Monday, November 29, 2010
She wrote a memorable letter to the Gainesville Sun in 2007, just before the Alachua County Commissioners met to decide on a land use amendment change permitting the Gainesville Country Club to build townhouses along the northern perimeter of Paynes Prairie.
She remarked that one of her most memorable outdoor experiences was her overnight backpacking trip to Persimmon Point at Paynes Prairie.
To honor Kathy Cantwell’s noble efforts to protect Paynes Prairie and other conservation areas throughout the State of Florida, I am organizing a ranger-led, overnight backpacking trip to Persimmon Point during the winter or early spring of 2011 to provide an opportunity for both Sierra Club members and nonmembers to experience a wilderness area that Kathy worked so hard to protect.
This overnight weekend backpacking trip is being planned in cooperation with Friends of Paynes Prairie and Paynes Prairie State Park.
We will depart mid-morning on Saturday for a 4.5 mile pack-in to the primitive campsite at Persimmon Point.
Following a blissful night of communing with nature and enjoying the night sky, we will depart on Sunday morning and hike along a scenic 2-mile section of the north rim of the prairie basin. Our expected arrival time is around noon.
Throughout the trip, our ranger will highlight important features of Paynes Prairie.
This backpacking trip is limited to 20 participants, and there will be a $20 fee. Half of the fee will be donated to Friends of Paynes Prairie and the other half will be donated to a memorial fund in the name of Kathy Cantwell. Prospective weekends include February 26-27th and March 12- 13th.
I strongly encourage prospective participants to consider the weekend of February 26-27th, which should allow us to view migratory Sandhill Cranes before their departure back to the upper Midwest and Canada.
This tribute backpacking trip represents a wonderful opportunity for backpackers of all levels to experience and enjoy one of the great outdoor treasures of Florida.
All interested individuals should respond to Robert Fisher (email@example.com or 352-514-7674) by December 31, 2010 with their preference for February 26-27th or March 12-13th.
Please note that this tribute backpacking trip is open to everyone. An equipment list along with additional details will be sent to all participants.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Workshop starts at 4:3o, commission discussion for voting on the matter 6:30. Hawthorne City Hall. 6700 SE 221st Street, Hawthorne, FL 32640 Phone: 352.481.2432
While it will take you away from your families for a couple of hours, I implore of you, we must bring a show of support large enough so that any nay-sayers on the Hawthorne City Commission will get the picture and will support this proposed land acquisition. The calvary must mount and ride onto the field, or this highly worthy acquisition may very well die!
Our partner, the Putnam Land Conservancy fought tooth and nail to get FCT funding for this proposed acquisition of a sizeable chunk of the Little Orange Creek project. It is nothing short of critical, if you care about connecting the Ocala National Forest to the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area, and ultimately to Goethe, a project spearheaded by the Conservation Trust for Florida. Further, these lands fall within one section of the wildlife corridor that links the Ocala NF to the Okeefenokee/Osceola complex, as well. Please see the attached maps to visualize these vital links.
If you are unable to attend, please consider sending the Commission an email, or call them up. http://hawthornefl.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/HawthorneFL_Commission/index http://hawthornefl.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/HawthorneFL_Commission/index> and (352)481-2432.
Of critical significance is the fact that preserving this area should increase the value of surrounding lands, including those in the City limits, and thus, should increase ad valorem tax revenue; a fundamentally vital issue for this particular city, more so than many, actually. For back up reading to substantiate this fact, please see the first four articles linked under “General Interest” here: http://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/EPD/LandConservation/Pages/FilesReportsForms.aspxhttp://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/EPD/LandConservation/Pages/FilesReportsForms.aspx>
So, if you wish to be fully fluent regarding the issues at hand, you should call Rob Blount, PLC’s Executive Director, for more information: 386-336-5400 Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com .
Please make this a priority!
Brian A. Block Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org mailto:email@example.com> (352) 466-1178 (Phone/Fax) (352) 258-2228
Thursday, November 18, 2010
November 15, 2010
Little Orange Creek Conservation and Environmental Center
Contact: Robert S. Blount, Executive Director
The Florida Communities Trust program awarded the Putnam Land Conservancy (PLC) and the City of Hawthorne a $4 Million grant to purchase a 1,200-acre nature preserve. Pending City Commissioners’ approval, the PLC and City will jointly manage the property as a public park preserving Hawthorne’s natural and cultual heritage. The $4.5 million purchase price was made up by the Florida Department of Community Affairs grant and $500,000 in private contributions.
The Putnam Land Conservancy is a four-year-old private land and wildlife conservation charity. Its mission is conserving land and water for people and wildlife in and around Putnam County Florida. PLC has been active in assisting conservation-minded private citizens sell or donate environmentally sensitive lands for public recreation and providing critical habitat for Florida native plants and animals.
The LOCCHEC park includes over 700 acres of surface water protection along Little Orange Creek as it meanders through Fowler’s Prairie. The park contains a rare pitcher plant bog that borders State Road 20. The area is home to many Florida native plants and animals and is used by the Florida black bear as it travels from the Ocala National Forest to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.
Future plans for the LOCCHEC Park include connecting it to the Gainesville-to-Hawthorne Trail. Also in the planning is a renovating an existing 5,000 sq. ft. building into a nature and culture center. Here programs and exhibits will interpret the local environment and the original pioneer settlement at Morrison’s Mill. The remnants of this founding site of present-day Hawthorne can be seen on the park. The park will provide access to the historic Carlton Cemetery where a number of Hawthorne pioneer families are interred.
The park lands will undergo restoration to remove exotic, non-native species. Recreational amenities will be added including handicapped accessible fishing pier, canoe and kayak launch, picnic pavilion, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, and hiking trail. The park is scheduled to open to the public in 2011.
In the end, the commission voted to have another meeting. It will be Monday, November 22nd. There will be workshop starting at 4:30 which will focus on the management plan for the project. At 6:30, the commission is going to vote on whether to sign the contract.
Your participation will help. Please try and attend. The commission was aware that we were there to support this project. The mayor commented that the meeting was not just packed, but filled to the rafters. Please plan to join us.
City of Hawthorne, Florida
6700 SE 221st Street, Hawthorne, FL 32640
On a final positive note, as we filed out of the room, a man standing by the door shook everyone's hand and gave us a big smile.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Little Orange Creek Conservation - This is the project to which Kathy devoted the last 5 years of her life. It will provide for the conservation of 1,200 acres.
