Today is July 16th. Those of you who have been following this story know what that means: it is 11 months since Katie passed away. I wrote my thoughts about it on her Caringbridge page, so I won't go through it all again here, but it is important to me to mark the 16th. I need to honor the passage of her spirit from this world to wherever she is now.
David and I had a number of things planned today. It's just a coincidence that they fell on this day (...or is it? I keep hearing that there are no coincidences). It is the only day this week that we could do these things, as he is busy tomorrow, we all have haircut appointments later in the day, and I am having oral surgery on Friday. (WHEE! Finally, I am getting that broken tooth pulled. If all goes well, it will be replaced during the surgery by a peg, which will be screwed into my jaw. This will be allowed time to heal, and then it will be topped by a new tooth, a few months from now. More fun!)
Anyway, I awoke to a sunny morning with the sound of the waves lapping the shore and birds singing. I felt grateful before I ever got out of bed. I went for a walk/run, got David up, had a shower and packed the car with a dozen quilts for the hospital and a box of craft projects/kits for the Hutch School, 2 dresses that needed alteration, a camera and library books that needed to be returned.
We caught the ferry we were hoping for (the 9:40), drove up to Nordstrom and shopped for a shirt and tie for David. He likes clothes now; it's fun to shop for him. We found a good cotton, button-down shirt at Old Navy on sale for $6.00 last week, but we discovered that his tie was too short, so I thought I could spring for a real, well-made man's shirt and tie. He is happy, and so am I.
I have been given the gift of 5 beautiful dresses from my friend Alex's mother's closet. Sadly, Alex's mother passed away recently from cancer. She was a beautiful, elegant woman who I never met, but with whom I feel a close connection. Three of her dresses fit me perfectly, but two needed to be sized to fit me; while I hesitated to have them changed, I am sentimental about them, and want to be able to wear them. They are of such quality that they require the craftsmanship of a seamstress or tailor who is capable of working on couture; I found such a person in Seattle, and had the fittings today. (David went to listen to BOSE audio products while I did this.) I was thrilled when I saw them pinned to fit me; they look as if they were made for me. The clothes are unlike any that I have ever owned before, but more than that, they hold a special significance for me, because I know that Zena chose them, and wore them. I am thankful and honored to have them.
After that was done, we went to have a quick lunch at University Village, where we used to walk for exercise and a change of scene when we lived at Ronald McDonald House and the hospital. Then we went up to the Hem-Onc Childlife office at Children's Hospital, where we delivered a dozen quilts to Julie, Katie, Tanya and a new staffer whose name I have already forgotten (no disrespect in that; I am abysmal at names!). We had a lovely visit with them. They remember SO MANY things about Katie, about us, about meeting us and even seeing her very near the end. It is precious and beautiful to share these memories with them. They "get it." They see it every single day.
On our way to the car, we walked down the 5th floor hallway, where we saw the plaque on the wall, announcing Katie's Endowment, as well as some names of family and friends who helped to make the endowment happen. Then it was back to the U Village to buy a gift (David is going to a birthday party this weekend), some music, and to look at the new iPhone (and the line, all of the way out the door & down the sidewalk, of people waiting to buy it). People, please! It's just the newest thing! It's all sizzle and flash! The urge will pass!
After that, we drove to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, to locate the brick in the courtyard that was given in Katie's memory.
The brick is a paver, and was donated by our friends the Hamblet, Ottele and Orwiler families. We have known these families since Katie and David were very young. Norma Hamblet is the one who sat at the computer and had Katie tell stories, while Norma typed them up for her. We treasure those stories, and the fact that Norma thought to do this. We love to re-read them, and Katie always loved hearing them, too.
Our last errand was to donate the craft/activity kits to the Hutch School. In addition to a wonderful school program, they have summer day-camp for the families of patients who are in treatment at the SCCA. I have written about the Hutch before. Its staff provided unconditional acceptance and understanding for David (and briefly, for Katie) during the some of the toughest times in their lives. We will never be able to thank them enough, but we can give them our support.
We drove back to the ferry, returned books to the library, came home, had dinner, watched the Tour, took a walk, and now it's bedtime. Good night.