Lucia Idea, and Confusion

comments: 22

FleursI know a lot of people have shared this photo, from the current issue of Marie Claire Idees, but I had to show it again. I can't stop looking at it, in all its delicate, gentle beauty. I think these would be gorgeous, hung above a table, or over a Christmas village, or high aloft a baby crib? Just beautiful.

LuciaideaI'm going to translate those wintry blossoms, somehow, into the little Lucias I mentioned I wanted to make a few weeks ago. Of course now I'm running late with the idea (when before I felt too early), but we'll see if this happens. I'm behind in everything, but your orders really are trickling out (despite successful Violet-type efforts to the contrary). They are happening, and everything will be out this week, I promise.

But the quiet poignancy of last week slowed me, most of us, to a sad, bewildered float. As I thought about and prayed for the Kims, I spent hours with my head in the dog's bed alongside Audrey, and it felt good to just take care of someone, good to feel the impossible softness of her grateful chin, heavy in my palm. But there was, parallel to that softness, the ever-present frustration of not being able to do enough or even anything for her; the unwillingness to gracefully accept that our collective hope for the Kims could not find them in time; the panic that is really a memory of pain, felt when I remember the times I have been lost, when I think about the people I love or don't even know who are worried, stumbling, looking, whose feet hurt. Sometimes it seems that bearing witness is all we can do. I don't know. Is that right? I don't know. If that's it, I will do it, as it has been done for me.

When confused, crafting is always good medicine. So, donations, handmade gifts after all, Lucia dolls, to bring more light to this time.


Alicia you have the most wonderful way with words...just beautiful. Crafting is always good medicine (along with a great cup of tea - my mother's solution to everthing). I'm sure the Kim's can feel our thoughts and prayers and that somehow, even though we feel like we are doing nothing - it is helping.

your words, they are truly like a hug for us all. I don't know how you do that, but you do.

I so wish we could hang out and lucia together today, I'm sure you would motivate me, I'm completely uninspired but trying to get there.

What a poignant way to describe it, the bearing witness. The telling of the story that it may be re-told, and never forgotten. It honours the lost and the grieving, marking a place for them in space and time that says: We saw. We know.

I think, sometimes it is all we can do. I think, sometimes it is a lot.

those are beautiful ephemera.
it seemed like the world stopped last week, didn't it.

The thing I think we can take from this, despite the sadness, is to realize so clearly how much we value our loved ones and to try and create a little beauty for each other in the world. Lucia brings her candlelight and you bring light to us with your words and photos.

thank you for this post

And yes, I think that's right - what there is for us to do is simply bear the light, bear witness to the light, even in the midst of great pain, and even when we feel nothing is enough.

I have shed more tears then I can count for the Kim family. I lived in Medford ORegon and grew up northern california. I watched and updated every hour. just praying - keeping hope for him for her for those girls. People I don't know and will never know - they have touched me. I am them, my husband is him and it breaks my heart. I pray that those girls know and hear our prayers. I walk outside into the cold of night to grocery shop and all I can think of is the kim family. of the cold of the sadness. it has hit me and changed me. I so pray for them. there really aren't words.
Courtney -

I hope that, however deep their grief, the Kims can feel the outpouring of love and concern for them, and feel some comfort from it. Every time I have to go outside, to take trash to the bin or get the mail, for example, the cold hits me and I think of James Kim out in it for days, and I get teary-eyed again.

I think what makes it so poignant for me is that he was good-intentioned in every way: he wanted his family to have a beautiful view of the ocean, so he took care to find the scenic route; when they were stuck, he waited nine days before venturing out for help, and when he died, it was in pursuit of help for his family. He had every good intention. I was so sad to read in the paper that he was less than a mile from a fully-stocked summer lodge that they could have entered and found food and warmth--and that they had no way of knowing it was there.

Courtney, I understand what you are saying: my husband is a software engineer and I'm the mother of a four-year-old and one on the way, so the Kims sound a lot like our family. I think Alicia is right: we can only bear witness and try in some small way to share their pain.

You are such a light in this world. You repeatedly make my heart remember what it's made for. Thank you.

