ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — Kimberly Mendes’ family is grappling to find how to continue after she was suddenly killed in a crash earlier this week, but they are remembering her as the devoted sister, mother, wife, and nurse who was the voice of reason in their family.
Pink Howell, Mendes’ sister, spoke with WATE, saying Mendes had just returned to her job as a nurse in Knoxville after she had given birth to her youngest child who is now 8 months old.
“Kimberly is a very beautiful person inside and out. And she is a devoted- she was a devoted mother, and her family was her life and her ultimate joy. She has devoted most of her life to being just a good mom and a good wife. And she has also been very dedicated to serving others,” Howell said. “Even when we were young, she already knows she already knew that she would be a nurse just because she wanted to help people out. So she was very compassionate, very kind and she translated those great traits of her to her profession as a nurse.”
Howell said while she and her sister have lived hundreds of miles apart since 2013, they spoke every day.
“She would always be the one to FaceTime you to message you like, ‘What’s up? What’s going on?’ every single day because she always had this… She always had it in her heart that life is short. We always collect memories and she always say tomorrow is not promised.”
Mendes also made it a point for their families to see each other every year, Howell said. She explained they always planned trips with their families together to visit different places like Disney, Universal, and the river. Now, Howell and the rest of Mendes’ family are figuring out how to move forward from the tragedy.
“Kim is my only sister. I couldn’t even grapple with the idea of not having her around. It felt like it’s not real. Like why, a sudden, in a flash, you lose a sister. It… It doesn’t seem real and it’s very difficult, but my sister has. Kimberly is younger than me, but she is like my anchor, she was the source of my strength,” Howell said. “She is, she was the voice of reason in her family, and without her… It just turned my world upside down and I don’t even know how you move forward or how you move on with losing a sister.”
While Medes’ death was sudden and unexpected, her family and community are finding strength in keeping her memory alive.
“It’s always so painful to lose a loved one in a tragedy, but we always find strength in knowing that Kimberly has touched so many lives and has been a wonderful person too. If you ask her friends, her church, family, her neighbors and all our family, we could only say great things about her and I guess we just wanted to remember her and keep her memory alive. And all the good things that, and all the great things that she did and how she made us feel, which she always made everybody feel good,” Howell said.