We would like to remind/encourage you all to come out to Hawthorne City Hall Tuesday evening at 6 PM. The commission is going to take its official vote on partnering up with Putnam Land Conservancy and committing approx. $25,000 to steward Kathy's beloved LOCCHEC project. It would be wonderful if we could get a crowd there to show support for this project and encourage a positive vote. This project will allow for the awarding of nearly $4.5 million dollars for conservation land. If the commission votes it down, the project will not be funded (as I understand it).
Julie suggests having dinner afterward at Blue Water Bay.
City of Hawthorne, Florida
6700 SE 221st Street, Hawthorne, FL 32640
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I set up a google group for this blog. If you join the group, you will automatically be updated whenever the blog is.
That way, you don't need to remember to keep checking it.
If you want to join, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a link.
Julie asked us all to "check in". It's kind of like having to go to the doctor for a check up. I don't know that anyone wanted to do it but we did and it was good. Each person talked about where they were at. Some spoke of Kathy, some not.
In the last month since Kathy's death, many many people have come forward with stories of how Kathy's words about being in nature have effected their lives. Tammy talked about it that night and the next morning sent this challenge to us all.
To bring to your daily life the energy (adrenalin) that you tapped into while out in nature. When you hear the hawk scream to you stop and take it in / listen. When the wind blows the scent of fall take a deep breath. When the sky opens up and displays a full moon, a zillion stars, and the blinding glare of the sun take a mental picture. When it rains take a walk and feel each drop on your skin. Don't let the daily routines that are required of us just to survive overshadow what really matters ---- living.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
After the journey we enjoyed music (by Leo Nico and Nancy Lasseter), food and drink together. Hutch (Alachua Conservation Trust), Freddie (Conservation Burial Inc) and Rob (Putnam Land Conservancy) briefly talked about their 3 organizations - all of which we very dear to Kathy.
We showed an 11 minute video of Kathy that I shot after she was first diagnosed with the brain tumor. She smiles at the camera and starts off in her usual style with a lead in... "I bet you wonder why you are all here..." And then the she begins... "it's for me to tell you how I feel at this moment in my life."
During the filming it began to rain harder and harder so please excuse the background noise. This video is in two parts. The first is about 8 minutes and the 2nd is about 3. Don't skip the second as it ends with love, love, love. There are two more videos on the side bar. Google/Youtube put them there and I cannot get rid of them... They are about other Cantwells.
Special thanks to Hutch and his staff for all they did to make this celebration so successful.
And a special thanks to all the green groups and environmentally minded folks and Kathy lovers who were in attendance.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
We talked about Kathy's birthday which is tomorrow, Sept. 8th. It would have been her 61st. Julie and Lore and going to try and do something eco-conscious. Maybe you want to do so as well.
One thing I remember Kathy saying over and over again was to take at least 5 minutes and go outside. Hear and feel nature and let it into you.
Maybe we can all try to do that tomorrow... or walk/ride your bike instead of driving. Drive w/o your AC on... Go to Publix and recycle those horrible styrofoam containers. Every little bit helps repair the damage in our relationship with nature.
Don't forget this FRIDAY, SEPT 10TH @ 5pm there is an event to honor Kathy and the green/eco organizations and people. Be there at 5 to take the field trip to the Green Burial site. RSVP so that we know how to plan for food and refreshments.
Friday, August 27, 2010
on the occasion of her retirement on August 31, 2010
Every single day, somebody in Gainesville looks at a tree, and appreciates its beauty or utility. But nobody fully realizes the amount of effort that one person – Gainesville's first City Arborist – has put into making our urban forest so strong, diverse, and beautiful.
Meg – you have been responsible for the planting of tens of thousands of trees in Gainesville, and for saving just as many through regulations, which many other communities have copied. You have educated thousands, through speaking to individual tree sponsors or large groups, and in your frequent news stories and editorial columns. You have mentored many entry level professionals who have gone on to other tree-related careers. You have collaborated on research projects that have changed urban forestry practices in Florida.
Many people don't know that for fifteen years, you wore a pager 24/7/365, and responded to falling trees at all hours in all kinds of weather. How many times were you called out from a movie, or a party, or bed, to go out in a thunderstorm? During the "Storm of the Century", you spent days on the clean-up, coming home only briefly. The same for two decades of hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornados. But, by overseeing the methodical removal of weak trees, and re-planting stronger species, and focusing on proper pruning for a healthier structure, the frequency and cost of these emergency call-outs has dropped dramatically. You are leaving the City with a much stronger forest.
How many know that you recommended our comprehensive plan be amended to require the planting of 1000 trees each year in parks and along streets, but that the City only fully funded the first year of expenses to buy trees? And that for more than a decade, you have met this goal by soliciting donations of trees from nurseries, by obtaining trees through mitigation and enforcement actions, and by growing trees in two City nurseries? And how many folks really appreciate how closely you worked with the City Beautification Board, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, the Matheson Historical Museum, Alachua Conservation Trust, the Florida Native Plant Society, the garden Clubs, and many other organizations in collaborative efforts for a greater urban forest.
Meg – you have gone toe-to-toe with many developers and builders over the decades, and have worked well with those who appreciate trees, and been the nemesis of those who don't. But the way that you have fairly dealt with the regulated community, and their landscape architects and engineers, has brought them along to the point that there are very few arguments about trees today, as compared to twenty years ago. The Tree Advisory Board and the Tree Appeals Board are no nonsense committees that you have staffed effectively for two decades – and soon, you may be serving on them.
I have listened as you described in great detail the ailments of specific trees – it's been said that you have a personal and individual relationship with ten thousand street and park trees. You have fought for trees, apologized to trees, and wept in their presence when they could not be saved. You presided over the first urban infestation of southern pine beetles, and saved homeowners millions of dollars by applying scientific principles to attacking the epidemic. And then you did it again a few years later.
You have authored numerous grants to pay for all kinds of tree projects – from science, to beautification, to removals. In many years, you have brought in more revenue to the City than your salary. You have all the certifications and accolades that your colleagues can bestow.
You have managed employees with leadership, generosity, and compassion, and manage resources as carefully as if they were your own. Sick days were seldom taken – you received perfect attendance recognitions for the majority of your years. While you were working hard, you lovingly supported two parents in their final years, including your mother who stayed with us for three years with advancing Alzheimer's. You have struggled quietly with your own health issues, your broken jaw requiring two bone transplants, and more recently with cancer.
As my wife, I have witnessed all these ups and downs, and lived through the victories, defeats, hilarity, stupidity, delight, and disappointment. Rush Limbaugh insulted you by name on the radio – a real badge of honor. You had to endure four years of being a politician's spouse, and participated in lots of other political campaigns. You've also had to be a musician's wife, a sailor's wife, and an eccentric's wife, all of which you've done with equanimity and grace.
