It wasn’t all mountain bike rides and finishing papers here the last week of BL. I’m going to keep this short because it’s not my story to tell and nothing I can say here will do the terrible experience justice.
Katelynn’s boyfriend Rich passed away unexpectedly last Friday night. Katelynn found out on Sunday after days of trying to reach him. I was there, with three other remarkable and caring women and Bryan when she got the call. We did our best to walk with Katelynn down the most difficult road she’s ever walked. I wish this hadn’t happened and they would have had years and years more together, but it was an honor to be there with her and I’m so glad she was at BL, where everyone in sight wrapped her in warm embraces, cried with her, and did everything in their power to help, despite nothing really helping at all.
Katelynn had written a beautiful piece about Rich and their remarkable, if odd love, for our nonfiction class and was planning to read it at the read-out last Tuesday. Since she couldn’t, Mary Clay introduced it and I read it for her. There wasn’t a dry eye in that joint and a testament to Katelynn’s inner strength: she sat in that audience and listened as I read their love story aloud in the midst of so much sorrow.
I had the privilege of meeting Rich last summer, but I feel like I got to know him more in the stories and emails Katelynn shared with me this summer, before and after his death, than I did hearing his stories and laughter and seeing his smile across a campfire. Here’s what I know: their love was deep, truly as she has said over and over again, “he’s the love of my life.” Unlike most of us who feel that way about someone, Katelynn and Rich shared literally THOUSANDS of emails that attest to it, and not the type of emails typically sent between partners, about who’s picking up beer and dinner or why they’re running late this afternoon, but about their undying love for one another, poetry and song lyrics mixed in.