benefit the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood program, which Kim became involved with shortly after Kindall died of no apparent cause. Like Sudden Infant Death Sydrome, SUDC can affect healthy children without warning. While Kim hasnt found a reason behind Kindalls death yet, at least she feels heard. She has online forums and fellow parents to turn to. There are people who understand her. She wants to give other grieving families that piece of mind.In her words, the organization has made all the difference.While Kim was describing all this over the phone, she didnt cry. These days, thats not always easy for her. When she thinks of Kindall, sometimes its like someones punched her. Other times, she feels numb. Kindall died in her sleep at her baby-sitters on July 16, 2007, and Kim, along with her husband, Joe, is still coming out of the disbelief surrounding that day. Mostly, she explained, their sorrow feels repetitive.Every day, Im just looking at her picture and saying, I love you so much, and I miss you so much. What else can you say? she asked.And what else can you do?At first, Kim had no idea. Feeling understandably lost, eventually she sold out her family business, Spirits Liquors, and stayed at home. Shed gone from owning a store and caring for two children, to being someone she didnt even know how to explain. More than wailing, oftentimes shed just feel empty. She thinks she and Joe must have spent days staring into space.Its such a huge magnitude that your mind cant even wrap around it, she explained.Like any parent, she needed answers. She knew she didnt blame the baby-sitter, Dionne Luna, because she had been nothing but attentive and caring with Kindall. Kindall would cry and cry whenever her parents left, but Dionne had been trying to work the baby through her fears. Eventually, Dionne (who Kim calls amazing, amazing) was one of the few people Kindall could be with for long periods of time. Kim didnt blame the hospital staff or response crews, either. But she still wanted to know what on earth had occurred. And it seemed the more she asked doctors and specialists, the more she was given the same type of reply.It just happened, theyd say.Well, that wasnt good enough for Kim.Not long after Kindalls death, Kim came across the SUDC Programs website. Soon, she had befriended other parents of SUDC victims and was telling all the medical professionals she could about the sydrome. She felt such validation. Even though theres nothing that can be done to prevent this, people have to know about it, she thought. She did all she felt she could and sent off Kindalls information to analyzed by the program (shes still waiting for the results). Then, in September of 2007, she attended Josh & Guss Run for Reason in Littleton. One of many such events held around the country, it was raising money for the very organization that had given Kim so much help. She was inspired.It was really hard, she said, but it was like, wow, these guys are really doing something in their childs name.It didnt take long for her to realize she wanted to do the same. Now, even though the event has been so much work, shes proud to be behind it.It feels really good, she said. I feel like Im making a difference. I feel like Im doing something for Kindall in the only way I can.This isnt just about supporting an organization. Its about keeping Kindalls memory alive. All the time, Kim is walking around in this state of loss, but it seems like people around her want to pretend like nothing happened. They feel uncomfortable. They dont know what to say. So they dont mention Kindall at all. And to Kim, thats maddening.I need people realize she was here, and she was part of lives, she stressed.Its been more than year since she lost Kindall, and she knows theres no getting over this. Theres only accepting it. Shes beginning to have dreams where her little daughter wakes up, smiles and looks at her. Its crushing for her, but its also nice, in way. She gets to see her baby so vivid and real, she said. Shes never going to say this was meant to be, but theres some calm she feels about it now. It actually started that first day, as she was sitting, dumbfounded, in the hospital. Kindall was already gone, and the doctors let Kim and Joe cradle their child one last time.All of a sudden, I just had this overwhelming feeling, as we were holding her, this feeling came over me that this was OK. Its OK, she said.That still comforts her.It doesnt mean Saturday will be easy, though. Kim thinks she might get anxious. She might break down. She just doesnt know. A former bartender, she joked that this is just the kind of nerve-wracking situation people drink for.But she definitely wont be.She has a baby due in December.Contact Stina Sieg: email@example.com
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