Now, you are re-inventing yourself. For the first time in memory, you will not be the City Tree Lady, as you are most often called. I know you are challenged with what your new identity will be, and that you are leaving Gainesville for extended travels the day after your August 31st retirement to meditate on the future. You've insisted that a fuss not be made about your departure, and your friends have respected that.
By distributing this open letter and suggesting others pass it on, we are all in agreement that the best retirement gift we can give is our heartfelt appreciation for the legacy forest that you have saved, re-built, and strengthened, and that we will pledge to defend and enjoy.
On behalf of all of your tree-hugging friends and family,
Love and best wishes,
Friday, August 20, 2010
The fact that she is gone from our lives has amplified the sound of her in my head. I feel more strongly compelled to examine the problems and disasters of our environment. I feel more connected and a little more frantic about what is going on. The Gulf oil spill, the floods in Pakistan- it is so overwhelming. If I can keep Kathy's voice I am hoping to find a way move forward with hope and not despair.
I stumbled across this poem on the internet today. It reflects some of what Kathy was all about. I think she would have really liked it.
A Prayer to Awaken
How much suffering around the world will have to take place, how many wars must we start, before we begin to see this chain of addictive behavior for what it is—madness?
How many people killed, how many communities destroyed, how many ecosystems ravaged, how many species lost, before we will begin to see this dark open wound gushing from the depths of the sea as our own?
How well do we remember past petroleum accidents from the Persian Gulf to the Exxon Valdez, from Shell’s fouling the Nigerian Delta (which led to the hanging of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa) to the Ecuadoran spill in 2009 that decimated forty-seven indigenous communities?
At this moment, can we find an action worthy of the suffering felt by the communities along the Gulf Coast, both human and wild?. . .
I keep coming back to the simple act of bearing witness.
To bear witness is not a passive act but an act of conscience and consequence.
We can face this economic and ecological crisis straight ahead and not avert our gaze.
We can begin to face this crisis of our collective addiction to oil by agreeing to look the suffering we are creating in the eye.
We can become a witnessing community of purposeful expression and agree to be present, to listen, to engage first-hand. In these moments of direct experience, our consciousness shifts. We can choose to live differently.
We are most often transformed not by the facts of the situation, but by the emotion of the situation, what we see and feel when truth is revealed.
We hear of sea turtles being burned alive as surface oil is set on fire in BP’s cleanup efforts.
And we learn that a sea captain, who recently enrolled in BP’s “vessel of opportunity” program and offered his boat to aid in oil recovery activities, grew increasingly despondent over the spill and died of a gunshot to his head. Shall we call it suicide or murder?
The spell that has kept us complacent and numb shatters. We wake up to the horror of our own oiled hands.
We are brought to our knees as we face our own spiritual imperative to change.
We can mark this moment not with our despair but with our creativity, not by our sense of helplessness, but by our engagement.
May we stand in the center of our humanity and power as a species and say as the poet Kenneth Patchen has:
I hear the beating of a heart.
It drowns out every other sound.
And in so doing, may we prevent the next oil spill from happening.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Kathy Cantwell was an avid environmentalist. She worked for and supported dozens of green groups. In her honor we would like to invite all the eco/green groups in Gainesville to come together in celebration of her work with our community. Nothing would make her happier than to see all the diverse and specialized groups joined together, sharing and celebrating.
Please join us on Friday, September 10 from 5-9 to celebrate Kathy, ourselves and our work.
Prairie Creek Lodge (see directions below)
5-6 pm Field trip to the Green Burial land
6-7 pm Pizza and Beer provided by Alachua Conservation Trust
7-9 Kathy Cantwell Trail dedication, slide show, music and mingling.
WE DON'T WANT TO RUN SHORT ON PIZZA OR BEER SO PLEASE RSVP 373 1078 OR EMAIL email@example.com OR
confirm that you are attending on the ACT Facebook page.
Hope to see you there,
Directions to Prairie Creek Lodge (pdf also available http://alachuaconservationtrust.org/images/gallery/general/Directions-Prairie-Creek-Ranch.pdf)
From the intersection of University Avenue and Main Street in Gainesville:
drive east on University Avenue (SR 26) a distance of 1.1 miles; then,
Veer right onto Hawthorne Road (SR 20) and drive 5.2 miles; then,
Turn right onto CR 2082 and drive 1.3 miles; then,
Turn right onto CR 234, cross the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail, and
drive 0.9 miles south; then,
Turn right at the mailbox labeled 7204, and stay straight on the dirt driveway approximately 0.5 miles
through the gate and to the Lodge.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sandy Reimer, one of the ministers, spoke eloquently and lovingly about Kathy. This clip is about 15 minutes long. Click here to listen.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Julie asked me to post this invitation from Susan of SAC. Please feel free to attend. Julie will be out of town.
I'm writing today on behalf of Sustainable Alachua County. We have been planning to plant a tree in memory of Kathy and in honor of her service to our organization and the community. SAC will participate in a later celebration of Kathy's environmental legacy, but we wanted to do something now that would be a tangible memorial to Kathy in the community. We will be planting a flowering dogwood tree near the southern end of Northeast Park (near the home you shared with Kathy) this coming Tuesday at 10am.
It has been an honor to participate in Kathy's life and her end-of-life wishes.
Peace, Susan Marynowski
TREE PLANTING (Flowering Dogwood) In Memory of Kathy Cantwell 10am Tuesday August 10, 2010 Northeast Park near NE 13th Ave by Sustainable Alachua County
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
sometimes when a friend or loved one dies there's a painfully bleak,xxx
gray space in the world where they once were
the space left by kathy this week is vibrant, full to overflowing with
inspirations galore, splashes of loss, a myriad colors including every
shade of gray, and small explosions of joy
her memorial tonight was a testament to her tremendous presence and
commitment to life
for those whose spaces are full to overflowing Mary Frye says it best
Do not stand at my grave and weep..
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry..
I am not there. I did not die.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Below is a picture that Tammy Briar took as we walked the trail at Prairie Creek Preserve on the way to Kathy's burial place. (Click the photo to enlarge.)
Please feel free to continue to share your thoughts and feelings here.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
We have been in an intense private bubble these last weeks, and look forward to seeing you all, and sharing in our sadness, and our celebration of Kathy's wondrous life.
Kathy's Memorial Service:
United Church of Gainesville
Corner of NW 17th St and 5th Ave.
