This Part III follows an introductory post here and Part II here.
These are the words a good friend of Kate read for me at her memorial service, as I was flying back from Singapore during the event. Kate had cystic fibrosis. I met her a few years after her successful double lung transplant, and had the privilege of being her friend until the disease claimed her. To learn more about cystic fibrosis, visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
There is no way this will ever be “perfect”, or ever really do her justice, and only in accepting that can I finally post this.
My Friend Kate
There are a few people in one’s life that one can point to as being truly remarkable…people who touch our hearts and change our lives and mold us into better human beings. These precious few can be counted on one hand…Yet their lives touch hundreds of others in countless ways. We have to say goodbye to such a friend today…I still can’t believe that it’s true. With her genuineness, Kate had a way of letting everyone in her sphere truly be themselves. With her wit and humor, she brought smiles and belly laughs. Her compassion and generosity is unrivaled.
Smiles and laughter abound
Helping me put roots into the UCLA community, Kate took me to several Bruin football games out at the Rose Bowl.
Halloween 2007 (left) and Halloween 2014 (right). Land Shark/Sharknado was Kate’s second identity, and brought so many laughs and smiles over the years.
Kate, you were my first and closest friend when I moved out to Los Angeles. You invited me into your world and helped make LA my home. I will cherish those RockStar nights, those conversations over Enzos Pizza or Simple Things (and those in the car until 3am), watching Stardust together, your hilarious stories and your big heart. You were there for me when I lost love, and were one of the first to know when I found it again. I remember when we met ten years ago, the introduction you gave me and everyone else was about being “the girl with the hobo lungs”. As the years went by, I didn’t hear you define yourself that way so much… You were the programmer…the space physicist…the lunch organizer… the tutor…the girl who studied Saturn… the shark…the woman who married Laura… The kitten rescuer… The hobo lungs weren’t your biggest definition anymore, because you didn’t let them define you. You lived life more fully than anybody I know.
Rockstar: The Westward Traveling Surges (a science/work reference, cuz we’re nerds).
There’s so much more I could say. Kate, I love you so much, more than you know, and I miss you something fierce—I can’t imagine you not being here anymore. I thought we’d have forever. My comfort is that people like you never really die…You live on in the hearts and lives of the people you touched and transformed…And not only those who knew you! As we encounter others with our transformed lives, you and your kindness and zest for life spread like ripples in a pond. You have inspired and taught me to be a kinder and more generous person, and I will carry that piece of you with me every single day. Thank you so much. Love always, Christine.
At the Rose Garden by USC, after visiting the California Science Museum
Of Shooting Stars and Pillow Fights (a LiveJournal Excerpt)
After helping clean up dinner, Kate and I ran outside with the star chart. I was so thankful I had brought my little red LED light (completely unintentionally) which helped us IMMENSELY. It was difficult to locate some of the constellations because THERE WERE SO MANY STARS! It was AMAZING. We were so giddy. It was hilarious. Kate and I tried to persuade more people to join us outside, but they were all wimps and really missed out as a result. So we went back out together and saw some of the later constellations like Orion. The Milky Way was great too. Mars had also risen, and looked ENORMOUS! I totally thought it was Saturn until we looked it up on her chart. We saw more shooting stars, Sirius, and the other star cluster… Hyperides? And we were again just amazed beyond description and didn’t even feel cold anymore. Finally we succumbed to tiredness and chill and went back inside…But Kate and I were suddenly not tired and got the giggles and threw pillows and yea it was like 5th grade sleepovers all over again. 😀
In the San Gabriel Mountains