As we walked into the church sanctuary, we were overcome with emotion. Emotion on top of emotion. The feelings had been intense for a while as we'd observed the outpouring of love for Kate and her family from afar. They are all loved. It is obvious, and it is moving.
We listened to loved ones, including Kate's father, John, describe Kate and her people-oriented personality. I was struck by the realization that I'd first met John, one of the children of our daycare provider, when he had been about Kate's age. It wasn't much longer before we met Megan, Kate's mother, and eventually Tyler, Kate's big brother. It hardly seemed possible that we were now mourning the loss of Kate.
In an inspiring show of strength, John spoke to those gathered, sharing laugh-out-loud stories from Kate's childhood as well as some touching (and sometimes even funny) stories from her most recent experiences battling an agressive cancer. At one point, John praised the warmth and capabilities of her doctor's, pointing out how much comfort he felt knowing that many of them were mothers themselves. Afterword as we talked, he told us, "We encountered so many wonderful doctors. I mentioned the mothers, but there were fathers too. Like the one who delivered Kate french fries he'd picked up on his way to the hospital, knowing the cafeteria fryer was down and Kate would want her french fries."
As we were pulled into the loving embrace Kate had experienced, we were again reminded that parents are often uniquely qualified, through their work, to help so many in very meaningful ways. Sometimes parents are able to witness and understand the value they provide directly, sometimes they understand it intellectually without witnessing it first-hand, and sometimes they're not even aware when their parenting status enhances their skills and experience to help others.
As we gathered to celebrate Kate's life, her family was thoughtful enough to remind us.