Thursday, 7 P.M.
Her mouth which had been open for so long as she struggled to breath, was closed in a small smile. One eye was slightly open. She was still keeping an eye on us. Lorelei and Julie and I don't know who else (Randi?) had bathed and dressed Kathy at hospice for her journey home. She was adorned with the shroud that Lorelei (and Marilyn?) had made. It was muslin and covered with bits and pieces of Kathy's green group T shirts. The fingers of her right hand were folded under as always but her left hand - which had been so contorted in the last few months - was open and relaxed. She looked so calm, relaxed and peaceful.
We scurried around running in to each other, making final plans to unite Kathy with the earth. The plan was to meet at Prairie Creek Lodge. Calls were made in between quiet moments of sitting with Kathy.
We met Judy, Nancy and Marco (the donkey) at the lodge. We put Kathy in a small donkey cart that we had covered with flowers, ferns and palm fronds. The procession headed out for the 3/4 mile trek from the lodge to the burial site. Kathy lead the way, we traipsed behind - sweltering in the heat. I had imagined a solemn procession but it was more of an amiable amble. People talked, walked and sweated. It was a beautiful walk sometimes over shifting sugary sand, sometimes - crunchy oak mulch. Hawks flew overhead and dragonflies accompanied us. An owl swooped by and showed Tammy and Lori it's beautiful face.
Here's a picture from when Kathy visited her burial site a couple of weeks ago.
Susan, Freddie, Ivor and Ben had prepared the burial site. The earth had been hard and resistant to opening up for Kathy. Susan remarked that it was strong - like Kathy. Marco stopped next to the hole they had dug for Kathy and she was place over the grave on slats.
Sandy and Larry from United Church of Gainesville were there with us. Sandy lead us in a beautiful ceremony. Psalms and poems were read. We sang a short song and Kathy was lowered into the earth. We covered her with flowers and fronds so that the dirt would not fall right on her body and we began to shovel the earth over our friend, leader, sister, lover.
It was sad but not shatteringly so. The pain of loss has been part of us for two months now. This was just the next step and then of course will be the next step... living without her.
She had a wonderful life, filled with love and incredible accomplishments. She worked hard to save the world and make it a better place. The influence of her life both as a doctor and an environmentalist will be felt for decades to come.
We cannot say often enough how much you have helped and how supported Kathy, Julie, family and friends have felt. We feel the love.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
Kathy passed quietly in the night. Both Julie and Lorelei were there to witness her last breaths. They say that she looked very peaceful and was breathing softly.. and then just stopped.
She will be buried today in a private ceremony. There will be a service at their church, United Church of Gainesville. Details to follow.
Julie is a private person. She has stood strong all during Kathy's "share it with the world" passing. Please let Julie have some time to process. We know that you all love and Kathy and will be mourning her passing but please refrain from calling the house or Julie or stopping by .... for a while. Let's let Julie have some peace.
We will keep you posted.
Once again, thank you all for being there for Kathy.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Julie and Sue (Kathy's sister) kindly request that no one visit Kathy at Hospice.
Once again, thank you for your kindness.
We will let you know how it goes.
http://www.IBelieveShesAmazing.com/ Kim MacGregor organized this flash mob of 200 dancers to launch "I Believe She's Amazing" in honor of her friend Erika Heller who passed away May 28th, 2009 at 31 yrs. old...this is her living legacy.
This is dedicated to Kathy by Carol Gordon
We slept fitfully thinking surely someone would shake us awake to be with Kathy at her last moments... but she continues to surprise us. She continues on.. just a little longer.
We thank you for your love. You out there who are reading and keeping your own vigils. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, poems, videos, kindness and once again love.
We have felt your love. It has been a extraordinary experience watching Kathy leave but feeling the tendrils of the community reaching forward in every direction to help us help Kathy. We have had to make several calls to people we don't know or barely know and they have often said something like...."I love you all even though I don't know you."
How lucky are we to be living in Gainesville with so much love around. As Kathy often said in the last few weeks, "there are no words to describe it."
Saturday, July 17, 2010
July 17, 2010
Today may be the day. We are holding vigil at Hospice, we feel that she can hear us, she sounds very loud, she is holding on loudly. Randi called me last night at midnight to see if I should come, I waited until this morning to be relief. Jules didn't sleep at all. Sue is here now. She is reading to Kathy and crying her heart out. I sit quietly across the room lest I interfere with the passing, lest I inadvertently call her back to this drab world.
Driving here, I saw a box turtle trying to cross the road. I passed it and then came back to help it to the other side. When I picked it up I saw that its underside had been cracked and grown back together. The tortoise is Kathy's spirit animal.
We will sit in this room waiting and praying and crying and loving her until she passes and then we will begin all of that again. Words cannot express being in this room with her, with the last bit that hangs on to this world, the grasp on each one of our spirits. I feel that she has said goodbye, has loved us all, has finished her loose ends, and realized her projects.
Now we wait, and are tender and loving, for her to leave, to go to the light. I miss my dear friend. Our beautiful, philosophical conversations, our support and comfort of each other, the love and the heartbreak we have shared. The love of nature, the experience of nature, and crossing over into each other's realm, the intellectual to the visual seen through each other's eyes. I am grateful for knowing her, it has been a privilege and is a great loss.
Give her peace, free her beautiful spirit, let her rest, and move into the light, flying, moving freely, unimpeded by her broken wings, let her pass in peace. We love her so. Make her whole in spirit.
We sit in vigil. We wait and love. She can hear us and she can feel us. She can feel the love. God take her sweetly without any more suffering. She has suffered for years for us. She has made a better world, and if I didn't know better I would think you a cruel God, but I know I am blessed for having known her, and will keep the light of her memory forever and I will shine this light in the world in tribute to her and the love she has given us.
Yesterday just as Tammy was leaving for the evening Kathy looked up and said..."I love you" and this was followed by "I kicked ass today." Amen to that Kathy, you always do.
In the last several days, Kathy has really become less and less a part of this world so it is hard to believe (but she is Kathy) that yesterday Mimi and Tammy got Kathy outside! She drifted in and out but she knew what was going on and was obviously happy to be outside. While they were still outside someone, (Will?) said that he had had Satchel's pizza for lunch. Kathy got excited and said that she wanted some for dinner and tried to get them all to get in her van. Truth is at the point, she couldn't swallow. It sounds sad now but it was a happy moment. It just shows how irrepressible her spirit is.
