Kimber (Henshaw) Kane shares her thoughts about her stepdad, Ken. Recorded by Steve Nelson, November 14, 1997

Photo By: Christopher Galfo

Photo By: Christopher Galfo

As the stars began to fade and the moon was setting, Kimber Kane was dreaming. She knew that her step-dad was ill, but she did not know the gravity of the situation. The night before he died, she had a dream, a very real but unusual dream. She'd dreamt of talking with Ken in a "very intense but okay moment." When she received the call from her mother that next day, her first comment was "I know already." Kimber struggled to find sufficient words to express this experience, one she could only describe as "spooky," yet "spiritual." Kimber vividly recalled her dream: remembering Ken's hospital bed and the big Boston fern hanging in the background. She cannot recall what was said, but she knew that he had made everything okay with "peace and acceptance."

After the ceremony at her mother's home, Kimber was listening to her sister-in-law, Valerie, talk about the unbelievable moment she experienced when Ken died. Kimber then shared her experience about the dream, the bed and the Boston fern. When Kimber got to the part about the Boston fern, Valerie asked, "the NO, NO Plant?" Evidently, Beverly did not want any of the grandchildren to touch the plant. So -- Kimber ran upstairs to find the significance. When she looked at the Boston fern, it had a ring hanging from it. She turned to her mother and abruptly asked her about the ring. The woman sitting next to her said it was a healing ring she had made for Ken, and she had put it there the night before he died. It was very eerie at this point. Beverly asked Kimber why she had asked. Kimber said the Boston fern and the bed were in her dream. The Boston fern reaffirmed Kimber's belief that Ken had indeed spoken to her through the dream the previous night. Three weeks later, Beverly called Kimber to ask how she knew where Ken's hospital bed was located. Kimber then told her mother again about the dream. To this day, Kimber has been researching Indian tradition and collecting all types of American Indian artifacts. "Grandma Bevy" has made all of the grandchildren dream catchers for their rooms.

Kimber searched for adequate words to describe her stepdad: "strong, respectful, compassionate, warm, an absolute gem of a person, he was the gentle genius. He was a wonderful father figure. He accepted us into the family immediately. I remember when we had our black shepard Cinder; we would call him [Ken] Grizzly Adams."

Kimber recalled special moments, moments which have become important sources of strength for her. She remembers the time she'd spoken with Ken on the phone while he was sick; she had been extremely worried about him, and what would happen to her mother should Ken die. Kimber said that she remembered feeling scared. Ken calmed her fears. He said, "Let me tell you something--your mother and I are strong."

Beverly helped Kimber and her siblings cope with Ken's physical passing in many ways. One way was by having David and Kimber make a salt lick box to place in their yard. They inscribed the words "Gentle Genius," words they felt described Ken best, on the salt lick box. Kimber remembers that David and herself were freezing but "determined and driven," while out in the garage. The experience has become very important to them. Beverly has sent them pictures of deer visiting the box, a sign of sharing that has helped them to understand the cycle of life and death.

Kimber said that despite Ken's physical death, there are moments when she strongly feels his presence about her and her family. She recalled a time that her daughter, Kalyn, at age 2, was riding in the car with her "Gramma Ruth," and she screamed in a frantic voice, "STOP GRAMMA RURT, STOP!" Kalyn pointed at the sky and told her grandma to "look, look." Her grandma pulled over concerned . . . but then Kalyn said, "Don't worry, it's just Grandpa Ken."

Kimber's message to Steve: February 11, 1998

I talked to my mother the same day I talked to you, and she told me that recently one deer visited her at her door and stood there and looked at her for a long time. She even went and got the camera. The deer was still there when she returned to the door. It let her take photos. I told her to tell you, but she kinda laughed like no one would believe her. I wish you could see the influence it has made in my life.