* R.i.P. *
1986 – 2019
Sunny and Allen met in junior high at Bartlett. Their tight-knit group was close throughout high school. Although they drifted apart during his college era, they rekindled their friendship a few years ago and remained good friends. Watching him mourn her loss makes me feel helpless– it hurts seeing him in pain. I hope he knows that he never has to endure grief alone.
His…often hilarious and always entertaining…stories about Sunny left me eager to meet her. We finally met at Urban Outfitters. I had the passenger visor flipped down and was scrambling around trying to find some eyeliner. Without hesitation she reached into her purse and offered me hers– to keep. That small gesture spoke volumes about her kindness and generosity. Allen stepped away to take a call and we continued chatting. I’m sure by most civilized folk’s standards our girl talk would be rather crass and raunchy, but that’s what made it all the more delightful. The ability to share a candid dialogue with another female who has walked a mile in my shoes let me know she was a kindred spirit.
Beyond that day I think I saw her two more times. We also spoke semi-regularly on Messenger. She never hesitated to call Allen out and poke fun of him [in a loving way], the way you do with those to whom you are close. It saddens me to think I will never see her again, never be able to continue what I felt was a blossoming friendship.
Sunny with Sadie and Sailor ☀️
Because I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Sunny very well, I wanted to share some words from somebody who did. This passage comes from the wife of her cousin, Joey Noffsinger. According to Allen this description fits her perfectly:
“There are beautiful, terrible stories in this world. Some we see from a distance and some that are apart of our inner lives. This one touches many of us. We are broken hearted to say that Kimbrell Sunny has passed away. She left us on March 3. She was a beautiful girl inside and out in more than a few ways. She tried to help others when she could even from within prison walls. She sent letters to women in prison when she was out in hopes of encouraging them not to give up. She helped her friend recently while he was fighting a battle with cancer. Sunny was a fighter, no doubt. For good or bad she did not give up easily. She lived with loss and tragedy even from a small child. She lost her best friend and sister Jamie Ray when she was about 7 years old. She lost her mother Candace Noffsinger and father James Kimbrell and recently her grandmother Cora Noffsinger. Throughout all her losses and struggles Sunny continued to fight, to love, to hope, to dream. I believe she fought to the end. I believe we are more than our failures, more than our struggles. Sunny was not a one dimensional person. She brought fun and light to many around her. She gave my husband and I the best gift we’ve even been given.. our precious girls. I don’t understand so much about life but I believe she was used by God in bringing these two amazing girls into this world. For that we are forever grateful. She loved them. She called and sang happy birthday to Sailor Wednesday. She seemed to have a premonition about her death, posting on her Facebook page that she’d be gone soon. We pray now that she is living free and full of life with her sister and family and friends who have gone before her. We love you Sunny. Shine bright sweet girl. You will be missed.” ~ Mende Noffsinger
Echoing the sentiments of several others, I deeply regret one of the final conversations I had with her. Hindsight is always 20/20. You just never know which interaction might be the last one you have with a person….
At the time my reaction [irritated, incredulous, & incensed] seemed proportional to the situation. Looking back I realize that I should have seen my own behavior mirrored in her actions and recognized the struggle. Instead of chastising her I should have reached out and been a better friend. When things are going well in your life and the demons lie dormant, it’s easy enough to forget you were once in the trenches. Those stupid appliances taught me a valuable lesson that I can’t afford to forget.
Rest easy, Sunny. Corny as it may sound– the world is pretty damn cloudy without you in it. You will be missed.
P.S. I couldn’t resist whipping out the Nutbush tag. 😳👽👑
With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,