Kimberly passed away peacefully

17 Jul

Kimberly Marie Kathan Pijanowski, a mother, teacher, scholar, and yogi, died on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 9:04 pm surrounded by friends and family. It is often a custom to announce the passing of someone who dies from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by saying that today, “she won her battle with ALS” but Kim won her battle with ALS long before her last breath. She chose to banish fear and embrace each moment of her life as sacred. She opened her heart and continued to forge new and deeper friendships throughout her illness. She doggedly sought ways to improve towards becoming the person she aspired to be. In short, she rejected the notion that she should be defined as someone who was dying and instead embraced the life of someone who was living with a terminal disease.

Kim always found a way to take the ordinary opportunities in her life and shape them into an extraordinary experience…

People often study hard; Kim almost always got the highest grade in the class.

People go on vacations; Kim took a year off to hike national parks and ski out west.

People vote; Kim quit her job and helped Hillary Clinton get elected.

People visit Washington DC; Kim went to the White House Christmas party.

People learn how their government works; Kim was paid by the United States Congress to learn how the government works through a prestigious Madison Fellowship.

People take a yoga class; Kim lived at the Kripalu Yoga Center to learn how to teach yoga.

People are not afraid to look silly dancing at weddings; Kim did an imitation of the Elaine dance from Seinfeld that would bring the house down with laughter.

In many ways Kim did the same things other people did, she was just able to do them with more enthusiasm and less fear than most.

Kim’s legacy includes a bright, precocious son with a love of healthy food, a keen sense of adventure and Kim’s eyes, hundreds of students who were inspired to work harder and reach deep into their communities to make a difference, countless friends who carry her light in their hearts, and a loving family that raised her, supported her, and played with her all of her life, including her dear brother with whom Kim shared a bond unbounded by time or space.

She lived passionately, shared her light freely, danced wildly, cared deeply, worked intensely, and played with her heart wide open to all the possibilities that her life offered her.

A celebration of Kim’s life will be held at Vesper Point on Mount Sequoyah at 9am on Sunday, July 20th.

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13 Responses to “Kimberly passed away peacefully”

  1. Dana Felice-Podwol July 17, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

  2. Nancy Johnson July 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    “Till we meet again, Miss Kim. Save journey.

  3. Rhonda Thompson July 18, 2014 at 2:31 am #

    Well done Kim. WHAT an amazing woman. The rest of us may spend the rest of our lives learning to let go and live half as fully as you did. I know I am a better person for your journey and changed profoundly for only knowing a piece of it through John. I pray for love and peace to Surround your husband and son as they navigate their journey in the wake of the loss of you. Thank you so much John for sharing such an incredible human being with all of us. She could not have had a better partner who fought harder for her. Love to you and Jack and all of Kim’s family.

    • pamela brandt July 18, 2014 at 7:09 am #

      Strength, love and peace to the Pijanowski family.

    • Marie P. Witzel July 18, 2014 at 7:13 am #

      A life well lived and well loved. Granny

  4. Hugh Egan and Debbie Homsher July 18, 2014 at 4:35 am #

    We are thinking of Kim as a beautiful, dark-haired child, full of backyard plans, and as a vivid, bright college student of history and literature. And as a resolute, loving adult, mother, daughter, wife, a strong spirit. It’s a still cool morning in Ithaca. No leaves stirring. Many birds are chattering in the forsythia bushes and up the hill. We send our love to everybody who has stood and is standing by Kim. Love, Hugh and Debbie

  5. Nicolette July 18, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    I can hear her chant now- such a beautiful depth of joy and light. She really lived the heck out of life.

  6. Linda July 18, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    My thoughts and prayers are with you John and your son and with Kim of course who is on to her next journey. Although I only met you both for that brief time when I performed your marriage ceremony, I was forever touched by the enthusiasm that Kim projected, it was contagious and after reading her biography that you posted above, I can see that it was not just her excited for her wedding day, but for life in general. She was truly an amazing woman who I am sure will continue to touch peoples lives even after she is gone. Linda Guaida

  7. Bonnie (SAI) July 18, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    All of us at Student Agencies send our deepest condolences to Kim’s family and friends and please give Dan Kathan a big hug from all of us here in Ithaca. We take comfort in knowing that Kim is free, like her spirit.

  8. Dianne Hinson July 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    We here at Wake Tech Health Sciences Campus have such fond memories of Kim even though she was here a short time…so vibrant, so full of life and passion for all she did, so caring. I still see her bouncing…jumping around my office in celebration of a bit of good news. Kim made a lasting impression on us all. Much love and comfort to John and your son and all those who love Kim.

  9. E. W. Halsey (@EWHalsey) July 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    I will carry Kim’s light in my heart, and I didn’t even know her. She is a friend of a friend; so thru soul synergy, I shall remain soul-invested. RIP Kim; your light will always cast a shadow..

  10. Sage July 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    A life lived with no fear! An example of everything we should all be living! I hope to #Transform any part of my life I’m not living to my fullest potential to living life ~ as good as it gets! Kim’s soulful spirit will live on in her son Jack, raised by a family who will teach him her everlasting spirit and passion for life. I’m so blessed to have met this beautiful family who has taught me so much about living! We may have #Caregiving in common, but living is the lesson Kimberly and John have brought to my heart. Journey on Kim!

  11. Natasha Huddleston, Hospice Nurse July 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    I was truly blessed and honored to have been able to participate and get to know Kim during her journey. Over and again in these posts, I read about her light, love, and positive energy. I could not put it better. Kim, for lack of a better word, glowed . She will be remembered as an inspiration and a light to me. One that I know death cannot extinguish. My thoughts are with all of you as you celebrate her life and mourn the loss of her presence.

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