On Saturday, November 14, we passed the three month mark of that terrible day in August. Three months. On the one hand, it’s gone by so quickly. How can it already be three months? On the other hand, the days are so slow. Each hour is slow. It’s been the longest three months ever. I am still living in late summer, but the stores have moved onto Christmas.
People ask how we are doing. Honestly, we are not okay. We lost our son.
Our children are so connected to us at so many points in our lives… this is his seat in our car, this is his bike collecting dust, this is his favorite type of potato chips, this is his notebook from second grade, this is his favorite song… everything right now reminds us of Dragon, of all that we’ve lost. I don’t have words to describe the pain of losing one of my children, that which I love most in this world.
So, we are not okay. I do have moments of calm. But each day I also have ugly moments– moments of anger, of envy, of self pity – ugly bits of me that you wouldn’t want to see. And many, many moments of deep sorrow. But, we are surviving. We are doing our best to get through each day.
The Foundation gives us a place to put the pain. Doing good in Dragon’s name is a way to keep his memory alive and to continue the work Dragon started. This project we are launching in January… it’s Dragon’s project. Here’s how it all came about: In junior high, Dragon volunteered after school with the Tustin Music program. He would sit next to and help teach the elementary school kids playing trumpet or trombone, while Mrs. Giesler taught from the front of the room, teaching 20 kids. Dragon loved watching his kids go from making high pitched squeaking sounds to being able to play a simple version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. Working with young kids taught him a lot about music, and a lot about himself.
Then, when Dragon got to high school, since OCSA goes until 5pm every day, he could no longer volunteer with the Tustin program. OCSA runs a program called Camp OCSA, where Santa Ana elementary school kids can sign up for 10 weeks of classes in a chosen field – dance, voice, creative writing – for free. 20% of kids in Santa Ana live in poverty. Camp OCSA serves over 300 kids every year. We all know how expensive these lessons can be, so it’s a great service that OCSA provides, and it’s a great way for OCSA to give back to the Santa Ana community. But Camp OCSA didn’t offer instrumental music instruction because they didn’t have the instruments. Dragon wanted to change that. He approached Teren Shaffer, then the Director of the Instrumental Music program, with a proposal to start a music instruction course. They were on track to make this happen, but then…
So it was a natural fit for The Dragon Kim Foundation to take this on as our first project. We are launching a brass ensemble class in January, in less than two months. We now have three donated trumpets. We are looking for more trombones and trumpets. I know how hard it is to let go of musical instruments, which often become treasured family objects, so this is my last call for instrument donations before we go out and buy them. But if you have an instrument that is taking up space, that no one is going to use, please consider donating it. That instrument can enjoy a new life with a child that wants to make music. And if you don’t have an instrument to donate, we can purchase a brand new trumpet for $300. Any amount will help us get closer to our goal for the January class, and for a full band and/or orchestra next Fall. The other day, a little boy sent us $7. It’s what he could afford, and it will help. I was touched that this boy wanted to contribute. Dragon would have been so thankful for the support in making his vision come true.
“May his spirit live on in music.”