When she returned to the room, she started to drift away. We moved close to the bed and kept telling her that is was OK, everything is OK, it is all good, you can go to the light, you can let go. She would mumble after us, repeating the last word, OK OK, good, good. She said she was ready to go to the light. The night nurse arrived and introduced herself. Kathy's eyes popped wide open and she moved her hand as if to shake hands and said "Hi, my name is Kathy". She drifted deeper. She mumbled words we couldn't understand and then drifted further away from us.
She no longer opens her eyes or responds to us but we are staying near to see her to the end. Kathy appears to be in a coma. Her breath is labored, and her color not so good. It's hard but we are really all ready.
Kathy has chartered a path through this experience that I hope we can remember and follow when it is our turn. We have talked together about everything imaginable - things that pertain to life and the leaving of life. We have spoken of failures and successes, joys and sorrows and song selection details for her memorial. Kathy and Julie reviewed their loves and losses together. Tears and many laughs have been shared and we are now, so near the end.
Kathy will be buried shortly after her death. She will be, as many of you know, the first green burial in our area. There will be a small private ceremony where we will plant the "leader", our Kathy, back into the earth that she so dearly loves. There will be public memorials and we will post that on the blog as the details unfold.
Miranda has been posting a few poems by Mary Oliver. The one below, she posted as a comment but I wanted to include it in this post so that everyone would have the opportunity to read it.
Sleeping in the Forest
by Mary Oliver
I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Our faithful and brilliant Shirley will soon be taking some days off and I am trying a test run for when I take the helm of this amazing blog she created. I am here w Shirl at hospice and we are helping Kathy as they work on getting her pain level down. They let us all come in and hang here with her, and we are greatful for that. She should be going back home in a day or so...we are picking up those wonderful meals and bringing them over to her. And believe me, she (and we!) enjoy them immensely. Thank you Dottie and Jane for last night's lasagna---fantastic! Kathy's sister Sue is coming tonight and we'll all be happy to see her. In the meantime, we've got a nice space here with a large window and a couple of birdfeeders at the window. Time is going by, but kathy is still definitely here with us, for now....
Kathy's speech had become a quiet monotone. She has told us that she sees 6 of everything so she keeps her eyes closed most of the time. She hasn't been smiling - her face has a kind of a frowning/questioning look. She seems gone a lot of the time... you think she is sleeping but she isn't always. Sometimes she is listening and she is still really plugged in...
When they first arrived, the a staff member was asking questions about Kathy's meds. Julie and Randi were filling her in. Evidently though, they weren't completely correct so every once in a while, Kathy would pipe up and correct them. She had the morphine pump button in her hand and was pressing it every couple of minutes. Julie looked over and told Kathy that she didn't have to press it that often. Kathy said, I know, I am just practicing!
A large group of us gathered at hospice around dinner time. Kathy was laying stonily on the hospital bed. When I kissed her, she didn't respond. I made a comment.. still nothing. Then maybe a minute or two later, she responded. It was chilling to see the leader like that.
OK ... the bright spot. The pain meds must have started doing their magic. Kathy's eyes were open more and she started engaging a little more. It was Julie's mom's birthday. She was in the bathroom in Kathy's room and when she came out, we all yelled surprise and started singing Happy Birthday. Someone pointed at Kathy and we looked over and there she was, laying in bed, eyes closed - singing Happy Birthday. It choked me up so that I couldn't sing anymore.
A little later, Kathy picked up the morphine pump button and started talking into it... "I guess you all wonder why I have asked you here tonight." She then proceeded to give a little joke speech to us which included something like "and this is the best morphine mic ... and ended with "and just one more thing" which is something Julie teases her about saying. You can look at the previous posts and see where Julie posted an image of Kathy's hand, finger raised saying Just one more thing.
So great, we have Just One More Thing from Kathy and it was good.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. ~ Rossiter W. Raymond
Life is Eternal is also a song by Carly Simon. Here are the lyrics and
I've been doing a lot of thinking
About growing older and moving on
Nobody wants to be told that they're getting on
For a long, long stay
But just how long and who knows
And how and where my spirit will go
Will it soar like Jazz on a saxophone
Or evaporate on a breeze
Won't you tell me please
That life is eternal
And love is immortal
And death is only a horizon
Life is eternal
As we move into the light
And a horizon is nothing
Save the limit of our sight
Save the limit of our sight
Here on earth I'm a lost soul
Ever trying to find my way back home
Maybe that's why each new star is born
Expanding heaven's room
Eternity in bloom
And will I see you up in that heaven
In all it's light will I know you're there
Will we say the things that we never dared
If wishing makes it so
Won't you let me know
That life is eternal
And love is immortal
And death is only a horizon
Life is eternal
As we move into the light
And a horizon is nothing
Save the limit of our sight
Save the limit of our sight
Monday, July 12, 2010
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away." Simon and Garfunkel.
Going back to the image of Kathy and the rest of us adrift on a life raft... Kathy's on her own raft now. We are still tethered or as Carol would say, "rafted up" but the ropes that are holding her here are unraveling.
I got a call from Randi last night. She was worried because she could not reach anyone on the phone. When I couldn't get anyone either, I raced over there really worried that I was going to arrive at the house and Kathy would no longer be with us. Instead I came upon a quiet scene of family tranquility. Kathy was in her new space - the hospital bed in the side room. Julie was laying down with her head in Doug's lap. David and Gary were sitting in chairs. They were all happily watching a movie. It was so peaceful and quiet. It was so normal seeming.
Kathy speaks in a quiet voice and is losing track of time. She drifts in and out but she still knows us all.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
They were going out to the lake today but I don't know if they made it. Kathy was in a lot of pain. She took some pain meds which wiped her out. They were waiting to see how she felt after the she roused from the meds.
A couple of days ago, Lorelei had the great idea of putting a hospital bed in the day room. It's Kathy's favorite room, windows on three sides. It's as close to being outside as you can be while still be inside. Pam ran out and got curtain rods and scarves to drape on the windows so Kathy could still have some privacy. Julie ran out and got a couple of new bird feeders and we stocked them up and put them right outside the windows of the day room. It was sunny and nice. Kathy enjoyed it.
Friday, July 9, 2010
There was a big meeting that night. Pam remarked that it has been exactly 7 weeks since our first meeting when Kathy told us she needed help because she could no longer transfer by herself.
In many ways, that seems a short time... and in many ways a very long time.
There is not a lot that we can report right now. Kathy is "listing" to one side a bit more and tends to close her eyes and drift off on a regular basis. She often says that she can't tell whether it is the drugs or the brain tumor but her thinking is getting fuzzier.
