Remembering Kathy

Fifteen years ago today, someone very important to me died.  I was 23, and so was she.  We had an intense history – sometimes good intense, and sometimes bad intense.  She fought a hard battle with cancer, and though the hand she was dealt was unfair, she lived each day she had with positive energy.  For that, I will always admire her.  I’ve spent a lot of years of my life regretting that I couldn’t or didn’t do more for her, but today, I try to just remember her.  I see her goofy smile, and her overgrown dark brown hair.  I laugh at her crazy passion for dancing, even though she wasn’t all that good at it.  I think fondly of the times she dragged me out to find some new lesbian hang-out in the city we had just moved to, even when I’d rather have stayed at home.  I remember how she was able to find a way to decorate our tiny studio apartment, even though we had no money to buy things.  I think of the huge pots of spaghetti she made for whatever transient visitors were staying with us while they found their own apartment in San Francisco.  I think of how she insisted on having our pictures taken with our cats, the poor things forced to wear tiny Santa hats.  She printed these with a cheesy holiday message for us to mail to our friends and family.  I remember the strength she would muster after intensive rounds of chemotherapy, refusing to let it keep her down for long.  I hear the loud conversations she had in Greek with her superstitious mother, trying to convince her mom she would be OK.  I remember how everyone around her wanted to be her best friend.  I remember our trips to the East Bay so she could visit holistic treatment centers, trying acupuncture and many blends of Chinese herbs to see if they might be successful where modern medicine couldn’t be.  I remember the courage she had to embark on a lengthy international trip alone in the last months before she died, unwilling to leave the world without having seen some of it.  I wanted to smack her when she congratulated me for making it to age 23.  Now and then I read the few letters I have to remember her by, and I’m glad our paths crossed for a while, even though it ended way too soon.  So, today is a day for remembering, because she really deserves to be remembered.

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