It’s so interesting to look back at relationships and see how they develop and ebb and flow over the years. In the year 1999, I was in graduate school and working at Casual Corner at the Lodi Outlet Mall on the weekends. One evening Kathy waltzed in the door and started chatting. She found out I was in grad school at her alma matter, and was thrilled. And then found out I was in social work also, and she did a little dance. And then she started advocating for me to come and work with her every time she came into the store.
In 2002, I did eventually take a job where Kathy worked, thinking I’d be there three months and move on (Ha! They had me for nine years!). Kathy and I would chitchat on occasion, and often would end up at the pool on the same evenings and chat some more. Kathy looked at the world through rose colored glasses, so it was always interesting to get her perspective. Feeling frustrated at one point in my job, I asked Kathy if she wanted to help me put together a presentation to see if we could get in as presenters at a national conference in San Diego. She asked me why I wanted to go big—I remember telling her for shits and giggles and just to see if we can do it. She laughed. And we both laughed hysterically when our proposal was accepted.
Our trip to San Diego was a blast. Me, being still pretty new in my field, and Kathy, who was nearing retirement, approached our learning in different ways. I took copious notes…Kathy decided to hang out at the pool. We got rave reviews at our presentation, and were thrilled, but were more excited about exploring San Diego.
I remember Kathy telling me she was getting married again…for the fifth time. She just laughed and said maybe this time she’ll get it right. Kathy always, always, always, had an interesting perspective about men. I still remember us giggling often about many a story.
Our next big adventure together, along with our friend Paula, was going to yoga teacher training together. Kathy and Paula were big yogis. Me? I had never taken a class before, but wanted to tag along and use it with my clients. I made arrangements so that I would be in between them, so I could copy what they were doing. We developed into the “Irreverent Yoyo’s” due to our lack of reverent yoga behavior. Our car rides to and from were very therapeutic in the expression of every frustration first and then talking about life, love, and future goals. If you ever rode in the car with Kathy, you know she’d bring along an extra pair of shoes, a pillow to sit on, plus a cushion for her back, her water, and her purse…unless she lost it, which happened several times. And we’d laugh.
Kathy and I liked to plan mini day trips just to get away for a few hours. The deal was if I drove, she bought lunch. It didn’t matter where we went, it was just fun. Just like our weekly Friday luncheons at Wild Ginger. If I got there first, Kathy would come dancing down the aisle to the table. I would laugh and shake my head, and tell her she was a nut.
Kathy was always willing to be a guinea pig for me whenever I needed volunteers for whatever training I was in. She was always honest in her feedback. She always thought it was a hoot that I was never going to teach yoga classes, and then was teaching seven classes a week. It’s just how life rolls sometimes, you know?
Kathy and her hubby had a cottage on Catawba Island for years. It was many a Sunday that I used to make the trek up. Kathy and I would venture out and explore, and then would sit in the lounge chairs and just be. We even found a meditation training at Put-In-Bay to try out just for fun. I spent Thanksgiving with her one year, and we made Christmas cards that afternoon that we decided probably would not be sold by Hallmark.
Kathy and I always had fun—whether we were being serious or not, we still found a way to laugh and enjoy. As I think back over the years, how many experiences we had on our adventures. We even went to a “Play Shop” together, where the basis was we learn through play. I teach laughter yoga, which Kathy loved. One day on an outing, someone pulled out in front of me…after a few choice words out of me, Kathy bursts out laughing. I looked at her, asking what is so funny? She pipes up, “Remember the road rage laugh there, Miss Laughter Yoga Coach!”
Kathy and I’s last phone call was the Thursday before Easter. She was excited about coming home from Florida, and we talked about how to social distance together when she got home. Kathy never came home…she passed away unexpectedly the Monday after Easter.
Losing a friend sucks. Especially when one is so full of life and vigor and with so much life left to live. Life just doesn’t make sense sometimes. I can just see her shaking her head and saying “Well, that was fun!” with her infectious grin. In the weeks after her passing, a robin made itself known outside of my living room and bedroom window. Sometimes, obnoxiously so. I figured since I was painting the bedroom and the shade was down, that the robin was just checking her reflection out. However, the day that I was taping off the window to paint the trim, I noticed the robin left me a nut…where the screens come together in the middle of the window is maybe a quarter of an inch. And there sat a peanut. Funny, I always told Kathy “you’re a nut”. Yes, she definitely was. I miss you and love you, and I’ll see you on the other side…