Today is the 22nd birthday of someone very special.
She isn’t here with us any more but that doesn’t mean we don’t think of her every day and smile. Or wonder what she’d be doing now and where her life would have led.
My daughter shares her name because I made a promise to myself that should I ever have a baby girl I would remember Kathryn that way.
I was playing Flashback on the Amiga when Mum told me the news. It was the 2nd of February 1998 and about half past six in the evening. It felt like the bottom had dropped out of my world. In a way I think it did. When you are nine years old you don’t expect your friends to die – not friends that are basically family. I knew Kathryn was ill – she had been for as long as I could remember but I still never really thought I would lose her. How could someone so perpetually happy and joyful at the world, someone who saw the sunshine in everything and had the biggest smile in the universe possibly ever go away?
I remember her funeral. I remember crying and I remember laughing. I remember playing in the sandpit in the school afterwards whilst all the grown-ups had coffee and tea. I don’t remember who else was playing with me but I know I wasn’t on my own.
I still struggle to sing ‘Yes, Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘One More Step Along The World I Go’ all the way through without shedding a tear or two because they were her very favourite hymns. But mostly I just remember her laugh and her smile and the hours of fun we shared on holidays and whenever we were together.
When she died I wrote a poem for her. It’s not a work of technical genius but a work of love because even when I was nine my way of sharing things was through words on paper, something that hasn’t changed at all as I have grown, despite everything life has thrown in my direction. Here it is – just as I wrote it, dodgy punctuation and all:
Kathryn and Me. A True Story
The first time I met Kathryn I was one year old,
Not in England oh no I was in Germany my birth place.
The first time I went to her birth place she was seven months old.
Yes we were in England, Keld to be precise. (That’s in Yorkshire if you did not know)
The next time I saw her we were back in Keld, Easter ’91,
Kathryn and I enjoyed it when Andrew (my BIG brother) read us Spot stories.
Next time we saw her we met Emma her new little sister.
When my family and I moved back to England we saw her quite a lot.
Why? you might be asking, because we lived quite near her. (Well sort of, in Richmond)
Sometimes after Kathryn had had her check-ups at North Allerton Hospital,
And I had finished play school we would go and have lunch at a cafe in Richmond.
It seemed our favourite flavour sandwich was “grass” (cress),
But if someone offered me a “grass” (cress) sandwich now my answer would simply be Yuk! or NO WAY!
Then I moved away again this time to Shawbury I didn’t see her as much then,
BUT Kathryn did visit us once only once Why? because we only lived there one year.
When Emma and Kathryn did visit us we picnicked in my Wendy house on my back lawn,
I then moved to Wem where I am now. We didn’t see them much at all.
Apart from when we went on holiday together,
The first time I remember going on holiday with them was when we went to The Forest of Dean.
When we were there we went for walks together, played together and had picnics together,
We also went to Wye Valley Farm when we were there.
Kathryn was nour four and I was six (just thought I’d inform you,)
Anyway at Wye Valley Farm we played with piglets and other animals and did some trampolining.
We said “goodbye” as we left The forest of Dean,
Believe it or not they dropped in once to see us on the way back from their hols.
The next time we saw Kathryn and Emma was at Chrystal’s (my BIG sister) 18th birthday March ’96,
Kathryn, Emma and I helped Chrystal blow out the candles on her cake. (And helped eat it!)
Bedgelert in Wales was the next place we saw them,
Kathryn and Emma’s Dad (Uncle Chris to me) treated us all to a GIANT ice-cream each. (I think more of it ended up down our fronts than in our tummies!)
I also took a picture of Kathryn and Emma by a “Thomas the Tank Engine” model!
The last time we met her we were on holiday together again. this time we were at Sandy Hills Bay Scotland.
Whilst we were there we visited Threave Gardens,
Emma and I wanted to go through the woods but Kathryn didn’t.
Kathryn, Emma and I went for loads of bike rides around the site,
(Of course Uncle Chris came too.)
One day we even went Rock Pooling/Crab Catching.
One time it was really windy so we flew a Kite with Dad, (my Dad)
Then a few months after we had left Kathryn became very ill with Leukaemia and sadly died on Feb 2nd 1998.
Kathryn was eight when she died I miss her terribly and I always will. I know Emma will be very lonely with out her sister, but will all try to remember all the good times we had with her and as we all know she ENJOYED her short but happy life.
Kathryn was my SPECIAL FRIEND!
by Carole Heidi, February 1998
Happy Birthday Kathryn