I’d like to pay tribute to Katie Homen, who passed away on Sept. 3, 2009.
Many of you may not know Katie. She was very low-profile, preferring to applaud others instead of taking the stage. I met Katie through her blog “Gotta Keep On Keeping On,” which is exactly what Katie did for three years while she battled three separate cancers. “New cancer, same old fighting spirit,” she wrote.
I met Katie when I started blogging to heal my own breast cancer wounds. I don’t know whether she found me or I found her. It didn’t matter. I knew that anytime I would write, Katie would be the first one to leave a message. And it would always be sweet and supportive.
Whenever I went to Katie’s blog to read her posts, I would be inspired by her fierce and gentle love for her husband, “my best friend,” and her four small children, Emma, Leah, Frances and Jesse. From her first post in September 2006, to her last post in August 2009, Katie was relentlessly positive, hopeful, funny.
A few of Katie’s posts…
Sept. 29, 2006:
“OK, here I am back from chemo. My first treatment. How great to get started on attacking these stupid cancer cells! I wasn’t nervous about it, just glad to be on the way. Ashley, my nurse, was very sweet and funny. Lucky for me they gave me one with a good sense of humor. I think by the time I left she was ready for a drink!
Nov. 10, 2008
“Some of you may be saying, “Hey, that’s not fair!” and “Poor Katie!”…..and at first I would have agreed with you. But life isn’t fair sometimes, and really there’s nothing that can change where I am right now. And I’m handling this just fine.
SO, let’s just say, “That’s not ideal”….or even “Katie, this sucks!” because that is how I’m looking at it and it works for me! Please please please: No “Poor Katie”‘s or pity looks! I just can’t stand all that nonsense, as well-meaning as they may be intended. I much prefer a “This really stinks” or an “I’m so sorry, but can I stomp on your foot to get your mind off things?” or better yet, “Howsabout I run out and buy you a half-caff Cinnamon Dolce (or Vanilla or Pumpkin Spice) Latte to make you feel better?”…..and then some nice upbeat conversation. Because there are plenty of things in my life to be happy about, I’m not dwelling on the bad stuff.”
In our last email exchange, Katie said this:
“You asked how you can best be there for me? I would say by keeping in touch and letting me know how you’re doing, through Facebook and/or email, whichever you prefer (or happen to be on when you think of me). I love hearing from friends, it always gives me a lift! The biggest help would be your prayers. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. Pray for my children, to give them the strength to get through losing a Mommy. Pray for me, to give me the strength to continue with all these drugs and treatments meant to fight my cancer. Pray for John, to give him the strength to continue being the wondergul caregiver he is (he’s really wiped out these days). And pray for a miracle, that this cancer just “goes away.”
If prayer is not your thing, then send your warm healing and strengthening vibes my way (Richmond, Virginia)!”
Katie, thank you for gracing us with your wit, your kindness, your faith in God and mankind. You are loved.