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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Not Full Circle

I wonder where she is today. I miss them very much.


This is the post that I've avoided writing for months. Mostly because I've so wanted to have a different ending to this story of K and the kids. But in fact, this story only ends with a mystery and that is very saddening and dissatisfying to me.

I am not one for uncertainty, as most people aren't. I expect explanations and causes and reasons and facts. I expect to get the answers I'm looking for.

But in order to feel like there's not a shadow hanging over me anymore, I'll post this non-end, non-story and hope that after I finish, I'll have picked up some sort of lesson learned.

Shit, now I'm crying as I type this. I didn't want to cry but I can't help that now.


Many of you were so kind and generous to support K and her family when I first met them on a cold sidewalk in April. I can't even begin to backtrack this story but most of you who will read this already know the journey of this little family. I think it's because of you that I've been holding out on wrapping things up, mostly because I know that you as well as I wanted to end this story in the manner that we had envisioned.

It's not like there's a bad ending to this story. It's just that there's no ending, no satisfaction I can give you. My goal had been to help them get set up in their new home, which they may very well be living in by now. I had many of you onboard to donate household items and things for the kids. All I needed was the address to send these things to.

At the end of July, early August, right after my grandmother passed away, things were coming to a definite direction with K and the kids. They were days away from moving into their new home. Just about at that time, I lost contact with them. K's second cell phone was broken and supposedly it was getting repaired. I had no more money to give them, but we tried to keep in touch. She gave me an address where they would be moving so I could set up the wishlists for people to send items to. But the address was incomplete, or wrong.

Long story short, I could not get back in touch with her to confirm the address. I had made K promise not to leave town without saying goodbye and she had given me her word that I would see them again. But I never did. I've looked for them downtown so many times and in not seeing them in places I would have expected to, I can only hope that for whatever reason I do not know where they are, that they are warm and safe and healthy.

I did not think that K's birthday would go by without me seeing her and giving her a present. She turned 29 this past October. Her daughter's birthday is two days after mine. And now here it is, Christmas Eve, and my heart just breaks. Not because I can't be with them, but because it makes me sad to think that I won't know how those kids are, what will happen to them. They're beautiful, good kids, trust me. Those of you who met them know this.


I haven't written this post because I just couldn't bring myself to do it. For the longest time, I blamed myself for failing in some way. Which is ridiculous but it still didn't keep me from feeling like a total loser. If you know me, you know I don't like to do anything half-assed and I don't like to fail. And all this felt like was a total FAIL.

And I still get emails from people who want updates, which is totally normal and expected. It's not normal for someone to disappear from your life like that, poof! without some reason why. I can't explain it myself and the last thing I've wanted to do is cause others to doubt K and the fact that she truly needed us, and that we truly helped her. Because we did and that is something I DO know.

I've had different reactions from people, some who are angry at her on my behalf ("after all you've done for her?!") and the expository questions ("do you think she went back to her abusive husband?", "do you think she was lying to you?") and after a while, that stuff just made me extra crazy too. Honestly, I kept waiting for the phone to ring. And I didn't want to feed anyone else's imagination when I didn't have the facts.

In my heart of hearts, I know K is a good mother. She had to be to take her children away from such a dire and dangerous situation. I am trying to be okay with the idea that this is really where the story ends, as far as I am involved. It's hard. It's not what I wanted.


At the end of the day, what I hope most for them is that they are happy and well and taken care of. I know I played a tiny part in their lives to that goal. Along the way I made new and wonderful friends that I still cherish.

Perhaps someday that phone will ring and I'll know more. K has my number. Perhaps, but I won't wait on it anymore. It's time to move on and let the story be what it is: unfinished. I never thought a story without an ending could be a good one but I'm going to hope that this one is.


ps. To all of you good hearts out there who are reading this and understand, thank you. I do feel better for writing this all down now.

pss. I have to thank Lisa at HAMO for inspiring me this morning to sit down and write this post. Like me, she is just a regular person who wanted to make a difference, and in her way, she is doing amazing things to help mothers and children in need.


