Purple was the color scheme for Kimberly Marie Sauter’s funeral. Dark and light purple balloon bouquets floated like colorful clouds by her casket and in the funeral home lobby. Several large floral displays emphasized purple flowers. Family and friends wore purple. It is a color of high spirituality. By fortuitous coincidence, I wore purple, too.
Pictures of Kim with her two young adult daughters Amber and Krysta adorned the lobby and cycled on the projection screen in the chapel. They showed a vivacious young woman with her “precious angel babies” as she called them. Kim was taken way too young at age 47 after fighting breast cancer for 15 months.
The 80 or so attendees all rose as the family entered the chapel. Pastor Ken Riley from Calvary of Albuquerque led an opening prayer of thanks. Kim’s brother-in-law Johnny McIntyre read the obituary and a eulogy he had prepared. This obit appeared in the Albuquerque Journal:
SAUTER — KIMBERLY MARIE Age 47, of Albuquerque died peacefully in the arms of her daughters on August 20, 2012, after a courageous battle with cancer. Kim is survived by her mother, Julie Sauter; daughters Amber Sanchez and Krysta Sanchez; sister Elizabeth McIntyre and her husband, John; brother Steven Sauter and his wife, Joanne; nieces Monica Ryan, Lindsay Hix and her sons, Ethan and Spencer, Brianna Sauter, and Kylie Sauter; nephews Sean McIntyre, Nicholas McIntyre and Chase Sauter; and numerous uncles, cousins and friends. She joins her father Ron Sauter and infant brother Gregory Sauter who preceded her in death. Kim’s vivacious personality, quick wit and laugh will be missed. The family would like to thank and recognize Keith Widinski for his love and support. The family also would like to thank the New Mexico Cancer Center.
John’s eulogy offered memories of Kim keyed to specific words. “This too shall pass” was her favorite phrase. These are the words he used to describe Kim.
Hair: “How can we forget that beautiful head of hair? Kim’s hair naturally minimized the number of bad hair days.”
Purple: “Purple was her favorite color. It’s made by combining red, which is hot, and blue, which is cold. It’s also a color commonly associated with spirituality.”
Wit: “She could make people laugh and hold her own in spirited conversation.”
Studious: “Kim was one very smart lady. She entered CNM in her 40s and showed you’re never too old to go back to school.”
Water: Kim loved the water, ever since her childhood in Hawaii when her dad was stationed there. You could find her on the water at Elephant Butte Lake, in the surf at Daytona Beach, and watching the waves at Galveston during a side trip made while in Houston for cancer treatment.
Determined: She faced difficult times with determination. She kept fighting the cancer for 15 months, because she had beat cancer before.
Caring: She raised her daughters as a single parent and loved her nieces and nephews.
Laugh: Her booming laugh could light up a room. She exemplified this most human delight of fun and pleasure.
John also shared a letter from Kim to her daughters dated January 11, 2012. She wrote it after it became apparent the treatments were no longer helping. A few sentences: “My precious angel babies, you both made my life worth living… Please always be happy and go to church… God will always help you when life seems overwhelming… I really do not want to be cremated… Remember me or I will come back to haunt you…”
How wonderful that she made it clear she did not want to be cremated. Not everyone lets their loved ones know how they would like their bodies treated after death.
Pastor Ken Riley led the assembled in singing the first and last verses of “Amazing Grace” before talking about Kim and her love of Jesus. “When I first met her four months ago, in spite of the disease, she was smiling, laughing and full of joy,” he said, adding, “If you want to see Kim again, you need to know Jesus Christ.”
He recited Thessalonians 13-18:
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep…. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
“We have comfort and hope for the future,” he said. “Kim is in the arms of God. She would want to see you all there. Consider this a seed in your heart.”
He closed the service with a prayer of thanks to God and to all who came to celebrate Kim’s life. The DVD of photos and music that Kim loved, including Garth Brooks’ song “The Dance,” would be shared at the reception following burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Her brother Steve Sauter held the reception at his home.
Everyone received a photo print of a smiling Kim and her fabulous hair.
If you have memories, thoughts or stories about Kim Sauter you’d like to share, please post in the comments section below.