There are angels among us.
We just don’t realize it until they’ve departed for a new life.
If you doubt that, there are easily a hundred or so kids at the Boys & Girls Club who are living proof that there are angels.
Their angel was non-judgmental. She believed in them. She encouraged them to explore talents they never realized they had. She had faith in them. She opened her heart to them. And - perhaps most important of all - she had time for them.
Their angel taught them art. But in reality she taught and gave them much, much more.
It’s tough being a kid today especially in families that are struggling with a multitude of issues. Kids crave attention. Kids need someone who cares. Kids need unconditional love.
It is why every time their paths crossed with that of Kathy Aartman-Weed big smiles would light up their faces and hearts.
Kathy passed away Wednesday.
She was many things: A loving wife, doting parent, grandparent and great-grandparent, a caring teacher, devoted sister, devout Catholic, and a true friend. Kathy knew no strangers.
Kathy’s faith in people was contagious. She spent over 45 years opening doors as a teacher for high school students, special needs students, those learning a second language, the elderly, and the young. There never was a day she didn’t look forward to what lay ahead. Kathy would wake up with a song in her heart.
She did this despite suffering a tragedy that no mother should suffer - the loss of a young child.
The loss shook her faith. How - after all - can a loving God take an innocent child?
She found meaning in her child’s death through the grace of God. She was called upon months after her loss by clergy at St. Anthony’s to help console a young couple who had just lost a child. She helped give them strength. And they gave her renewed commitment to pursue a life of helping others.
Kathy made it a point to devote her energies to organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club and Soroptimists because they helped others. They fit well into what she saw as her purpose in life - to pay forward to help others whether they were strangers or friends.
She gave the Boys & Girls Club not just her time as well as heart and soul but her money. She bought art supplies for kids. She contributed and raised money to keep the doors open year in and year out. She even made sure they had $250 a month from her own pocket to keep the grounds landscaped and maintained. They were all things that she did quietly for Kathy wasn’t about glory. She was about unconditional love.
Arturo can vouch for that. He’s a 7-year-old Boys & Girls Club member who felt as if he was king of the world when he was around Kathy.
He’d be shy and keep to himself until the doors of the art room would open. Then he’d make a beeline for Kathy’s lap for a hug and a smile sometimes snuggling up as if to take a nap.
You can’t fool kids. They know an angel when they see one.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.