Local mom to be featured in new Oprah Winfrey series

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Kim Kabar

Born 17 weeks premature and only weighing about one pound, Alex Kabar’s heart was simply too weak to continue beating. Just 20 minutes after his birth, Alex died in his mother’s arm.

But that’s not where his story ends.

For the weakness of her son’s heart had little to do with the life-long power of his soul, says his mother, Kim Kabar, of Long Beach.

Kabar, 47, will be sharing Alex’s story and the lessons she learned following his death during the October 25 episode of Oprah Winfrey’s new OWN series, LifeClasses, a daily one-hour show in which Oprah digs into her previous show’s archives and pulls out the episodes that taught her and her guests a deep meaning about life. This particular episode focuses on moving on after tragedy.

“I’ve always known my son had much more to give the world then just the 20 minutes that I was able to hold him,” said Kabar, a freelance writer and founder of Hungry for Less, a weight loss program that addresses emotional eating.

Producers from Harpo Productions contacted Kabar last month after finding a letter that she had written to Oprah more than five years earlier. After seeing a notice on the talk show host’s website asking viewers to let her know if any particular Oprah episode deeply impacted their lives, Kabar wrote a letter describing the impact of an episode she had watched six years earlier, just two months after she had given birth to Alex and his twin brother, Jason.

“At the time that show aired, Jason was still in the neonatal intensive care unit at Miller Children’s Hospital fighting for his life and I was majorly hurting over the loss of Alex,” said Kabar. “I didn’t understand why God would bless me with twins only to take one away.”

With questions swirling in her head about the meaning of everything she was experiencing at the time, Kabar followed her cousin’s suggestion to watch a particular episode of Oprah that her relative in Chicago had already watched.

The episode featured spiritual leader Gary Zukov, author of the bestseller “Seat of the Soul.” In the audience sat a couple named Jody and Ira. They shared with Zukov that just two months earlier they had also given premature birth to twin boys, one of which survived and the other who died. They asked Zukov how they could ever possibly recover from the loss of their son, Ryan.

“I feel like I know what it’s like to feel that power and that control over my life, but how do I get there again?” asked Jody. “How do I not let this loss and tragedy in my life take it over?”

Zukov began telling the couple that the power of Ryan was not in the two days that he lived but in the life-long gifts he brought to the world through the power of his soul.

“If you look at Ryan as a soul, a great soul like yourself who voluntarily entered the earth school and voluntarily left it, in order to be with you, and to offer gifts, then you will begin the process… appreciating and becoming grateful for the power of the interaction you had with that soul,” said Zukov. “And you will be able to receive the gifts that that soul came to this earth to give you, to give Ira, to give to his siblings—and if you do not, you will continually be turning away from those gifts. You will be denying the very wealth of wisdom and compassion that was offered to you by this soul.”

As Kabar listened to Zukov, she began to feel peace for the first time since her twins were born.

“To look at this soul as ‘Ryan’ would be to diminish the power and scope of the presence that came into your life and chose a personality—in this case, of an infant named Ryan,” said Zukov. “In other words, the soul is a great deal more than this personality, just as you are a great deal more than the personality that you are. If you begin to look at your interaction with Ryan as an interaction with a soul, then you will not so much have a tendency to be involved in the sentimentalism of thinking of Ryan, but begin to experience the power of this soul who came to be with you, and took the form of Ryan for a few days.”

Following that episode, Kabar came to believe that the meaning of her son’s life was not in the number of days he lived but in the gifts he brought to her and others through the power of his soul.

“Had I chosen to believe that there was no meaning, no purpose behind Alex’s birth and death, I would have also chosen to live my life in bitterness, sadness and resentment,” said Kabar. “I chose to respect Alex’s mission and learn from him so that I could help others.

Kabar began sharing the story of Alex and his remarkable surviving brother, who also weighed about a pound at birth and who is now a healthy 11-year-old attending 6th grade at Cubberly School, in magazines and newspapers. At five years old, Jason served as a March of Dimes ambassador and Kabar began volunteering for the non-profit organization to help other parents suffering similar losses.

“I’m proud of both my sons,” said Kabar. “Jason, for all the amazing obstacles he has had to overcome because of his premature birth and Alex for teaching me the power of the soul and for helping others every time I share his story.”

Oprah’s Lifeclass premiers October 10 on her OWN cable network. The six-week series airs Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. Check your local cable provider for channel.

Kim Kabar can be reached at kimkabar@hungry4less.com.

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