Women's Journal

Exploring Life, Loss, and Legacy: An Exclusive Interview with Acclaimed Author Kimberly Harms

Exploring Life, Loss, and Legacy: An Exclusive Interview with Acclaimed Author Kimberly Harms
Photo Courtesy: Dr. Kimberly Harms

By: Michael Beas – Atlas Elite Publishing

In the wake of loss, we frequently find ourselves battling with substantial questions about life, sense, and the legacy we leave. Renowned author, Kimberly Harms, found these issues especially poignant after the death of her husband, Jim. At 63 years old and unexpectedly alone for the first time in her life, Harms commenced a journey of self-discovery and reflection that eventually led to the production of her current book, “Are You Ready?: How to Build a Legacy to Die For.”

In this exclusive interview, Kimberly Harms discusses her thoughts and experiences, giving readers a look into the motives and inspirations that drive her very personal and transforming art.

What inspired you to write “Are You Ready?: How to Build a Legacy to Die For”? 

When my husband, Jim , passed away, I was 63 years old and alone for the first time in my life. I married Jim at 19 and have always had a purpose and identity. I was a student, then a wife then a dentist then a mother, then a grieving mother then a caretaker and now what? I decided that I had suddenly found myself in the “Fourth Quarter” of my life, and was determined to do it well. I started researching, became a certified death doula and wrote a book on what I believe encompasses “everything you need to know before you go.” 

In Part One, you discuss building positive legacies like love, peace, trust, education, and hard work. Can you share some examples of individuals who have successfully passed on these traits through generations? 

Yes! We have these people all around us. Almost anyone you ask can find an amazing legacy leaver in their family. My mother, although mentally ill, gave me the greatest gifts of all; love and faith. Among my friends and their family members I discovered a holocaust survivor who laughed and danced her way through her 80’s, my husbands family who worked together on the family farm and found ways to make work fun, the destitute widow from India who helped her son rise above his station and educate himself and his family, and a young boy who left China alone at age 10, became a successful businessman and instilled the value of hard work into his family. The list goes on and on about simple people who, through love, left an enduring legacy to the families they left behind. 

Part Two explores the concept of death as either a grim or gentle reaper. What led you to delve into this topic, and what did you discover during your research?

One of the fascinating subjects to research is the Near Death Experiences (NDE). Whether you believe they point to the afterlife as I do or believe that they are hallucinations our brain produces at time of death, the vast majority of them are peaceful and even inspiring experiences. 

Near death experiences and life after death are intriguing subjects. How did your exploration of these topics influence your perspective on life and legacy?
My personal belief is that there is a God and that our purpose in life is to love God and love people. In my mind the NDE research supported my belief. However there are those who do not believe in a God and an afterlife and have a different interpretation of NDE’s. Whether you believe your spirit will continue on in some capacity or not, leaving the people you love with an enhanced ability to continue on and flourish without you is one of the important things you can do in your life. 

Part Three of your book is a workbook to help prepare loved ones for life without us. What prompted you to include practical tools like checklists and templates? 

As a dentist I was very focused on thoroughly completing the task ahead of me. With that in mind, I realized there were many tasks that we could complete to help our survivors survive. For me, a checklist is the stellar way to make myself accountable. You don’t have to do everything on the list, but I think it is helpful to think about the advantages to your survivors to have them completed.

Learn more about Dr. Kimberly Harms’ work visiting her website

Published by: Martin De Juan

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