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Losing a friend

I will remember you.
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by.
Weep not for the memories…
— Sarah McLachlan, “I Will Remember You”

We joke, as genealogists, about our close relationships with those who have gone before.

“I seek dead people,” one t-shirt reads.

“I brake for cemeteries,” another says.

In RemembranceMore than most, we take the long view — and often feel more comfortable with the lost than the living.

And then something happens that reminds us how very precious — and fleeting — life is.

Yesterday, The Legal Genealogist lost a friend.

She will go into the records as Catherine. But those of us who loved her will never think of her as anything other than Katy. Or sometimes, for short, as Kay.

And oh yes we will remember you.

We will remember that you never lost the brogue of your Irish homeland.

And that it grew deeper and broader when you spoke of its green hills.

We will remember your smile and the way your eyes lit up when something tickled your fancy.

We will remember all the times your husband’s antics drew from your lips that one phrase… “Oh, Tom…”

And the hundred different ways that phrase sounded depending on just what he’d done this time.

We will remember the depth of your friendship. All the things you did for all of those you loved. And how many of us there were that you loved.

We will remember your courage in facing a life that at times seemed so precarious. Losing your mother when you were just a little girl. Cancer as a very young, brand-new immigrant to this country. The ominous signs of congestive heart failure in these past few weeks.

We will remember your faith.

And we will think of you today as we wing westwards towards a life full of new commitments and new responsibilities.

And as you begin your final journey back to your homeland, to lie for all time next to the mother you lost so long ago.

You gave us everything you had, oh you gave us light.

You never let your life pass you by.

And I will do my best to weep not for the memories.

Catherine “Katy” Schaefer, d. 3 June 2014.

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