My best friend, Kathy Johnson, just passed. Actually, she was more of a sister to me and a mom to my kids.
After living in Douglas for over a year back in my early 20′s, I was ecstatic to finally find a friend from that area that I had something in common with. We were pregnant at the same time. Our kids grew up together. She gave me the strength to go on after my husband was killed in 1986. She and her family continued to visit regularly after we moved to Tucson. I always felt supported by Kathy. She stood by me though my roller coaster emotions and never once judged me. As my daughter recently said, she taught us about functional family relationships.
So many people looked to her for guidance. It was a huge mantle to carry and she did it with grace and elegance. Kathy never said anything negative about anyone and continued to have a positive outlook even after liver cancer was diagnosed one month ago. She was focused on seeing her first grand baby born and was determined to “beat this thing.”
Family and her huge circle of friends are experiencing intense grief right now. Some people are conflicted about their pain, thinking that close family members are the only people that have the right to feel so intensely. I have always said, “you can’t compare pain,” and I believe that you also can’t compare grief. We all experience it in our own way and no matter the degree of intensity, pain is pain and grief is grief. Mine is not easier or more difficult than yours and we can all support each other in these times of sadness.
The person that shared so much of our life is no longer with us physically, but I believe those that pass on are still with us in spirit. And, our Kathy has one strong spirit. She leaves a legacy of love and compassion and I am so honored to have had her as my loyal friend.