Earlier this evening, a dear friend of mine, with whom I worked years ago, sent me a link to a newspaper article about a woman who had just passed away. She sent me this link because we knew this woman back when we worked together at Syracuse University. This woman, Kathy Urschel, was a graduate student at SU then, and worked in our office for a while as a graduate assistant. At the time (this was the early 90s), Kathy and I became friends. We'd have lunch together when schedules permitted and we'd certainly chat (I've always been a talker - and so was Kathy!) a lot whenever she was in the office as well. She was a hoot, funny and quick-witted and had a keen sense of observation that could leave me rolling in laughter in an instant.
Eventually, I left Syracuse, got married, moved around and lost touch with Kathy somewhere along the way. I still thought of her from time to time over the past 16 years, and at one point (still in the early days of the internet and email) exchanged letters with her to reconnect and catch up. Even with the passing of time since we last were in touch, I was greatly, greatly saddened to read this beautifully written article about my former friend when it arrived in my inbox tonight. You see, Kathy Urschel was, simply put, one of the most amazing people I've ever known. I found the following video clip that sums up her story, in her own words, better than I ever could:
The last time I saw Kathy was the summer before my wedding. We had lunch together, picking up sandwiches from the place next door to my office and eating them on a bench on SU's main quad. We basked in the sunshine of that midsummer day. We talked about wedding plans and she asked me all about my newly chosen wedding dress. It was the week before I was leaving Syracuse, and we promised each other we'd keep in touch. Tonight, I'm left wishing I had taken the time to track her down and catch up again, now that it is too late. Just a few months ago, I was telling my daughter about her and the thought crossed my mind to Google her and try to track her down. I added it to my mental list of things to do and never got around to it. Please, if you have a few minutes, read about Kathy's life and accomplishments. She was such a remarkable human being, and I'm proud to say that she once was my friend.
Rest in peace, Kath.