Friday, January 13, 2012


This is a tribute to my wonderful, wacky friend, Kristie.  I want to start with my favorite story about her.  One of her friends was sad and blue: boyfriend had left her and the job wasn't going well; could Kristie be a shoulder to cry on?  I don't know what I would have done:  try to reassure my friend, promise she was loved, tell her that things would get better.  Kristie dropped everything, drove three hours to be with her.  She brought along a Viking helmet and a kids' wading pool, and she and her friend had a Viking pool party.

For Kristie, Life = Celebration.  I got a job as a dean, and she immediately said, "Honey, you are not a dean.  You're a diva!  A DIVA!!" and she bought me a tiara, a scepter, and a pair of huMONGous sunglasses.

About 10 years ago, our family convinced Kristie to come give us once-a-week Family Dance Lessons. Everyone from my 2-year-old through my pre-teen daughters on up to my 50-year old husband learned the swing, the tango, stick dances, and more. We cleared out the garage, and even the neighbors would come over and dance with us. What a hoot!

So, the last I saw Kristie was this past November at my son's birthday party.  He had a  "Hip Hop Party", inviting a few friends his own age, two of my college students, and Kristie.  She was in a brief respite from cancer, and she tore up the floor, showing all those 12-year olds the latest moves. 

Last week, when I was far away in Boston, I heard the cancer had come back but fierce.  She was in the hospital, and then hospice.  And yesterday, she passed away.  Her hospice room was filled with friends, with bottles of wine, with musical videos.  Celebrating to the end.  Me, I'm searching high and low for Viking Helmets, so I can say good-bye properly.

Until I find the helmet, I'll just recite a poem by Langston Hughes.
I loved my friend.
She went away from me.
There's nothing more to say.
The poem ends
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your memories. What a cool, inspiring person!