This morning I found out that one of my best friends passed away in January…
There is a lot I could say, but right now I just feel speechless…
Kathy Morris and I met on a chilly October morning at the Evergreen State College Pool. It was the place where I met a bunch of my dearest friends. Somehow we all managed to show up that early early hour in the morning to swim laps. That was nearly 9 years ago back in 2010.
From there our friendship blossomed. I continued to see Kathy at masters swimming and we both swam the IM at the Rudolf’s Plunge that December. I remember being so nervous. It had been 4 years since I had swam a swim meet in highschool and I was worried that I would not make it through that IM.
“Kathy was in the heat after me and she said, “you got this! We are in this together!” That was a phrase we would tell each other for many years to come. That we were in this together.”
I was going through a hard time and was healing from PTSD, but it was so uplifting to have such a wonderful group of friends. I got to ring in the new year 2011 with Kathy, Diana, and Mica. We piled into Kathy’s mother’s car and drove to Gig Harbor for a Polar Bear Plunge. It was my very first polar plunge and I became hooked after that. I remember feeling cold yet so happy with a cup of buttered rum cheeks rosy with my dearest friends.
We had movie nights nearly every Friday at Diana’s where we brought snacks, wine, laughter, and bonded over movies and “Secrets of the Sound” in Diana’s sun room. I felt truly loved and supported by these wonderful friends. Then life got a little hectic. I started coaching swim team and stopped swimming with the Evergreen Masters, but we managed to see each other here and there.
Then in October of 2011 we all managed to swim at the Bamfest swim meet in Bainbridge Island. I was so thrilled to see Kathy and Diana there. We laughed uncontrollably as we pulled swam through those goofy relay races at the end of the swim meet. I started working at the local swim shop and Kathy would stop in and chat every now and then.
Life got hectic again and I started dating in 2012. Kathy and I were out of touch for a little while, but were reunited at Traditions Cafe one sunny afternoon in 2013. From there we made it a point to catch up more consistently. It was a tumultuous time in my life when I moved 4 times in one year, but I made it through and looked forward to my visits with Kathy.
She visited me at my place when I was renting a room on State Ave and she thoughtfully gave me a “Welcome Home” sign that followed me for years. We met for sushi at least once a month and soon we were visiting at least every other week. We went to the Olympia Artswalk in the fall twice and once in the spring in the morning before the event started. We even coached swim team together for a few weeks before I moved to a new team at the end of 2013.
Kathy helped me move a few times and was there for me when I needed her the most. A faithful friend, a kind listener, and a shoulder to cry on because there were times when the tears did spill…I felt like I could talk with Kathy about anything.
2014 had a rough start and Kathy was there for me. My car broke down and it felt like my life was falling apart, but she encouraged me and inspired me to keep moving forward. I always admired Kathy’s strength and she reminded me that I was strong and an independent woman.
I made it through the struggles of 2014 with a little help from my friends and by that summer my life started to piece itself together. I had a full-time job (one job rather than 4), a car, and I was a head swim coach of my own team. I started dating again and Kathy reminded me that the most important thing for a woman to keep is her independence even in a relationship.
I spent New Year’s Eve with Kathy, her mother Helen, and Mica and spent the night there. Then on New Year’s Day of 2015 she came with me for another Polar Bear Plunge in Long Lake. After the bone chilling dip we stopped at her friend’s house for a shower then talked about our goals for the new year and the Log Cabin Bar over brunch.
Kathy was my photographer for the very first swim meet I ran myself and she helped me set it up and clean up afterwards.
I feel blessed that I have so many beautiful memories with such an amazing friend. I used to always think about how I could not imagine life without Kathy. I still cannot believe that our time together is over forever, but her memory lives on forever in my heart.
I love you Kathy. Thank you for always being there for me when I needed a friend the most. Rest well and be happy always,