Saturday, August 22, 2009


Yesterday my dear friend Katrina died from ovarian cancer. She fought long and hard before losing. She knew she would in the end but she was never anything but upbeat yet realistic. She went about her business as her health allowed and always looked forward to what life had to offer her. She was the happy recipient of my various offerings of knitted hats and experimental scarfs. Some of them were quite experimental!

She was an avid hiker and a great lover of the outdoors. Part of her childhood was spent in Alaska and she traveled extensively all her life. Always simply - fancy inns and hotels were not her style. She was a Quaker to the core.

I met her in 1992 by a funny series of events and ended up renting the back part of her house for nearly 10 years leaving only upon my marriage. She saw me go through one very hard breakup and eventually into a very happy marriage along with pulling a career together. She seemed to always like me for who I was though we came from very different backgrounds.

I did many a hike with Katrina and her partner Dave. There was one particularly lovely one where my husband and I met up with them at Lassen. (Correction: It was Mt. Rainer.) In my mind's eye I see acres of flowers with glorious mountains covered with snow. The wildflowers that years were spectacular. Then there were the two times we did the Palisades above Calistoga. The first time it started raining 4 miles in and I was not all that well prepared. When Dave would wander back to cheer me up, still full of pep and enthusiasm as the rain pelted down I had a vague, crazed thought of bumping him over the edge of the the trail but I liked him too much and honestly, I just didn't have the energy.

The second time we were much better prepared, and of course, it did not rain. Still, towards the end of the 11 miles I was in the back limping along with a lovely blister and Katrina was at the head of the queue striding along with that incredibly wonderful smile of hers. They could hike me into the ground any time, any place despite being 15 years older, and in Dave's case, closer to 25.

Dave died earlier this year though in some ways he died some time back. The delightful person we knew and loved had faded away with the onset of Alzheimer's. He was the sort of man who patted trees as he went by. Katrina continued to drive him to hikes and even camping before it became too much for the both of them.

To say that I am going to miss her hardly sums up the void of her passing leaves in my life. One of the saddest things about aging is seeing friends pass away and the emptiness it leaves behind. Well, she wouldn't want me to be making a fuss. It just wasn't her way. I was fortunate to know her and be her friend.


At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Gail said...

What a beautiful eulogy, Earin. I'm sure Katrina would be happy with it.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

I love the photo of you and Katrina.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous suzy said...

Katrina was truly one of a kind. I am honored to have known her. I remember most fondly staying at her house as we prepared for various outings, Bay to Breakers, Wharf to Wharf, jaunts into San Francisco.

She even opened her house to Prince Charming when I married. The huge, green, inflatable, note-taking T-Rex remains a vivid memory.

Farewell Katrina.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Valerie said...

Thinking of you and your friendship. Glad you and Katrina got to spend time in each other's lives.

Death sucks and I'd really like to kick it in the teeth sometimes.


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