I was walking a trail shortly after the benefit concert and ran into our friend, Dan, who had been there. “It’s really great,” he said, “what you and Daniel are doing with the Foundation.”
What he doesn’t realize, and what I’m realizing now, is that the Foundation saved us. Human beings, once their basic needs have been met, have higher order needs. We already have food and shelter, but when our son died, we lost purpose. What was purpose for us before? Well, sometimes it was chasing stupid things: Climbing the corporate ladder, getting A’s in school, traveling the world, making sure the iPhone didn’t run out of charge. At our finer moments, we knew our purpose was to take care of one another, to love each other as best as we knew how. Love gave our life meaning. And when Dragon died, a huge part of what gave our life meaning died too.
I remember when it first happened, our friend Tom from college gave us this advice: “Honor Dragon first, mourn him later.” We had a memorial service to honor Dragon and Justin, and soon after, we set up The Dragon Kim Foundation. Now our job is to keep the Foundation going, because it honors Dragon’s memory, and because it will help other kids lead amazing lives. Our hope is that they can live the lives Dragon and Justin never got to live.
It was that hope saved us. It got us out of bed on days where the reality was threatening to be too much. It gave us work to do, when we couldn’t do anything else. It gave us something positive to focus on, when we were living in a bombed out version of the life we used to love. When we ARE living in a bombed out version of the life we used to love.
One of the most impactful talks I’ve heard was a sermon from Pastor Dave Gibbons about purpose. To find what you are here to do, Dave said, ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Who is your neighbor?
2. What’s in your hand?
3. Where is your pain?
For me, the pain part was obvious. Losing your child is the most painful thing I can imagine. There is nothing worse.
What’s in my hand? I have business skills — project management, marketing, communication, web design, business administration.
Who is your neighbor? My community is what’s important to me. Raising children is what’s important to me.
How would you answer these questions, and to where do your answers lead? For me, somehow that all lead to The Dragon Kim Foundation — putting together where I hurt with who I care about and what I have to offer. So, Dan, thank you, for your comment about the Foundation. We certainly want the Foundation to give to the community. But we realize too what the Foundation has already given to us.
Grace Kim and her husband Daniel founded The Dragon Kim Foundation following the tragic loss of their son. You can hear more of their story at dragonkimfoundation.org.