It’s not the way we hoped to begin the New Year … 2012 had been a year of more downs than ups and we looked forward to ditching it, especially as there were traces of a silver lining on that cloud that had loomed over our family. We anticipated 2013 to bring good providence. The New Year hoopla slipped downhill quickly when I greeted 2013 with the flu.
Let me clarify. 2012 was not all bad. Our middle child, for instance, graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University, not an easy feat. This milestone cemented our blended family once and for all when all her proud parents stood by side-by-side when she accepted her diploma. We were doubly blessed when she obtained gainful employment early in the recruitment process. We helped move her from dorm to new digs during a time when many unemployed college graduates have returned to their respective homes facing exorbitant student loans. Our youngest finally, whose a Junior in college, finally got her groove. She’s always struggled with school dealing with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. Therefore, when her GPA finally surpassed the required 2.5, we jumped with cheer. Another moment of cheer was when our eldest took a leap of faith, bought a house, and married: a destination wedding in Cancun that restored our sagging spirits from the less spectacular moments. Believe me, we had plenty.
We are grateful our nucleus is strong and pushing forward, even though we began 2012 with unemployment striking our household. As everyone knows, though, we are more than our spouses and children. If we are lucky, grandparents, siblings, nieces and nephews, pets, as well as friends ranging from besties to acquaintances comprise our families. This is the area where we witnessed much pain. Sickness pervaded many of our loved ones, some leading to permanent disabilities and even death. An uncle now lives in a rehabilitative nursing home with no hope of recovering, while another adjusts to new surroundings, his memory succumbing to Alzheimers. Crib death took away a good friend’s little angel. Cancer claimed the life of two beautiful aunts and is eating away at my brother-in-law with no end in sight. My unemployed better half has been there to hold his brother’s hand during this trying period fighting every step of the way with him. We eagerly anticipated bidding farewell to 2012, hoping for a better 2013.
Starting the year with the flu set the tone for me, though. Its only week number one and a fellow writer died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm. An otherwise healthy woman. My age. Beautiful. Warm. Generous. Nurturing. Kathy always aimed the spotlight on others, encouraging the rest of us to shine. Her selfless attitude made her shine more. Even in death.
The packed funeral home served as testimony to the many lives she touched. I have been to many funerals and, other than celebrities or world leaders, have never seen such outpouring of love for one person. Friends and family gathered to pay tribute to this woman who brought us all together one way or another. Even in death she forged new friendships, many of us meeting for the first time knowing we will always be connected thanks to Kathy. She judged none and welcomed everyone into her nucleus, embracing us into her warmth.
I knew saying goodbye to Kathy would be tough, but what hit me hardest was when the funeral director announced that seven lives were saved thanks to her generosity. Seven ambulances departed from Bayonne Medical Center on Monday, January 7th once again allowing Kathy to point the spotlight on others. Even in death she continues to give.
Beautiful. Warm. Generous. Nurturing. Until we meet again, Kathy.