Her Voice Carries On

February 28, 2011 at 11:07 PM (Friends, Loss)

I could feel my heart breaking. The tears flowed and the sobbing wouldn’t stop.  It didn’t make any sense.  How could it be and why?  No matter what anyone said or did at that point couldn’t console me.  My best friend of 12 years, Katy Kochenderfer, died on January 14th, 2011.

It was a whirlwind or more like a maelstrom of confusion, sadness and frustration for a month before her death.  I tried to help the best I could; offer my support the best way I could by talking to her fiancé Dan.  See, she just got engaged and was going to spend the rest of her life with him; I never known her so happy before.  They also got a new puppy Giles.  Everything seemed to be perfect.  When I saw her post about her being in pain before Christmas, I emailed her and asked her what was wrong.  She told me and from then out came the frustration of not knowing what was causing her pain,the ignorance of the doctors and the feeling of doors slamming in her and Dan’s face.  I wanted to help so badly.  I wish I could have afforded to fly out to help her.  The last time I saw her was in January of 2010 before I left.  I wanted to hit myself for not talking to her on the phone more.  We had the type of relationship where we wouldn’t talk on the phone much (she never was for talking on the phone and plus I was 3 hours behind her) but we would email.  I felt such empathy for her and Dan and in a way, I hurt as well.  Katy was in so much pain and couldn’t even move.  Dan kept me posted on what was going on since Katy was so bad off that she really couldn’t handle talking to everyone. I don’t want to go into all of the details of the cause of her pain, but you can read it here:


Her fiancé Dan beautifully & heartbreakingly expressed what happened in his own words.  I offered advice and was nervously waiting on any news about Katy.  I don’t remember the exact day; Dan called me while I was on my lunch and told me that he and Katy came back from the doctor and found out that she had cancer.  I said “Fuck!” and started crying.  I had to go outside and cry.  I couldn’t believe this was happening to her.  I kept on sending positive thoughts and energy her way hoping that she would be able to beat the cancer. Everything was happening so fast and none of it was fair.

Katy would email me occasionally to let me know how she was and Dan kept me updated as much as he could.  Katy kept on telling me how much she loved me and how much she appreciated everything I was doing for her.  She also told me something that made me cry:  “Thank you for being there for me. I’m sorry if I wasn’t there for you.” I told her that  “Always sweetie. Don’t worry about it- today is what is important, not the past.”  My heart was breaking for her.  I just wanted to be there…  Then Dan told me she was going to have a D&C and a laparoscopy to see how much cancer and what type of cancer it was on Wednesday, January 12th.  The night before her surgery I sent her a text:

“Don’t need to respond.  I will be sending extra positive energy to you and even more love!  Even though I am not there with you, just know a piece of my heart is always there.”

That was the last text I sent to her.  I didn’t know I wouldn’t ever text her again.  The next two days were nail-biting.  My stomach kept on churning awaiting news about Katy.  Dan emailed everyone he could and I found out that Katy had an aggressive form of uterine cancer and it spread to ovaries, bladder, liver, colon and possible around her inferior vena cava. I was dismayed by the news.  I kept on wondering how she was going to get through this?  She always wanted children and now she wouldn’t be able to.  Thoughts of her struggling through pain and chemotherapy brought tears to my eyes.  The doctor wanted her to start chemo as soon as possible (when she recovered from the surgery) and they didn’t want to remove the cancer because they thought it would endanger her life.

They put her in ICU because her heart rate was very high, developed blood clots and had a hard time breathing, so they intubated her.   She never fully recovered from surgery.  Thursday night, I saw that Dan posted that Katy may not make it through the night.  I went home and bawled.  I tried to meditate and send my healing energy her way.  Friday was a blur.  I don’t remember who called me.  Katy’s heart kept on stopping.  I didn’t want to admit it, but the outcome seemed bleak, but I still send all my energy to her hoping she would make it through.  I kept on pacing the house, smoking cig after cig.  I don’t remember who I all talked to that night, but I was on the phone a lot.

I got the call around 11:15 my time that Katy passed away.  She left the world comfortable and surround by love.  I lost it.  Everything around me seemed to fade. There was no consoling me.  A bright light that shone through the darkness I kept sometimes was gone.  It doesn’t make any sense.  I fumbled through the week and thanks to our friend Josh, he bought me a plane ticket to go to Katy’s memorial.

Her memorial was beautiful.  So many people who loved Katy come to pay their respects.  There was a video montage with some of her favorite music playing, gorgeous flowers and some of her favorite things were laid out.  I got up and spoke about Katy and that was the hardest thing I had to do.  It took all of my might to get the words out.  Thanks to Josh and Tammy for standing up there with me.

I knew Katy for 12 years.  We met at Staples.  She didn’t want to be my friend at first (because I was so open) but I helped her through something and she realized how much I meant to her.  Back then, Katy was quiet and sometimes withdrawn.  It is an honor for me to be able to see how much she grew.  She became this beautiful flower that spread so much joy to others.  She loved everyone differently.  She didn’t care if you had different interests than her, or what type of person you were.  She loved you for you.  And she sure did love me for me.  She understood me like no one else.  She could say what I couldn’t define.  She could see inside my soul and give me the best advice.  She was comfortable.  I will miss everything.  We had plans; she was going to be an Aunt to my future children, her and Dan were going to come for a visit in the Spring, we were going to travel together someday, and she was supposed to meet the love of my life.  I cry for things that were and things that will never be.  I feel guilty for not calling more, not seeing her more, for everything.

I am happy that she finally got what she wanted; the love of her life, Dan.  She waited so long for him.  She was so enthralled and excited for her future with him.

She was a part of my life for a reason.  She brought love, laughter, understanding and many more things into my life.  Katy was an inspiration. She will always be in my heart and never will be forgotten.  I will carry her with me everywhere.  Her words will stay with me and be the voice of reason.  Whenever I want to see her, I close my eyes.  She appears smiling, and her voice carries.  I can still hear her sing.



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