I wish I had a happy note to end on. The only thing that I can say is that with Kathy, you never know. Hopefully we still have a few bright moments ahead of us.
Monday, July 5, 2010
She was up and on the porch. Hanging out with the gang and enjoying the evening rain. Nice.
Lorelei has also been trying to get Kathy to go for a float on her lake. Kathy said it was just too much trouble and Lorelei rejoined with something like... what else do you have to do right now? So they did it. They didn't actually make it into the water but they had a good time enjoying the day from Lorelei's lake house porch. Laughing and listening to the rain. Crying probably too a little just because we almost always do.
They then headed to Kathy and Julie's lake place and spent the night there. Pretty good for someone who wasn't getting out of bed anymore!
My partner, Bruce and I live in San Francisco, so it is not possible to make a quick trip to see her. I only found out about this when Kathy e-mailed me just a little over a week ago to let me know this was her fate. Needless to say, I was devastated.
I have been following the blog. That helps, too.
Whenever you are with her, whisper my greetings and love to Kathy with a nice kiss on her forehead! If only I could do that myself.
By the way, do you know Donna Burnell? She was a longtime resident of Gainesville but now lives in Dunedin, I believe. I hope she is aware of Kathy's condition. I don't have an active e-mail or phone number for her. We used to be close friends, but time and distance have changed that, unfortunately. Ask around and see if anyone else knows her contact info. I'd appreciate that favor as well.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Right now, life if relentless for Kathy. She wants to be gone but her body is hanging on. It's hard - even with all the love, friends and support. It's really hard but she still is Kathy.
She is still managing her life.. sometimes more, sometimes less. Last night she picked up the phone and I came in to hear her talking to a tenant about rent and the utility bill that was overdue. I heard her sayiing, "yes, this is Kathy. I have been ill so things are a little disorganized."
It's so frustrating for Kathy. She is completely dependent now. She has reduced the amount of steroid that she is taking. It won't make her leave any sooner but she will be less present. I questioned her about that yesterday and she said that she would rather be "fuzzy" than completely here.
When I kissed her last night, she said "there aren't words to thank you all enough. I keep saying it but there are not enough words to describe my thanks."
Thanks for your help and love.
We all went to City Hall last evening in Palatka to receive the proclamation for Kathy - Mike accepted it. The mayor read the inscriptions on and plaque and did a very eloquent job - the words were well written. We were sorry that Kathy could not accept this in person.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
support for Kathy and me. When writing this post on paper first, I started to make a list of people and the ways in
which each of you have given to us. It became obvious very quickly that so many of you have given of yourselves in
so many ways, too innumerable to count. All of you have given according to your individual personalities, vocational skills, and creative expression, some in time spent with us, many behind the scenes, with delicious meals, etc. Each of you are individual expressions of divine kindness, compassion, and love. None of these acts are unnoticed by us, and Kathy and I are filled with gratitude and love for each of you.
Kathy continues to be pain-free (mainly because of the methadone and morphine). Her physical body is failing but her spirit remains strong. I don't know how much longer she has on this earth, but she is very "ready to go", and very much at peace. The experience of this process for those of us left behind is quite different for each of us. As you can imagine, for me, this has been incredibly difficult emotionally. There has been overwhelming grief, fear, anger, on the one hand, on the other, tranquility and peace.
Kathy and I have had the last month to say the things that needed to be said, express the things that needed to be expressed, and do the things that needed to be done. Now, we can just 'be". This is a rare opportunity . We both feel very blessed to be able to have this time together.
Spiritually, this experience has been and will continue to be transformative for all of us, in ways unimagined and unpredicted. It is an incredible journey, this death process. It's mind blowing and heart opening. So, thank you all for sharing this experience with us. We love you all.
Julie and Kathy
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I have not spoken to Kathy or Julie for several days but as I understand it, things are still pretty much the same. Carol called to tell us all that Kathy has called a meeting for tonight so we will all be gathering over at the house at 6pm.
We will let you know.
Will you post this. I know is not well written but is a way to put my feelings ... Thanks...Love Luz
About a beautiful woman.
She was so special
Everybody wants to dance with her…
When you dance with her
You fell the peace
And the light.
Everybody wants to dance with her…
She was tired of dancing
But she do not want anybody sad,
Anybody to stop dancing.
She decide to trick them.
She said: Closed your eyes ,
Imagine I am in your arms when you touch a child
Imagine I smile when you see a smiling person
Imagine I kiss you when the rain is over you
I will surprise you in every fresh herb
In every flower blooming every day
I am going to be there.
Still everybody wants to dance with her
But I imagine
All the love
I imagine you will be with me
In my heart
In my soul
In every heartbeat
And I will imagine you every day
Love you Kathy
Luz 6/27/10 Culebra , Puerto Rico
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I finally saw Avatar, the movie, last night. There is a scene where the doctor/scientist is wounded and dying. The hero is carrying her to this beautiful place to see if the people there can heal her. She rallys for a moment, looks around and says, " I should take some samples." It reminded me so much of Kathy.
One last note - brother Rich sent a 19 pound bread pudding overnight from Puerto Rico. Kathy ate so much her stomach hurts.
When I visited with Kathy she and I talked of my three year old granddaughter, Laurel, the newness of her spirit with fresh memories of the Source. Yesterday, Laurel noticed that I had replaced her picture on my computer desktop with an image of Kathy and wanted to know why. I explained to her that Kathy was very sick and Laurel offered to pray for her. A very heartfelt “talk to God” followed asking for healing and relief from pain followed by an amen. She started to walk away but quickly turned back saying that she had forgotten something. She asked me to tell Kathy not to be afraid, that it would be alright because “we are all there to take care of her.”
Karen Ahlers, PresidentPutnam County Environmental Council, Inc.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Was really quite bright
I will try the same
As it feels only right
I tried to get attention
My cancer was no rumor
Now you’ve gone and beat me
With a little ole brain tumor
Everyday I go to radiation
And fry my right titty
So now I will get affection
With this silly little ditty
Kathy I love you
My sister-in-law friend
This life is almost over
But the next will never end
Your dad and your mom
And your big brother too
Are all waiting patiently
To say welcome to you
You’ll walk and you’ll run
And spend time riding a bike
You’ll spend every moment
Doing things that you like
No pain and no sorrow
You’ll feel only pleasure
knowing this as your truth
Gives us something to treasure
We’ll take care of Julie
And make sure she’s alright
Maybe she’ll learn to relax
And not be so uptight
When our lives are through
For each of us you’ll appear
And finally it will be happiness
Causing all of these tears
In the spirit world we’ll laugh together
I’ll see you Kathy I know its true
In the meantime my boob will get attention
It will be magnificent to steal it back from you!
