April 16, 1971 - April 8, 2011
How do you measure a life, counting it important among us, and knowing it really happened, and truly mattered?
My sister led a troubled life. She yearned for a happiness she could never seem to find. Mental illness and addictions followed her wherever she went, and unfortunately where she went was seemingly always toward those people and places she should have ventured far away from. Abused by her boyfriend, repeatedly and violently, the steps she needed to take to walk away never got her very far. Until, that is, she was led to her death in a car driven by her abuser. Drunk behind the wheel, he sped along with Kathy as a passenger until he lost control and she met a pole at a speed and impact beyond what the car and her fragile little body could handle. As he walked away from the accident and left her to die, the footsteps heard walking and even running away certainly weren't hers. However, the quiet early morning enveloped her as God embraced her and led her home. A final and painful chapter in a troubled life. An opening of a door to a new and everlasting one.
I've been working to gather her belongings at the various places she has been. A little bit of herself left a trail of sorts where I'm beginning to both find her and lose her. Again. Sifting through clothing, clean and unclean. Sorting through papers, a written history with more gaps than bridges. Pictures, sorted away in various fashion, showing who she valued the most: The children she left behind. Matt, 19; Kylie, 13; and Michael, 9 (who celebrated his latest birthday on the day of her death) were dearly and deeply and passionately and eternally loved by my sister ... even though she couldn't always do it in the way most of us are used to.
So, we gather as a family this week, attempting to determine how to pick up the pieces, put them together once again, and create a collage bound not by typical means, and not by time. But, most certainly, by love.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).