I wanted to write something equally as eloquent as Kelly in previous post... and can't say it any better than she did.

My heart was very heavy for the Kim's and I found my solace in baking for the last three days. It's getting me in the Holiday spirit.

I hope Miss Audrey is feeling better. Give her pets for me.


I wish you could see the front of the Apothecary store on Church St. The number of flowers, candles, notes and so forth is beautifully overwhelming.

I definitely like to deal with sadness by diving into a project - like my almost possible to finish tree skirt I decided to do this year. Cutting out over 100 little tabs is meditative.

jeanne-marie says: December 09, 2006 at 06:34 PM

this will be my 35th year as a lucia. graduated from the little lightbulb crown to the cadlewax in the hair crown at age 8.

i just finished our glogg party page:

and there's a lot of info on lucia here:

just doing it every year makes me happy. our family tradition goes back over 2 centuries. i feel honored to be a link in that chain.

not to mention, the recipients love it too . .

Your words are touching. I don't know the Kims, but I too deeply felt the loss for this family. I was heartbroken for them and still am. I've lain awake praying for all of them, can't stop thinking about them and the pain they are going through. I don't know what else we can do.

Well written as usual, Alicia. I too was "slowed" last week. I had been started on the holiday decorating when I first heard that the family was lost, and then slowed while the search was on, and then delayed when they found Kati and the girls. Then came to a complete halt while they searched for James and then stalled during the first two days after they found his body. Who could decorate cheerfully when such a tragedy had occured. I too, think of them every time I've gotten in my car (a Saab as well)this week to drive somewhere and felt chilled. I've wondered if I could have last as long as they managed to. I don't think so. But it is truly miraculous what the drive of nuturing parenthood will do.

Alisa Logue says: December 10, 2006 at 08:13 AM

Alicia, Your blog was the first place I heard about the Kim's. I live in Grants Pass. We were up off of Bear Camp Road getting a Christmas tree with a group of friends the Saturday morning that James set out on his own. We saw the rescue helicopter. It flew low right over the top of us. I took a picture not knowing at the time what was going on. They even looped around and came back over- now I know. It all just breaks my heart. I replay a million 'what-ifs' in my mind. There were a lot of people on the mountain that day. What if we had taken a different road? Could we have found them? I feel guilt for the joy our family and friends experienced that day as we played in oblivion to the tragedy that was unfolding mere miles away from us. But then I take refuge in the knowledge that God is good and that He is our comfort. I pray that Kati will experience His peace that passes understanding. James is a hero and that is his legacy. He taught me to hold my babies closer, not to take my husband for granted, and to cherish the beauty of life. Thankyou James Kim. -Alisa

Thank you Alicia for speaking what so many of us feel...

Alicia, I would love to know where you found the marie claire ideas in the states. I have looked online and all I can find a subscription. Thanks!

I have felt bewildered at how much the Kim's story affected me. How sad it made me and how I could not stop thinking of them for several days, to the point of finding myself going through the futile exercise of trying to picture all the different happy-ending scenarios that could have happened instead.
It's very difficult at times like this, even if you have a belief in a Higher Power as I do, to try to make sense of why these things happen.
I guess we must just accept, and go on with our crafts, and our families - two and four-legged.


Thank you so much for your sweet posts. You are an absolute duckie! Sorry, I've been so remiss on my blogging and responding, but I'm here plodding away, sussing stuff out. We all need to grieve.

But jollier posts are on the way! Thank you so much for stopping by my wee bloggie!

By the way, I adore your blog. It's hot chocolate reading--very comforting and snuggly. And well written to boot!

your post is so comforting. yes, creativity is a great blessing at times like this and always. L.

For those who have asked, I have a subscription to MC Idees -- just check with Amazon to get one. It's hard to find in stores.

As always you write such wonderful, eloquent posts. Thank you for posting about the Kims in your blog after I commented randomly in your blog with the news as you were the only person I "knew" in the Portland area. When I saw your post about them appear, I felt like a had done a small, helpful thing in the midst of feeling so utterly helpless for this poor family. So well you put how hard it is to accept gracefully that our collective hope couldn't find them all in time.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at