Louis Duke Photography December 24, 2009 at 6:53 PM  

Oh, Julie this is just so beautiful.

These words truly flow from your heart in such a pure manner. We may not know you in reality, but we feel a deep, true connection through words like this.

K's life story became "K and the kids" because of your involvment. You helped change this woman's life on such a deep level. It is truly touching.

If the world had the open heart that you have, think of how better this place would be.

I am really proud of you for your involvment in their lives, you inspire me, you inspire all of us.

I do not pretend to understand how hard it was for you to write this post. Not knowing how they ended up must be the greatest of torture for you.

I am happy you did write this though. We all needed some form of closure, and you have given us such. You may never know what becomes of them, all you can do now is hope for the best, and trust that their lives are in their own stable hands now. Trust that the loving mother has found a safe and stable home for her family, and that she has settled down, and one day, just one day, you will recieve a phone call from her that will again, change your life.

RNSANE December 24, 2009 at 10:42 PM  

Julie, it is difficult not to know where "K" and her children are and what they are doing. You can only console yourself with the knowledgge that you did your best, your reached out to touch the life of anothr human being and, for a time, you had to make it better. You may hear from her eventually but, if you don't, I hope it doesn't change your basic willingness to reach out to other human beings. That is what makes you so special!

affinity December 25, 2009 at 12:15 AM  

Thank you for doing the hard thing and telling us what we have been wondering. I always appreciate it when someone acknowledges their pain or their joy or their confusion.

Kelly Kilmer December 25, 2009 at 2:25 AM  

Thank you, Julie.

When one does their best, one can only hope for the best, which is what we will do.

Merry Christmas.


melissashook December 25, 2009 at 9:29 AM  

dear Tangobaby,
As someone who knew and cared about and worked with women who were homeless, I can say that giving in what matters, and there's no knowing what will happen. I'm sure your care for her was very important...... and you have to leave it like that.
Folks who get into that situation come from long, difficult histories. Some work like the devil, fifteen, twenty times harder than you and I will ever work, to get their noses above the water...ultimately, they have to do all that work, a bit of help from the side of the stage, but it's damn hard...
it's wonderful that you were in their lives...be grateful for that....
take care of yourself....

d smith kaich jones December 25, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

It's hard to know what to really say here except thank you for letting us know and I'm so sorry and I hope everything is okay with K & the kids.

You do what you do, as you did when faced with certain situations, and you do it not knowing the ending, though hoping for the best. And really, that's all you can do.

I am so sorry to hear this, but I don't for one moment think those 2 older kids are gonna forget this episode in their lives. Ever. No matter what is going on now, no matter where they are.

A Christmas wish that they are safe, warm, happy. And you too. Take care.


Colleen December 25, 2009 at 12:19 PM  

You did not fail. What you did was inspiring to so many people. As someone who has worked with people going through trauma, I can say that the non-ending to this story is not unusual. Had you not been there, there would have been a very definite ending to K's story, and it would not have been a happy one. You have changed many people's lives through your interaction with K. Thank you!

The Rambler December 26, 2009 at 12:01 AM  

Julie....not doing anything...not stopping that day the way you did...not getting involved to help those children. THAT would have been worse than failing. YOU my dear, did a great deed.

Maybe you will not see the results of the good you did for K and her family or but maybe down the road, one of those children will be an adult knocking on your door, thanking you for that time long ago that you gave their mother a chance to believe and hope again.

Other people would have kept walking by. YOU decided to make a difference. This world needs more people like you!

Mele Kalikimaka Julie.


Marilyn Miller December 26, 2009 at 6:15 AM  

You touched their lives and for that you should be at peace. It is difficult wondering and I do hope at some point K will contact you. Thanks for being you and caring, then updating us. I wondered what happened to them too.

msHedgehog December 26, 2009 at 7:19 AM  

I wish them luck, too. I hope they're OK. They don't owe me anything.

