Thursday, June 10, 2010


Well, there is nothing like the death of a friend to give me some perspective and to remind me of my blessings. I have been battling with some negativity and self-doubt lately. But Kate's death has reminded me to stay positive and to be thankful for what I have, to be present in where I am now, to live each moment to its fullest, and to be grateful for the breath that I and my loved ones continue to draw every day.

On Sunday, my friend from work, Kate Thaxton, passed away after a 3.5-year fight with pancreatic cancer. And I do mean fight. She approached cancer like the beautiful, strong, fire-filled woman she was: She was NOT going to let it get her. She pledged to stay positive about her body's ability to beat this thing. She willed "healing" in her everyday living. She bravely faced this cancer with every ounce of strength and perseverance she had, and as a result, the months that doctors gave her turned into years. She went back again and again for treatments, even when doctors told her it wouldn't work. One of her most famous acts (at least in my mind) was early on in her diagnosis: the wearing of a shirt that she had made, which said:


I loved it.

Kate was young, in her late thirties. Younger than  me. She and her husband Tim seem to be soulmates in the truest sense (I don't know Tim, but I've seen his posts, and his latest YouTube video tribute to his amazing wife). They never had the chance to have children, to be parents, as so many of us are. Kate would have made a MARVELOUS mom. She was joy and beauty and energy embodied. As someone said to me at work today, "Even if you didn't know her well, you just couldn't help but like her." Kate was THAT kind of person.

As I prepare for what will, no doubt, be one of the most emotional funeral services I have ever attended (it's tomorrow), I am reminded of that phrase we hear again and again, and yet continue to forget, in life's daily stresses and trials: CARPE DIEM. Live and enjoy and savor every delicious moment. We never know how long we have. Those things that seem so important and dramatic in our everyday life: Ask yourselves this. Are they REALLY that important and dramatic, in the whole grand scheme of things?

Kate's death has been a much-needed reminder to me. When life gets me down, I think I will go back to the breath (as we say in yoga and meditation). I'm thankful that I am still drawing it, and I am sad that Kate is not.

It's just not fair, universe: I don't care what you say. It's just not fair.

Jeff is going with me, because Kate's funeral happens to be at the very same funeral home that we used to have our first son, Christopher, cremated. I can't go there without Jeff; I just can't. But I want to go to pay my respects to Kate and her family. And I know it will be OK. Because Kate's positive, loving spirit will be there, embracing all of us, as we sadly say our good-byes to a good friend who left us far too young, with far too much life left to live.

Here is her website, so everyone can see how beautiful she was (the video tribute may even be posted here; I hope it is!):

Rest peacefully, dear sweet Kate. We will never, ever forget you. Everyone whose life you touched was better for having known you.