I woke up thinking about Kate today, so I decided to repeat this blog from my former Salon.com blog
This may sound stupid, but I am kind of shocked that you died today. I know that you have been sick for years, and that you fought and fought. I guess I thought you would beat this. I really did. How could a thing like cancer take down a woman with a smile that just beamed positive energy?
Kate, I know that we haven’t been close, and this letter may seem odd, especially now, but you were a comfort to me over the years. I usually need all of the comforting I can get. I tend to be a nervous Nellie, and a worrier. So, whether you know it or not, you have comforted me a few times over the years.
The first was the very first time I met you. It was the first time that I went to a Newcomer’s function, and it was a luncheon at Biaggi’s. Kate, you were at the table when I walked in, distributing the nametags. I was nervous. I had thought about leaving and going back home to the pets and the computer, but you gave me a real smile. You sat with me at lunch, and told me about how you had moved to Fort Wayne from Wisconsin almost three years earlier to marry the love of your life. I admired you for that – leaving your home and family for love. Good for you, Kate.
One time, a short while after that luncheon, I was worried about driving somewhere because the weather was bad. Being a Florida native, driving in snow still makes me nervous. Anyway, you volunteered to pick me up because you were “from Wisconsin and drove a 4×4.” I never took you up on that, but I wish I had.
That last time I really talked to you was a year ago. It was almost exactly a year ago. I saw you as I was leaving Panera, after a Newcomer’s coffee. Since you had already moved on from the club, you had just come in on your own. I stood with you in the coffee line, and asked you how you were doing. You said you were doing well and still fighting, but I felt like you were growing tired. Being you, you asked about me, taking the conversation away from yourself. I told you about some problems I had been having with my son. You told me that you had had similar issues with one of your daughters, and that she was a wonderful young woman now. You told me not to worry, and that these things work themselves out. I felt so much better after I left.
I didn’t see you after that, Kate. I heard about your progress from others. I heard that things weren’t going well. I wanted to do something for you, to help somehow, but I didn’t know how. Now, you are no longer fighting. You are free from pain, and that is comforting. I hated that you were suffering. You didn’t deserve to suffer, not that anyone does. Well, I guess I can think of some people who do, but definitely not you.
If I believed in heaven, and angels, as you did, Kate, I would say that you are already an angel. Instead, I believe in energy and light, and you have always been both of those things.