11 September 2017

O Death, Thou Detestable Maw!

Next to the post I just shared with you all, this is about to be one of the realest, most rawest (yes, that's a word because I said so) posts you're going to see from me.

A week ago yesterday, one of the kindest people I've ever had the honour to call a friend, and more than that, SISTER, slipped into eternity in her sleep.

Her name was Catherine, but we all called her Kat or "Red."  Sometimes "Amazon Wench."  She was tall, alright, so it fit.  LOL

I've wrestled with what I want to say for the last several days.  I've wrestled with HOW I wanted to address her passing.  I've acknowledged it a little on Facebook, trying to process my thoughts, feelings, and trying to understand what the hell just happened.  I am here to tell you that I still don't have an answer to that question, and from what I can tell, no one else who knew and loved her does, either.  I doubt we will in this lifetime.

Kat and I had a very strange meeting.  She was one of the first people I'd met when I moved to the midwest 17 1/2 years ago.  July was 17 years I've known her.  She was (as I stated) tall, she had red hair, piercing hazel eyes, and a smile that was infectious.  And her laugh was just as contagious.  You couldn't help but be in a good mood around her.  If I was having a hard time, she was my go-to.  When my dog died, she let me 'borrow' her older dog that first night.  She was the one that took me to the vet in Hilliard so I could see him (his name was Ruffles.  I swear I didn't name him that).

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself, huh.  Sorry about that, my brain's still a bit of a pile of puzzle pieces right now, and I'm still trying to put things back into some semblance of order.

Right, so how I met Kat:

Kat was a firecracker.  She had a huge personality.  The first day I met this woman, it was a tornado warning.  We'd all been routed to the basement of CSCC's Nestor Hall, and I had a Rosary in my pocket that day.  I remember sitting in the basement absolutely terrified, shaking and trying to pray that we'd survive the storm unscathed.  Kat came right up to me, plopped down on the floor next to me and said, "You look scared, darlin'!  What's up?  Talk to me!"  I looked at her like she'd sprouted a second head and started speaking to me in Klingon, backwards.  I said, "Um... there's a tornado, ma'am, aren't you scared?"  She just laughed and said, "Puh-leez.  We're in the middle of a town, a very large town, by the time it gets here, it'll have mostly broken up.  No worries, trust me!"  And then she stuck out her hand and said, "I'm Catherine!  What's your name?"  I just remember sitting there staring at this woman like, "who ARE you!" but we've been friends since.

She is the glue that held us all together, all her friends and family.   She will be fiercely missed by all who knew her.

Some of my favourite memories of her are when she was a student at CSCC and she'd have me help her write her papers for her classes.  She'd pace, she'd give me these verbal puzzle pieces.  I'd type everything up into what she'd needed, but really she's the one that did all the work.  All I did was type everything out with grammar and punctuation in the right place, words spelt correctly, etc.  There were also the breakfast hangouts at Frisch's, the coffee runs, so many memories.  Kat and I did have a falling out once in the infancy of our friendship, but we worked it out about 4 years later.  A long, long discussion and her making me own what I had done and apologize.  She was someone who would be blunt with you but not in such a way to make you feel stupid or demeaned in any way.  She'd make you face your mistake head-on and she'd champion for you to not only work through it, but she'd be on the other side patiently waiting for you if the infraction wasn't bad enough for her to want to completely cut ties with you (as at least two people I know in our circle have done).  Fortunately, I was able to work stuff out with her.

Kat was -- forgive me, it's still difficult to refer to her in past tense.  She and I used to talk about Queen, I told her about Freddie was the reason I'd found out what the word 'gay' meant.  She got such a kick out of that story.  She'd tell me, 'I love how blonde you are, sugar pop!' while she was cracking up about whatever blonde moment I was having.  Trust me, it was often.   LOL

People talk about some weird stuff when they're grieving.  Death makes us say and do some weird shit, doesn't it?  For me, I have one big regret:  I've been back in Columbus for going on 6 years.  She was the one who'd come all the way to Mansfield to bring me back here, and even brought my dog, Emily, with me.  I didn't get to hang out with her much since I've been back.  I kick myself OFTEN for that, and I likely will for a good while.  I know her well enough to know that she'd be madder than a wet hen if I didn't ease up on myself about guilting myself for that, but Kat, I'm sorry, you've gotta give me this one for a minute, alright.  She wouldn't want us grieving her death for long, she'd be wanting us to celebrate her LIFE.  And so I shall.  I've been trying to keep busy (got most of what I'd set out to do yesterday all done, I've still got like two or three things to do yet, but I'll work on those here in a bit), but truthfully?  I've been AVOIDING grieving.  Yes, I was a hot, hot, HOT mess last weekend when I'd gotten the news.  I've cried off and on for a couple days, and then I just shut down and went into some sort of weird 'cruise control' vibe.  Last night, I was cleaning and had Spotify going through the PS3 so I could have it playing on the telly so I could hear the music better whilst I was cleaning (I'm hard of hearing in my left ear, so if I'm in another room I can't really hear anything if I'm playing it on my laptop, and I didn't feel like carrying my laptop everywhere, I wouldn't have gotten jack or shit done if that were the case...).  The playlist I had going was my Nostalgia playlist, which was mostly fine, save for like three songs.  One of those songs I'd completely forgotten I'd put on there, and I had to race into the living room to scramble for the PS3 controller to skip to the next track on the list.  The song is in the video below.  It was a song that was playing the night Kat had come to get me to bring me to work because I needed someone to talk to and process through some news I'd received from back home that had punched me in the gut with a 50# medicine ball.  During the course of our conversation, the aforementioned song came on, and I remember quipping, "How fitting this should come on now. You're honestly one of the very few people I'm comfortable discussing this with that I know isn't going to blow smoke in my ass with some bullshit Hallmark sentiment." I miss how blunt and direct she was.  She never pulled any punches.

I love you, Kat.  I miss you.  Until we meet again, babe.  ❤

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