Love You Kathy! Leslie
Monday, June 21, 2010
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I was here first
You know that it's true
I'll be first again now
but in a blink of an eye
you'll be here with me too
in time for a sigh
Here time seems to crumble
there is no first or last
You'll be with me always
as you were in the past
There's no words to tell you
Just the feelings you know
I love you for always
The connection still grows
Saturday, June 19, 2010
A group of us accompanied Kathy to the prairie today (north rim) where we were met by a ranger who guided us onto the trail by jeep, followed by Kathy's and Julie's van---all the way down to the observation tower. Prairie still had a little bit of morning dew just beginning to evaporate off, and slight touch of a breeze. Kathy was overcome with emotion to be in the midst of her beloved prairie, so alive with every bit of overlapping lifeform. Willie carried her right up the top of the observation tower and once we were up there we all were excitedly exclaiming away---woo hoo! look at the great blues! look at the whooping crane! where are the bison?! blah blah blah until Kathy finally beseeched us to shut up and just listen to the quiet. And then we heard the sandhills chattering, the redwinged blackbirds squacking, the gallinules peeping, the cicadas making their cacophonous racket.... The white lotus flowers were in full bloom everywhere standing taller than I've ever seen them, the purple of the pickerels punctuated everywhere we looked. We saw a small swallow giving hell to a large blackbird midflight forcing him right out of her teritory. Kathy had a big beautiful cry with Julie up there on that observation deck seeing, and smelling, and hearing so much. There was a lot of beauty and wildness in the stillness all around us, and a lot of emotion in the air as we quietly disembarked from the tower and started for home. We all knew just how lucky we are. Randi
- Kathy has a huge heart and doesn't want to turn anyone away but please, please do not come over without contacting someone first to see if she is up to it.
- I put the Dinner link on the side bar of the blog if you want to sign up.
We are still just out here floating around together. Kathy is still the leader and still giving directions but our little life raft is being steered by currents beyond our control and it is not bad. Our world is cool and we have plenty to eat and drink thanks to many of you out there. We drift and occasionally pitch and toss.
Last evening when I arrived, Kathy smiled a kind of an evil grin and said she was having "roid rage". Too much steroid in the mix makes her pretty anxious/angry. Luckily I missed that storm. Everything was really great. Nancy McIntosh and Judy Martino were a hit with their manicotti and flan. Everyone was full and smiling. Nice.
As we gathered around Kathy in the big bed. I picked up small stories from the day. Kathy awoke weeping which I guess has been happening a little more often. She is most sunny with a chance of rain. She seems to be worrying less about the mundane details of life - checking accounts, bills, projects, etc. She admitted to being scared sometimes of what is beyond our vision. She said that sometimes when she can close her eyes and just let go, she feels the wonderful place, the place of love and compassion that she visited during her near death experience immediately following her accident. She is frightened about letting go but happy to be going to this place where she truly believes that she will be happy.
We floated awhile on the big bed of a life boat. We visited old memories and friends. Kathy told us some funny stories from her residency and spoke kindly of Mel Greer whom she regarded as her mentor. She talked about her death and the fact that she feared she might have a seizure. She told us all what to do if she did so that we wouldn't freak out. We asked about her brain and how she thinks things will happen. We tossed gently from one topic to another.
Julie brought Kathy's pills to her and Kathy kind of grilled her about them. At one point she took a pill out of her mouth and they had a discussion about dosage etc. As you can see, she is still very much on board with us.
Julie has been really amazing. The first week or so of this trip, she seemed completely overwhelmed - and really - who wouldn't be? But there is something really different now about her. She has a calm kind of almost smile on her face much of the time. Really, even before all this happened, most of us would not describe Julie as calm. Julie has always been a bit of a worrier and just possibly, having so much to worry about has pushed to a new place, her own spot of calmness amidst the turbulent motions of our raft.
It is a journey and it is not fun but the wonderful thing is that we are all holding hands, holding on to each other to keep anyone from falling overboard. We shift our weight as the raft lists to one side, someone gets too tired and someone else moves in to reestablish our balance so that we can continue this journey with all safe on board.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Last night she said once again that she really wants to use this time to promote fighting "nature deficiency disorder". She is especially adamant about trying to get kids out in nature. I told her that I had not put any links on her blog to other sites because I thought her blog was too intimate. She then had me write down a list of programs that she wants everyone to know about and support. So here it is!
- Cultural Arts Coalition
The Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) developed as an outgrowth of the Annual Fifth ... of the rich African American culture of Gainesville through the arts. ...
- Girl Power -
- Environmental Ambassadors
- Inner City Outings - Sierra Club
- Little Orange Creek Conservation Historical and Educational Center. (LOCCHEC)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
TO MY BEST FRIEND
TO MY SISTER
From the same ticket holder!
I trust you
I see you
I feel you
I know you are a seeker.
You know I will support you,
on your adventure
to see things better.
We must fulfill our nature to create.
IT, always sees the right answer.
We will help those who tell the truth
from their heart.
We will protect those who understand.
Breaking and exploring the limits
of honesty, is to be a true crusader.
To make all the parts fit and be inclusive
you have to be a master at answering.
To be supportive you have to wait
until the person is asking the right question.
We fight the battle
We shine the light
And hope there is no way
Things will be dark
I LOVE YOU!
Today Lorelei came over with a dark pink nail polish. It had a special name something like "you are the kabuki". It was her ingredient to add to mix of today. She did Kathy's nails, then mine, Julie's. I can't remember if she did Randi's. It was a small gift to us all. And there are so many people giving them. Carol takes the recyclables and trash to her house when it starts to spill over the top. Randi drops by to help Kathy write. Julie and Sue do everything. People bring scrumptious food every night. There are too many people to name right now though I hope that we will all take the time to celebrate the generosity that this community has shown.
Kathy is at still peace but it has changed. She was at peace before but in a hurry to leave. Maybe it is that she is finally not in pain or maybe it is just another step in the process. Whatever it is, it is good.
She has also regained the use of her left hand and arm. The steroids are probably responsible. The problem is, they also make her cranky so she and Sue and working to find a balance.
Tonight's plan is to go and see the sunset over Bivens. It should be fun. Kathy was in good spirits when I saw her earlier in the day.
