I smiled today when I thought about Kathrine.
I was in D.C. talking with other parents about the similar character traits of our now deceased children. Each one loving, compassionate, non-judgmental and kind to a fault.
This is what I remembered then, and this is what made my eyes twinkle instead of gush.
Every Sunday, I would get up early and go to visit Kathrine who lived an hour away. I would buy us coffee (hers “extra sweet and extra strong”) get halfway and then call her cell phone to let her know I would soon be there… bearing gifts. In all honesty, I always had a little knot in the pit of my stomach when I called. If she didn’t pick up, was she in the shower, still sleeping, not home? And often she didn’t pick up. My anxiety levels would grow, because this had always been the child I was scared about… and then it would come…. “Sorry mom… I’m up…do you have coffee?” There was actually never a time she was not up and ready to roll on our Sunday morning visits. She loved her church and loved to take me there. Phew!
So, as is our norm, we are sitting one morning outside on the bench drinking our coffee before we go into her church. We are chatting and happy. Now, bear in mind… Kathrine knew everyone in Winchester….. So a young man down on his luck spotted us. Looked thrilled to see ‘Kat’ and said “Hey you… how you doing?” She stood up and gave him a hug. “How you doing?” She said. “You look fantastic!” For the record, he didn’t. He looked awful. He said “Aw… you are with your mom, how lucky, you both look great… I wish I could be with my mom” And Kathrine said to him “Sit with us, you’ll love my mom” and so we did. We chatted for a while like long lost friends, and I was happy to meet someone who she obviously had an affinity to. I felt bad for him and was waiting until he left for Kathrine to tell me his story. We talked for ten minutes at least. I learned a lot about where he had come from and my heart bled for him. When he left, I gave him a few bucks to help him at least get a cup of coffee. I hugged him and Kathrine kissed him on the cheek.
We had five more minutes before getting into church. “Who is he, Kathrine?” I asked.
“I don’t know mom” she answered, “but he seemed really nice”
She wasn’t being deceitful; she treated every stranger like a friend. I want to be that person and although I smiled today, because the memory was wonderful, I still cried today too, because this world lost a person that I aspire to be. Thank you Kathrine for being the best friend to every stranger you ever met.