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Friday, September 08, 2006

Life isn't Fair

I helped bury one of my best friends yesterday.

I know that's a shocking statement, but that's exactly the way I feel -- shocked. Katie was and will always be one of my favorite people on this earth. She had a smile that would light up a whole room, that cheerleader perkiness that you couldn't help but laugh at, and an amazingly bright and open mind.

I was honored to be one of her pallbearers. Emotionally, it was the most difficult thing I've ever done. I couldn't contain myself walking out of the church, hand on her casket. I simply broke down. Afterwards, I kept asking myself "Why?", and thought to myself that I didn't want to go through that again for a very, very long time.

I hope Katie was watching us gather in her honor. I think she would have been so happy seeing the turnout. I just wish I could have told her one more time how much respect I had for her, and how much I appreciated her and her friendship. I can't stress enough how great she was.

Katie and her husband, John Milleman, were on their way to Iowa to join their families in celebrating their 1-year anniversary. The car accident happened on September 2nd -- one day shy of their wedding date.

We all love you Katie.


Anonymous said...

Dear Matt,

I just came aross your blog online. I wanted to write and say hello to you and tell you that I too was a friend of Katie and John's. I also and was at their funeral on Wednesday and Thursday. I wish I would have met you so I could have given you a big hug. Katie and John lived one block from me in Temple and John was in the same residency program as my husband (he was an honorary ballbearer). Katie too, was MY FAVORITE person in Temple and we were married only months apart, and both new to the area. I gave her a wedding shower in Temple as I could not make the wedding. I was so excited she was moving back to Temple (from Houston)so we could hang out more. My husband saw them Friday night of the accident as they stopped by our house, on the way out of town, to leave us their garage door opener. We were to take care of katie's cats during their week long vacation in Iowa. Bobby had told me that Katie was "all smiles" when he saw her. We were in denial for most of the weekend when we heard what had happened. I am sorry for both you and me as we are left here on Earth without our good friends Katie and John.

Nicole Ritter

Matt O said...

Thanks for sharing Nicole.

It sounds just like Katie to be all smiles. Whenever I picture her in my head that's the way she is -- smiling and picking fun at me about some random thing.

If nothing else, it has made me look at things differently now. I'm trying not to take for granted all of the little things I enjoy so much in life.

And I feel sorry for you too -- for everybody -- Katie and John were the nicest people. I hope you and your husband are doing ok.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

I just came across this while doing everything but work. I hope you are doing ok. I'm not sure I am yet, but I know I will get there. I just keep reminding myself of what a positive person Katie was and am trying to follow her example.

I can remember her singing your praises practically since the day we met at our freshman dorm. She would be so honored to see the touching message you wrote about her.

I just sent a note to Tim and Marilyn. I'm hoping it will arrive on her birthday tomorrow, as I know it's going to be a hard day for everyone.

Thank you for posting this. I love that picture. :)

Take Care,

Whitney Calkins

Matt O said...

Great to hear from you Whitney -- good sleuthing on finding the blog. And it was nice seeing you in Ames, even though the circumstances were less than ideal to say the least.

Best of luck going forward. Please keep in touch.

lauren's little sister, didee said...

Once I heard about what happend to your friend Katie and John it took me back to several experiences of my own. Not only is it a shock.. but it also gets you thinking about life in general. I remembered asking myself why. The answer is... there is no answer. We can never know or understand what higher purpose there is for such an aweful tragedy, but what we do know is we will be changed forever. This seems depressing but there is a rainbow at the end of every road. Your memory of her will never leave you ,but with time will come the healing. You can still talk to her. Whatever inside joke you had or phrases you shared will pop back into your life when you least expect it. This is her way of talking back because no matter what, she can still hear you and be apart of your life. She is looking down at you thinking how lucky she was to be your freind.I think back about the friends I have lost and just smile at the thought of their memory and I move on knowing they are in a far better place. Now that life has introduced me to lose I try my hardest to not take things for granted. We are only human and it is in our nature to ask why and be angry at the things we don't understand, but the important thing is that we never loose faith. I know life isn't fair.. it dosn't come with any guarentees. The special thing about life is you can take what you have learned from loved ones and always have it with you. Imagine if you didn't know her I look at her picture and wish I had.
I am sorry for your lose.