We make plans but everything changes so we will just wait and see and watch as the next gifts fold and unfold.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Julie went upstairs to try and catch up on some sleep. Evidently Kathy was really thristy all night and kept waking up. She kept telling Julie that she wasn't in pain which is of course wonderful.. it just ended up that Julie was quite tired in the morning.
Lorelei, Patty and Kathy spent some time hanging out in bed. They called me and asked me to bring over the dvd of my birthday party (yes we video tape everything!). Kathy got the super "Ham" award for that night. Sadly, that was the last event that she took part in before the whole tumor thing started to kick in. I can imagine the three of them though, laughing with Kathy about her performance. And not just her.. Lore and Patty were great in the skit as well... just a big group of hammy friends!
The hospice doctor comes today to adjust Kathy's meds. She is really happy to be pain free but it is making it hard for her to think clearly and that is frustrating for her.
Yesterday, when she thanked me for bringing over the dvd, I said "goodbye, see you later". She smiled and said with a little look ... "that's a good way to put it."
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Hutch, Freddie Johnson and Susan Marynowski, of Conservational Burial Inc (CBI), have all been working behind the scenes to help make Kathy's desire for a green burial happen. CBI is a newly created non profit dedicated to providing a green space that people may rest in forever. Hutch and Freddie have been pushing paper feverishly in Tallahassee... and it worked. They received the necessary document yesterday.
Kathy will have the honor of being the first green burial in Alachua County. CBI has purchased more than 70 acres near Prairie Creek Ranch. It is really beautiful. The are oaks and wild flowers everywhere. Birds of every make and model were singing and chattering in the background. A swallow tailed kite sailed over head as Kathy and Hutch spoke about the ultimate way to "Go Green". Meg Niederhofer (City Arborist and also married to Hutch) picked out a beautiful magnolia which will be planted on Kathy's burial site. It may sound weird or maudlin but it wasn't - it was sad yes, but mostly peaceful. So it is done and we all feel better prepared to make this the journey Kathy wants.
BUT I have to add - she looked really good this morning. The hospice doctor gave her several prescriptions for pain and Kathy said that yesterday was the first day in the 22 years since her accident that she did not have pain. She slept the whole night through.. another milestone !
Friday, June 11, 2010
Kathy was in bed with a big smile and a welcome. Wow. What a relief to get another day for all of us and Kathy to enjoy one more night together. The reason for the celebration was that it was Richie and Luz's last night with us. They are returning home today. We will really miss them both. Linda Bobroff delivered a fabulous meal and Julie went crazy ordering appetizers from The Jones. We all sat on the back porch in the heat of the night sweating, laughing and just enjoying the hours together.
Thank the stars, your god/goddess, the trees whatever. As Mimi said last night, the love and thoughts that Kathy's friends around the world are sending are making these days easier.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
They had two bigs day on Tuesday and Wednesday with lots of meetings. Kathy wants to make sure all the details are taken care of. She is so dedicated. She doesn't want to leave anything undone especially when it comes to her environmental work.
We have heard from several groups, specifically Alachua Conservation Trust and Putnam Land Conservancy that several bridges and trails are going to be named in Kathy's honor so that her work will be continued to be acknowledged for decades to come.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Food and people started to pour in the doors at the Hipp before 6pm on Monday. It was hot and chaotic but everyone was easy going and patient. We just went with the flow and waited for whatever was going to happen. There was food and people absolutely everywhere!
By the time Kathy arrived at 6:30ish it was apparent that we were way beyond the capacity of the cinema. Thanks to a few words from Hutch that morning, we had decided to have the mainstage set up just in case. It seats nearly 300 and it was pretty full.
It was calm and cool in there until Kathy rolled in. The crowd erupted and gave her a long standing ovation, one of at least 3 or 4 that evening. Mayor Craig Lowe read a proclamation and honoring Kathy by declaring June 7th, Dr. Kathy Cantwell day. He then went on to give her a key to the city, an honor not often bestowed. Another standing ovation.
GRU then made a short presentation honoring Kathy with a beautiful plaque in honor of all her hard work for our community. Another thunderous round from the audience.
Hutch (Robert Hutchinson, ACT) then spoke about Kathy and land conservancy. He noted that he and several other activists met for about 3 hours earlier that day while Kathy explained to each of them what was what and what still needed to be done. And then yes, another uproar from the crowds.
Kathy then read a short speech filled with "Cantwell" power. She told us of her love the nature and the important part that it plays in her peace with the world and with her own destiny. She admonished/encouraged us to get out in nature, to take moment regularly and drink it in quietly. And she made some funny jokes.... Another long round of applause.
Julie was sitting next to Kathy throughout and had a wonderful smile on her face. The first I have seen in a month. It was great to see. Although admittedly not a public speaker, Julie rallied and read a beautiful poem that I hope someone will post for you. More applause.
People said their thanks and goodbyes to Kathy and the public part of the evening was over. Close friends and family then went down to the cinema to watch a couple of short videos. The first was one that I had made for Kathy's 60th birthday (last September). The second was the video that Patty shot of the skit we put for that same celebration. Laughter ruled the end of the evening. My cheeks were cramping from smiling.
Thank you Hippodrome (Mary, Rocky, Robert) for all the support last night and thank you friends of Kathy - you know who you are.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The most important thing for you to know is that Kathy is still Kathy. Her mind is still great and she has even regained the use of her left hand. She still cannot transfer but is feeling a little more comfortable. The change in meds has been good. Her plan is still the same though. She is not seeking any type of treatment. Her belief is still that she will be leaving us soon.
She has been busy at home getting things organized and talking with people. It is overwhelming and tiring for her but she is a trooper. Old friends from out of town are here and I know Kathy has enjoyed seeing everyone again.
Last night we showed some very old videos of our crazy antics from the early 80's. We laughed hysterically at parts. It was also poignant since this footage was before Kathy's accident. Some people at the house, had never seen Kathy without her chair. At the end of the evening about 8 of us ended up in bed with Kathy (yes a giant bed). We had a wonderful sweet time reminiscing about the good old days. Kathy talked about her life belief and why she is at peace with her life and its path now.
I spoke to Kathy this a.m. about her party on Monday. She said she is over the "drama" and just wants this to be a party (no tributes) and that she also wants to use it as an opportunity to promote Putnam Land Conservancy. That made me laugh out loud. Only our Kathy would use this occasion for land issues!
All of Kathy's friends are welcome Monday. Bring a dish to share and your own plate and eating utensils. We are going to try and eat at 6pm promptly (ha!) so that we can celebrate and be out of there before we wear Kathy out too much.
That's about it for now.
Kathy et al, send their love.