J9 December 26, 2009 at 9:05 AM  

I agree with RNSANE, and I thank you for letting us know tht this was where your part of the story has left off. Many of us will continue to help with no expectation of happy endings, or even endings. ;-) Love you bunches!

The Sonia Show December 26, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

Julie, I continue to be in awe and inspired by your big heart! You are so very kind. I know that was a difficult post to write, but thank you so much for sharing.

LT December 26, 2009 at 12:12 PM  

Hi Julie, This is such a wonderful post. I had no idea my little tweet would inspire you to write this un-ending of K's story. K and the kids are forever changed by YOUR ACTIONS. My friend, YOU are forever changed by your actions. They will never forget you or what you did for their family - even if she is unable to reach out, indefinitely. You did what you could with what you had - this is a pure act of generosity. Thank you for being one of my inspirations. I'm so glad we met because of K.

I'm Katie. December 26, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

You helped K and the kids in huge and incredible ways, and you also started ripples of compassion throughout San Francisco, the blogoshpere, and therefore the world.

I know from my personal life that I now *see* homeless people. I donate and have finally looked into volunteering- all because of your courage leading the way.

Thank you a thousand times,


Just Jules December 26, 2009 at 6:40 PM  

I have been wondering. But, figuring no news was NOT good news. I did not dare ask.

Thank you for the update.

People come into our lives when we need them to. And they leave when they are suppose to . This is a hard thing to believe, but it helps me. K came into your life when YOU needed her to. She saved you as much as you saved her.

Chocolate Cat December 27, 2009 at 1:23 AM  

You did an amazing thing by giving K and her children an opportunity to know that others care, what they do with that opportunity is up to them. Have strength in the knowledge that you made a difference to their lives and to the lives of many others like them by opening others eyes. Thank you for sharing their story and I wish like you there was the 'Happily ever after' ending that we would all like. Maybe one day.

~DokterKenny December 27, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

I agree with Kate Jules..You rose to the occasion. You served your fallow man with dignity and purpose. What you did was a complete act of selflessness.

Time to go forward with a smile and closure and if it is meant to be. You will cross paths again.


tangobaby December 27, 2009 at 10:11 AM  

Thanks to all of you here who have left a comment. In this particular situation, where it felt a bit bleak, your words mean a great deal.

I've tried to reply to all of you personally either via email or on your blogs. However, there are a few of you who don't have your email accessible on your blog, or have that imbedded comments feature on your post, which for some reason, Firefox won't let me comment in. For some reason, I can only comment on blogs that have the pop up window.

So for those of you I couldn't reach personally, I hope you find this comment here and my many thanks!

Teri and her Stylish Cats December 27, 2009 at 6:43 PM  

It's been months since I've stopped to visit and today in trying to go from a-z, I stopped and read your post...

I am sad too, and thought of the times in the past 20 years of breeding Cornish Rex cats of the few (#4) people who I have lost track of and how it pains me to not know where my cats are; to think their owners were thoughtless in not knowing how keeping in touch was so important to my happiness...and in each instance, it was due to divorce that that connection was lost...non working phone #'s, bounced back emails...that same sense of a non-ending.

But I am still reachable, still at the same email and still can be found easily by googling...so I still hold out hope I will hear from these lost ones someday.

My heart goes out to you...

Dutchbaby December 27, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

Thank you for your brave update. It must be terribly frustrating, worrisome, and aggravating to not know where they are and how they are doing. You can be assured that you did everything, absolutely everything, in your power to help them. You made a true difference; give yourself a huge pat on the back! Well done!


Anonymous December 28, 2009 at 12:37 AM  

you make me cry. merry christmas julie

kath December 28, 2009 at 2:33 PM  

Julie, Merry Christmas, your heart is so big and you've touched so many people. You weren't there to save them you were there to carry them for a part of their journey. You did all the right things, this IS a success story. The pinnacle was attained the very first day that you looked in another woman's eyes and turned around and went back. Everything over and above that was much more than many will ever dream to give.
*my word verification is "complis" a made up word but I love that it has a bit of the word accomplishment in it and that it might be a word that means a story finished yet still unfolding.