Matt O said...

Great to hear from you, and thanks for your insights Didee. You have a great outlook on life.

Today is Katie's birthday. She would have been 27. I'm right there with you believing that she's looking down, happy to see people are still celebrating her birthday in her absence.

Anonymous said...

Hey honey, it's me, Hillary. Loved your blog. It's been a rough few weeks, and it doesn't seem to be getting better. Life without them doesn't seem complete. Thank you, Nicole, for taking care of Scout and Atticus. I will be inheriting them soon. Let's keep in touch, I know it's been awhile.

Matt O said...

Hey Hillary,

Good to hear from you too. I totally agree with you that life doesn't seem complete without them.

It's not like I spoke with Katie every day or anything, but she was just one of those people that I knew would always be there for me. I could have totally seen us still being friends in our 70s, giving each other a hard time and reminiscing about the good old days.

I hope it gets easier for you and for everybody. I'm so thankful we have such an amazing collection of friends.

If you didn't get a chance to read any other parts of the blog, here's another post about Katie.

It was a very sad, happy, and funny moment all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I did get a chance to read that. How funny! I have many a funny story about Katie. I would love to get together and reminisce sometime. By the way, I have some ideas in mind of commemorating Katie. I will let you know what they are once the plans get rolling. Give me an email sometime. Katie loves you and so do I!

Anonymous said...

Hello Matt, Hillary, Nicole, Whitney,
It's Katie's mom, Marilyn. I too am a good sleuther. I found your blog, Matt. You can see I sometimes spend time maybe just looking for answers or new information. Tim and I just returned from the cemetery having placed flowers there for Memorial weekend. When we visit the kids we always think of all their friends and the love they had for each of you. We love hearing news of you all. Hugs, Marilyn

gomattolson said...

Oh Marilyn, I'm so glad you found my posting. My heart goes out to you and the rest of the Finns.
I understand your search for more answers.

I think about Katie a lot. I always end up simply shaking my head and muttering to myself, "it just doesn't make any sense". It's the only thing I think of, because to me, it simply doesn't make sense -- I believe in God, and that he plays a role in our destiny. So why in the world would he remove two wonderful people from this earth when they had so much to offer?

I just recently met a girl that went to Miami of Ohio. I asked her if she knew Katie, and she said she didn't, but the name sounded familiar. I smiled and kind of chuckled to myself, because that's definitely Katie. Even if you haven't met her, you've heard of her.

Hope to catch up next time I'm back in Ames. Take care.

Manisha said...

Matt, thanks for finding my blog and commenting on it. Someone mentioned to me they did a google search a while ago and mentioned they'd found your blog, and I think I tried looking it up but apparently my googling skills failed me that day :).

It's always nice to hear from anyone from Ames, even if we didn't know each other that well in high school.

Take care, and keep in touch.

- Manisha

Colleen said...

Hi Matt,

I've been thinking about Katie a lot lately, so I'm happy I came across your blog. Not sure why I never saw this before, but I think it was too hard to make it very far down the Google listings in the weeks after her death.

Katie and I went to Miami together, and I was always amazed at her rare blend of intellect and fun. You could discuss contemporary lit with her and then do a shot together. I loved that about her.

I have so many great memories of Katie (among them choreographing a kickboxing routine with her and Kim for our aerobic dance class senior year in college), and I still can't believe that we won't have any more together. Katie and I had not talked for a while, but she was one of those people I always could pick up with again. In our last email, she was talking about how excited she was to marry John.

I don't think I'll ever understand why this happened, but I take some small comfort in the fact that she lived her life so fully and loved and was loved by so many. It's an example I'm trying to follow.

Colleen Egan