There are some people in our lives who sit quietly, listening, paying close attention, and planning their next move. Katrina is one of them. Kat listens to the little things you say; she watches as you gently touch a scarf in the store that appeals to you, or if you say “yum” to a certain brand of coffee in your cup, and will remember the brand that made you say it. Then one day, on your door step, will arrive a package with that certain kind of coffee wrapped beautifully in a package with a note that says “Just thinking about you”. Or for your birthday, you will open up a box with the scarf you once tried on in the store (when you thought no one was looking) and a card that reads “I remember when you tried this one on. It looked great on you.” Katrina watches and remembers because she cares. Since we first became friends, she made the effort to mark special days with gifts, small or big, but always thoughtful. Sometimes it is just a plaque that reads “I would rather do nothing with you, than something with anyone else.”
While visiting Katrina’s beautiful home, there will be prepared food in the fridge, fresh flowers in the bathrooms, freshly washed blankets and pillows, a fresh coat of paint to brighten the walls for your visit, and always something warm and sweet waiting for dessert. Once while visiting, I remember drinking a wonderful coffee in the morning while Katrina took care of her four kids, her husband, and all of her guests, and I remember thinking the only thing that would make that wonderful moment better was her company at the table. The only words I got out of my mouth were “You know what would make this cup of coffee perfect?” She immediately stood in a pose similar to someone starting the race of their life, ready to run out the door to get whatever flavor of creamer, or other garnish she thought I may suggest.
A game of late night Scrabble or Yahtzee, always accompanied by M&Ms and a cold icy drink are trademarks of a visit with Katrina. She sends Sir Tom out for donuts early, or makes a scrambled egg breakfast, before we can even think about waking up, so it greets us at the table when we arise. She is always anticipating the next moment in someone else’s life so that she can do whatever it takes to make that moment special for another.
Recently, Katrina’s dad passed away. He was one of the beautiful sources from which Katrina got her special ways. He made his mark on her heart and the heart of those he knew. Katrina’s heart aches from missing him all the time, but she rarely complains. She just continues to take care of her sweet mom the best that she can (from a long distance, but always driving into town to help) and everyone else around her.
The greatest gift Katrina has ever given me is sharing our Catholic faith. Several years ago, we agreed to say a decade of the rosary each night for and with each other (spiritually), so we were united in faith over the miles that separate us. Katrina kept her end of the deal, and I eventually faded out on my end. So when another conversation about our faith lead to a new spiritual “goal”–which was of a very personal nature, and very difficult to complete–I knew I had no business asking or checking on Katrina’s progress. I needed to “remove the wood beam” from my own eye, before trying to pick the “splinter” out of Katrina’s. (Luke 6:41)
I remember my birthday that year. It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. There was a beautiful snow right before Christmas time, and the kids had a snow day. My busy schedule for the day had been wiped clean and I got to decorate the tree, make hot chocolate and watch my precious babies frolic in the snowflakes outside. I remember thinking how happy I was when the phone rang and it was Katrina. “I just wanted to call you and wish you a very happy birthday! I also wanted to tell you that I [completed the goal].” I burst into joyful tears. “This is the best birthday present you have ever given me!” Knowing how awesome Kat is a gift-giving, that was saying something.
Katrina makes everyone feel special. How does she know how to do that? God made her that way. She just knows.