She would take a bag of M&Ms and dump it into a jar of peanut butter and proceed to eat directly out of the jar with a spoon. “It’s one of the benefits of being single,” she once told me.

My Aunt Kathy didn’t have an easy life. Having been diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age, struggling with seizures, and short term memory loss, she still (stubbornly, some would say) learned to use the email (if not the internet) and took a plane to Germany to see us–twice, when most people were scared of terrorists or natural disasters.

She was brave, kind, and always had a bit of wisdom that could re-direct you in a heartbeat. When she was diagnosed with cancer nearly 2 years ago, it didn’t seem fair, somehow–that this woman, who had already gone through so much, should have to battle cancer too. 

She fought it in her typical, brave way, mostly with a cheerful outlook and positive attitude.

Aunt Kathy held me as a baby, played with me as a child, went to my high school plays, and became one of my very best friends as an adult.

She taught me how to bake bread, and vehemently studied gluten-free options for me, and through trial and much (laughable) error, we came up with a loaf that did NOT resemble a brick.

She showed the girls how to finish a quilt, played Scrabble with William and trains with Noah. Aunt Kathy taught Katie the “real” way to play Monopoly (with no mercy), and she was even seen dressing Polly Pockets with Libby.

Aunt Kathy was great at listening, loving, and having fun. She was witty, caring, and always ready to give a hug or take a walk or play a board game.

Even in the middle of winter, she took the kids outside for 20 minutes a day, whether the sun was shining or not. We called her our own “Mary Poppins,” because of the way she tactfully and cheerfully handled each of us. She made our family better.

Last night, her battle was over, and she went Home to be with God.

I know her pain and troubles are finished forever, but I will miss her every day, until I take my last breath.

I don’t know if we will play board games in heaven, and I don’t know if God has peanut butter or M&Ms on hand, but I do know as tough as this loss is, Aunt Kathy & I will never have to say goodbye again.


 Playing cards with Katie

Kathy’s first visit to Germany: Holding (a smaller) Noah at the Toy Museum, Rothenburg

A carriage ride at Rothenburg.

Holiday Baking with Libby

Our Mary Poppins in the Baby Pool at Palm Beach, near Nurnberg.

Taking Nanny duty seriously at the Christmas Market in Nurnberg.

We taught her how to play the Wii. Sometimes she won…

…and sometimes she lost. But she always had fun!

A Quilt Lesson

Kathy and I at Neuschwanstein, where we would periodically burst into songs from the Sound of Music