Kate Rivet

Archive for February 2014

I’m still a terrible blogger and would go through the typical apology phase here, but tonight I’m here to write for a different reason.  As an author, you’d think words would come rather easily to me, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the right ones.

A few years back, I was somewhat internet-famous, if you could call it that.  I had a lot of good friends in a lot of bands (some of which are still big-time acts these days, but I’m not going to name-drop them).  Not only did I go see shows in Pittsburgh, but I went to Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois.  It’s Illinois in particular that I’m writing about tonight.

There was a girl whom I met over the internet and formed a very close friendship with.  Her name is Kassie, and while we aren’t nearly as close these days because real life gets in the way of the fun times we had when we were young and had much less responsibility and need for bills to be paid by ourselves, she is still a sister to me.  When I was 18, I flew on a plane for the very first time since I was a child (stymying a fear of flying, by the way) and touched down at Chicago’s Midway Airport.  There, I took a taxi (also a first) into a neighborhood called Summit, one of the suburbs of Chicago proper.  It was here that I turned up at Kassie’s house for the very first time of many trips over the next few years.  It was also this evening that I met her mother in person for the first time, though we had spoken on the phone before.

Kathie took me in as her own child from that very first time I turned up at their doorstep to the very last time I waved goodbye to them at Midway Airport before becoming the lead pharmacy technician at my store and effectively ending most of my pleasure trips until 2012.  From that first time I met her, Kathie was immediately somebody that I warmed to.  She was a single mother who was raising the younger two of her children at this point, and she worked some pretty difficult jobs to try to make ends’ meet.  Over the many years and visits, we’d find ourselves up early and at the kitchen table more times than I can even remember.

I relished these early morning conversations; a lot of the time, Kathie would be exhausted from waitressing the night before, and this would be a relaxation for both of us. We’d talk about life, but we talked a LOT about books, too.  Like me, she loved to read, and she was just about as avid about it as me.  Her favorite books were those by Kristin Hannah, and although I have yet to read a Kristin Hannah book, we found a kindredship over chick lit, or women’s fiction as some would prefer to call it.

As Kassie and my lives diverged, my trips grew fewer and farther apart.  I remember parts of my last trip out to see her, but not everything.  One thing I do remember, though, is how Kathie always took me back to the airport and would give me hugs and say goodbye to me like I was her own kid leaving.  She told me more than once that she was proud of me for working hard to ensure that I would continue to thrive at work, and that sentiment sticks with me even to this day and makes me proud to be at the top of my current profession.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed via social media that she wasn’t doing too well.  It was just within the past week or two that I found out that she was suffering from lung cancer that had spread.  I knew right away that I wanted to get out to Chicago not just to reconnect with my “Chicago mommy” as she was called, but to reconnect with the people who were as close to siblings as I’d ever get.  I was hoping that when the local colleges went on spring break that I could take a few days and head out.

As it would be, Kathie passed away last night and has left a hole in many peoples’ hearts.  Her Facebook page has many messages indicating many lives touched by her kindness, and I’m just one of many missing her today.  I can’t even imagine how her children feel right now, although I know that the grief I feel that does bring tears to my eyes when I recall specific events is only a mere fraction of what her family feels.

So tonight, I’m posting this to tell the world that she touched my life in an indelible way, and that I’m going to remember the kindness and pride she showed me on the many trips I shared in her home.  I wish desperately that I could get away for her memorial, but I don’t think that will be possible.  As it is, I will be dedicating my next book to her, and I’ve got some ideas kicking around in my head as to small things I can do to keep her memory alive as well.  Her work ethic and success at raising her children by herself is something that touched my heart, and it pushes me to be a better person.

Thank you for allowing me into your life so readily, Kathie, and I hope that you’re resting well in peace now with the siblings you lost before.  Those of us still here will not forget you any time soon.

Until next time,
Kate

 


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