I know there is eternal life just as certainly as I know there is death. That certainty gives me comfort and diminishes fear of my own death, but it does not prevent my broken heart at the loss of my friend, Katie Whitworth. Katie died peacefully on Sunday, sitting on her chaise lounge with her Bible in her lap. None of us can hope for more when our time comes, but for that to happen we have to spend a lot of time reading our Bible and living our faith. Katie did. She was the best: wife, mother, teacher, friend. I am so grateful to have been included in that last category.
I will be home for Katie’s memorial, gladly because I love the stories. Even though I have shared in many of Katie’s stories, I will hear new ones. The memory of some of them sustain me when I wake thinking of her. I knew of Katie from 1987, but we became friends after Maundy Thursday service in 1991. We had dinner together after every Maundy Thursday service for the next twenty plus years until she moved to Louisville, and even some then. We’ve taken a lot of trips together, some with Albin and some without. She was interested in this world cruise, and it is diminished in that I cannot share it with her.
One of my favorite photos was taken in Idaho years ago; Katie, Donita Lyon, Priscilla Lynd, and I are sitting side by side on snowmobiles. The tour guides called us “city slickers” and we had a fabulous trip. I have no photo on another fun trip that Katie and I shared. We were staying in London and decided that we wanted to go to Calais for dinner so we took a train to Dover, visited the museum inside the cliffs, and then hopped on a ferry for France. After dinner we took the last train back to London where we found Albin waiting in the train station. I remember shopping in Hong Kong with Katie while she searched for something to take her gifted students. She said she liked to share her world travels with them. What a gifted teacher those students had in her! Finally, I remember that Martha Lester, Katie, and I took an Avis rental car and drove home from Minneapolis on 9/11 after all flights were grounded, crossing paths with Airforce One. Martha and Katie are together now. I will continue to love you both until we meet again.