Sunday, October 24, 2010

How to live and how to die

Since I listen to Christian music when walking on the treadmill and sometimes when working at repetitive tasks, I find that important life passages are invariably embedded with specific musical memories from whatever album I happened to be listening to at the time.

So it happens that Jars of Clay's "The Shelter" will forever remind me of my sister in the Lord, Katy McShane--her memorable life and equally memorable death.

Katy was in college at ND when my husband Joe first ran for State Senate in 1982, one of the many student volunteers whose efforts propelled Joe to that first win. Katy and Kevin have always understood why our family has chosen the path of politics and they appreciated the things we've been fighting for over the years.

At her wake, hearing about Katy's generous, open-hearted service and hospitality to so many people was a great consolation to me. Though our paths crossed infrequently, I experienced Katy's kindness to my children, her enthusiasm at soccer and basketball games, and her apparently effortless reaching out in sisterhood, embracing the joys and trials of those around her. I received many kindnesses from her, as well as encouragement and hope.

Katy didn't sweat the small stuff in life. In facing death, she eschewed fear and embraced the future willingly, and even in her final days keeping herself accessible for those who needed to be with her and say good-bye.

Thank you, Katy, for sharing with us your generous love and for showing us true abandonment to the will of God. We will always be grateful for the years we lived "in the shelter of each other."