John McCain died yesterday, and today I attended a memorial for a friend who died a couple weeks ago.
The hot takes of McCain’s life (amongst other things) leave me reluctant to lionize anyone. The Senator was a complicated person, to put it mildly, and he should be recounted as such. He had moments of courage and decency and that should be acknowledged. He also had a massive impact on the lives of people in this country and internationally and it was frequently horrible. One cannot tell that story without including both sides.
Kat was equally complicated-though her legacy is far more positive. While I knew her for almost two decades, I cannot say that I knew her extremely well. Despite that, she always made an effort to stay in touch and she was extremely gracious about introducing me to her friends and including me in events-and she was a woman who loved a lively party. I am honored she thought I would be a good inclusion to those parties.
She was also a stubborn, hard headed person with a world view that was both firm and encompassing. It made her a challenge to talk to, sometimes, because she could dominate the room.
Which is the worst I can say of her-and it is, as these things tend to be, a criticism of myself, too. (Something she wouldn’t hesitate to point out to me, a warm smile on her face).
In Kat’s case, her stubborn qualities came from a place of love-she wasn’t afraid to change. Quite the opposite; she was one of the more adventurous people I have met. Instead, she adamantly wanted the best damn thing she could get-be it food and drink, education or people in her life and she wanted the best FOR those people. She insisted on it and dug her heels in about it because she cared about them. At her memorial, it was said that she did not suffer fools and this was certainly true-fools nor the injustice that they would practice- found themselves at the brunt of her wrath.
She loved her friends with a thoughtfulness that I wish I practiced more. I think it was one of the reasons she had a spiderweb life, connected to so many different corners, yet a center of joy for anyone who was fortunate enough to be given her friendship.
She was big and brazen and forthright in ways I have yet to learn and quietly compassionate and loving to those around her in ways that I also have yet to learn. She is missed.
For the purposes of this blog, the other thing you need to know is that Kat loved good tequila and she loved margaritas.
So at the Sweet Hereafter I am having a margarita on her recommendation. On the rocks, salt on the rim, Hornitos. Whatever the next stage of her journey is, I know she will face it with a happy, brilliant ferocity.
Kat introduced me to Kiva, a micro loan service where people with a little extra can help support others with a need. It was exactly the kind of thing she loved to do: chip in a little to provide someone else with the ability to make their dream work. Perhaps this notion appeals to you, too.