Monday, April 7, 2008

FIU Alumni Event & Introduction of Katie Memorial Foundation

There were people there from every part of Katie's life - some I know, most I'd never met in person. I am most struck with the way her friends were able to enjoy each other - their similarities and differences - fellow life guard from high school days, college roommates, friends and colleagues at FIU, family - she touched many lives.
I have to tell you one thing I heard repeatedly that night. Katie's friends took me aside, one by one, at some point. Each told me that she or he never knew Katie had so many friends - each told me that she thought she was Katie's "best friend" and that now each realized that she WAS Katie's best friend - that Katie had more than one best friend and could make each of them feel special. Katie was sincere about that. Anyone who was her friend knows that her friendship did not come easy, but if and when it came it was lifelong and very special.
Katie recognized in her best friends a piece of herself - a piece she needed to become whole. Her best friends recognize in Katie a piece of themselves - a piece they need to be whole. That's what true friendship (best friends) is all about - making each other whole. You can't do that with "just friends", it has to be "best friends".
Katie's best friends were there, some in person, some in spirit. They shared and I believe went home more complete, more whole, from learning about each other and their link to each other through their best friend, Katie.
Maybe this is just Katie's mom rambling, but in addition to the replicas of awards and conversations with FIU staff, that's what I have taken home with me from the FIU Alumni event - the experience of best friends in the making.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thoughts on the plane ride home

January 20, 2008
Returning from Australia & New Zealand
The thoughts running through my head form words
Words written on an airline napkin and then tucked inside my book -Doors to the Sacred - what an appropriate title to hold these thoughts. The napkin fell out of my book last week while I was preparing for my final class for this course. They don't sound like my words to me, but I guess they were. After all it is my handwriting and my book.

Kangaroos and Koalas so soft to the touch
Koalas shedding when touched like cats
Soft eyes, silent communication, no affect
Beyond words or expression
A world I cannot enter
Only marvel at the mystery
God's great mystery of creation.

I've a desire to connect with other creatures.
Connect ....... or subdue/dominate?

What about that bear?
His territory - His world - the one he dominates
Was he just trying to connect?
The great mystery remains
.... and God brought them to the man and
made them subject to him
What responsibility does that imply?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Katie X 2 = Judy

October 27th, two days ago, we celebrated Katie's 31st birthday. That makes me twice as old as she! Or maybe, Katies is 1/2 my age sounds better?
I know many of you were thinking and remembering and dreaming about your relationship with and your time spent and plans for spending time with Katie.
I had the good fortune of spending the day with my family - Katie's family. Ed and Beth came with Emma, Chloe and Chase. Michelle came down Friday night with Kayla and Hannah. John Evans arrived Saturday morning shortly ahead of Ed and Co.
John went directly to Katie's meadow where he thoughtfully placed a call to each of us and invited us to join him.
John Shaffer dropped me off at the back entrance to the meadow and I jogged in to meet John Evans and spend a few minutes with him.
The sky was overcast and there was a cold, fall breeze. Just the kind of day Katie loved - one that beckoned one to put on a hooded sweatshirt - 2 sizes too large and very soft on the inside - and some warm socks, and wrap oneself in a blanked and read or nap or a little of each.
Anyway, we sat together and John put his arm around me and we sat in the gravel and grass on the side of the path and we remembered together - sometimes in silence and sometimes through shared thoughts and words. Not much in the way of lengthy discussions as our words often broke and that's when the hug tightened.
Shortly, Eddie and Beth and Emma, Chloe, and Chase came walking in from the south and joined us. A few minutes later, Michelle, Kayla, and Hannah come in from the north.
And so we spent some time enjoying the view of the fall meadow and the sound of each others voices, laughter, and tears.
We thought of all of her friends - those we know and those we don't know - and how they influenced her life and she theirs.
Later we walked the "adult" corn maze and took a hay ride and picked out pumpkins (there were non that were really ugly) and petted the horses on the farm where Katie had spent some time during her high school years. She didn't work on the farm or anything, she just went there for Religious Ed. classes that were taught by Dan Heffernan who owns the place. Now, his adult children, I think there are about 10 or 11 of them, come home every year and have this fall fest on the weekends in October. It's a great place and so Katie.
After supper was eated and the pumpkins were carved and the candles lit, we inflated the air mattresses - between ping pong games in the basement - and everyone settled in for stories.
Eddie read Old Black Witch followed by John Evans' reading of the The Very Persistant Gappers of Frip - a story which he and Katie introduced to all of us. I think it is fast becomming a family tradition.
Did I mention the giant cookie in honor of Emma's birthday?
And so, we celebrated Katie's 31st birthday in great family style - just as she would have liked.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kayla made me do it!

OK - so this a little intimidating for an old lady and it's taken me awhile to post a new entry. Tonight Kayla offered to "help me" and I said OK and she handed me a 1-2-3 list of what to do. So, after resetting my password, here I am.

I avoid this alot.
It makes me cry and then it's hard to read the screen and my fingers just fly over the keys and out come my feelings.
Is that how it is with everyone? Does it matter? That's how it is with me.

John Shaffer and I went to Cathy Ganz and Adam Kunz's wedding this past weekend. Cathy is one of Katie's college roommates from St. Cloud. We also had the opportunity to have lunch with Katie and Cathy's other roommate, Dayna, and her husband, Sam, and their son, Erik. We were guests of Dayna's parents in their home in St. Paul.

It was an emotionally challenging weekend, but it would have been so much more difficult not to have been there.
Life, as we know it, goes on. I see so much of Katie in her friends and I try to imagine what she would have wanted them to know, how she would have wanted them to go on with their lives. And I saw beautiful, strong, young women and handsome, sensitive young men who are positively affected in their attitude toward life and their responsibility to the world community by their love and friendship with Katie.

Cathy gave me Katie's boquet as we sat around the table during the reception dinner. Cathy had a great, glowing smile on her face and her eyes sparkeled everytime we met. No wonder Katie loved her so much. But while Cathy had the center of attention as the "woman in the big white dress" (that's the way Katie described herself at her wedding to John Evans 3 years ago), I got to know the other "kids" at our table who were such important influences on Katie's life - Dayna, Dahlia, Rick.

I think that's enough for tonight - I can no longer read the monitor and my fingers are not keeping up with my feelings.

I did get over to Katie's Meadow last Monday on my bike. I have pictures to share. Maybe John Evans will post them on his site until I get the technology figured out.
I'll try to post again soon. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts.
With love and peace to all of Katie's friends.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Katie's Meadow

On Monday, Michelle, Kayla, Hannah and I walked through Katie's Meadow. It is in a forest preserve near my home. It is a relatively new preserve. I found it last spring when John and I walked it. I went back on my birthday on my bike. I can access it (just need to go around one closed gate) from home on my bike. I rode there and thought how wonderful it was going to be to share this with Katie when she came home in early Sept. I wondered how the meadow would look in the late summer as opposed to the late spring. I knew she would like it and we could either walk or ride bikes from the house. Katie would like that feature.
And so, I spent a couple of hours on my birthday in June riding and sitting on a bench reading (a book Katie suggested - "The Power of Myth") and just enjoying the thought of showing all of this to and enjoying it with Katie when she returned from Romania in September.
Well, Katie returned from Romania in early July, not early September. And we spread her remains in the forest preserve overlooking a beautiful meadow. Actually, it was Linda Evans who named it "Katie's Meadow". What a beautiful name for such a beautiful place. Thanks, Linda.
I'm going to try to attach the pictures of the meadow as Katie "sees" it.