It’s Gratituesday. Today I feel profound gratitude for the five years I enjoyed with my best friend Kathy. She passed away early on Friday.
She was ready for it. For her, death arrived with relief and peace and hope.
We had talked openly and frequently about death during her war years with cancer. Turns out that theory and talk didn’t prepare me for this reality.
I’ve never seen anyone with such a capacity for honesty and directness. Never one to beat around a bush, Kathy simply says what she thinks. And somehow, through charm or charisma, or that cutesy high-pitched teenage voice, she gets away with it. In fact, I’ve found myself emulating her straightforward ways and am all the better for it.
Spunky, gutsy, and get ‘er done doesn’t quite do her justice. If she set her mind to something you’d better get out of the way or pick up a hammer and get to work beside her. Determination resonates as her middle name.
Hand in hand with such spunk is her fearlessness which still dazzles me. My breath catches when I think of the countless number of times she faced a new chemo treatment, another experimental drug, another bone biopsy. Courage of astounding proportions resided in that heart of hers.
She wrapped her all around her children and her husband. Family first, family always. We talked more about her family than any other topics combined. She loves that bunch of people with every bit of herself. Literally and figuratively.
Her fierce capacity for love, listening, acceptance and caring radiated and warmed so many.
Whatever I come up with to express gratitude for her sounds so inadequate. The right words seem caught on the jagged edges of this crater left in my heart by her passing.
Unlike Kathy, I find myself woefully unprepared for her death.
This surprising onslaught of grief seems equally weighted against the laughter, joy and beauty she brought into my life for which I will be forever grateful.