Last night I randomly woke up around 2:30 am, felt strangely wide awake, and checked my phone. My emails loaded, and I got the news.
Last night we lost one of the most hilarious, loving, fun, thoughtful, ridiculous people I’ve ever known. Cathy was a good family friend – her husband and my dad went to high school together – and she ended up feeling more like family. She was my brother’s Godmother and, due to an inside joke, my future mother-in-law. We spent holidays and birthdays and dinners together.
She threw the best parties. The kind that, even though they were for the adults, the kids always begged to go to.
She adopted an autistic boy as a baby who is now doing wonderfully in college.
She volunteered almost professionally, and used her vibrant personality to raise money for things she cared about.
She danced on tables and bought us the first round of shots on St. Patrick’s Day.
She wore more jewelry than I thought possible.
Cathy was diagnosed unexpectedly with a brain tumor about a year ago. She just had a weird nagging headache that people told her she should get checked out, and it changed her life. The chemotherapy trial she participated in helped shrink the tumor, but it had spread to her spine, paralyzing her. She shaved the hair she had left into a mohawk because, why not?
As the months passed she lost a lot of that light inside, but still managed to send loving (yet simultaneously vulgar, as only she could pull off) update emails almost daily to the list of hundreds of people that cared about her. Friends we didn’t even know existed started popping up to help her when she needed it. Seriously, there have to have been hundreds of people that counted her as a close confidant.
Her goal was to make it to her birthday, and when it passed a week ago we knew it wouldn’t be long. She was staying in bed, unable to eat or drink. She had stopped having the energy to see friends many weeks ago. My mom hadn’t seen her in months, which I know is really hard for her.
I’d been calling to get updates each day, trying to figure out if I’d realistically be able to make it home for the funeral when it happened. It would be a massive event, people even suggesting broadcasting it somewhere because so many would want to be there.
And then my mom forwarded me the email that she passed away peacefully in her sleep. The best that could have happened, but impossibly difficult for her family.
It’s a sad story that happens to way too many, and I’m sure she would appreciate prayers.
She’s probably already got God cracking up in heaven.