Sunday, September 21, 2008

Katie Packard

The weathermen of emotion say it like this "When it rains, it pours."

And so we get out our umbrellas.

This morning we were told that our beloved cousin Katie Packard passed away. Her life started only two months before mine--making her a very young thirty-one--and ended yesterday afternoon. Katie is the daughter of my mother's sister, sister of two and mother of two. My siblings and I love her very much and feel the same for our Aunt Jani, Uncle Brent and cousins.

We are not firm on the details of her death, for that reason I can't elaborate. I will say that Katie fought hard with the battles of humanity and no matter what the outcome, we will always remember her as being happy. Just happy Katie laughing like lightening, singing and doing acrobatics in her mother's impeccable living room.

Admittedly it was hard for me to be Katie's same-aged cousin. She was the youngest, the smiling jewel, china doll of the family. I was the easily-over-looked middle daughter who had hand-me-downs and an appetite for pity. Her paperdolls were always crisp, mine were deformed with tape or globs of dried glue. She had a drum set in her playroom. (Playroom? What is a playroom?) When we'd go swimming at Nana and Papa's she'd steal the show with her display of fear for water, while I'd scrape my back on the diving board and watch the crowd chanting for Katie to "Kick! Kick! Kick!"

But I always loved my Katie cousin. Even into our adulthood--marriages, divorces, children--I loved her like we were still five years old, sun bathing on the condo patio eating Oreos dipped in Sprite.

When I heard of her passing my heart was broken. Having so recently been walking in the shadow of death, I immediately thought of my sweet Aunt Jani. She was first on the scene after we arrived in Utah with the children. How could I serve her like she served me?

And I thought all day. Even as I held The Chief in the backyard, looking at the red leaves spreading (Ollie calls it "lava") down the mountain. I thought about it as I tucked in Jane, her freckles bright against her pale skin. I thought about it as I said good night to my mother who anxiously awaited the arrival of dad tonight from Arizona. And this is my conclusion: I will write about what I know.

I've been taught since a young age that those who leave this life go back to heaven. It seems to me logic would prove that our spirits go back home--and heaven is our home--regardless of who we were in humanity. There we are reunited with people who love us, those we connected with on this earth, and those who connected with us from heaven. In essence, we are surrounded by angels.

After that we are given chance to continue in knowledge and progression. We can grow in happiness and intelligence forever if we choose. Because of Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father will never abandon us, even when we haven't earned his devotion. This is the good news.

I'd like to think that Katie is with our beloved Nana right now (and I find myself again jealous of Katie, I would love to spend time with Nana) remembering the beautiful times they had in mortality. I am sure Katie will continue in motherhood, being able to mother as the angels do, all-encompassing. She will gain intelligence and understanding. She will find peace that this life eluded her. She will be happy. Just like we remember.

I've got a mental list of people who I expect to greet me when I go home. Today I added my darling cousin Katie.

I hope they have Oreos in heaven.

C&S Update:
Christian continues to power-up. We are still waiting word on how Steph's body is accepting the skin grafts. Things continue to look positive.

***This cousin Katie is not the same as Katie D, though they are both well-loved cousins of ours!