Kathy Myers, 1954-2017

My younger sister Kathy would have turned 63 today, but she passed away last night. I believe she is the first person in Colorado to use the new Death with Dignity law and take “the pill.”

Kathy had been suffering with severe COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) for more than a year. On most days she was in constant pain and said she felt like she was slowly drowning. Hospice care was a big help, but she knew she would never get better and wanted to meet death on her own terms.

Me, Karen (sister), Herb (husband) and Kathy

Kathy talked everything over with her husband and children and doctors, as well as me and her other siblings. We had the opportunity to say our good byes and to prepare as best as we could for the inevitable. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was hers to make, and I support that.

As we talked for the final time last night, I asked what she felt looking over the ledge. Was she afraid? No. Was she curious? Yes. I told her I loved her; I asked her to save me a place and said I looked forward to seeing her again.

Me, Amanda (Kathy’s daughter), and Kathy

Her passing is another example of what’s ahead for all of us. I lost my brother-in-law to cancer a few months ago. I have several friends with stage 3 or 4 cancer. I’m writing this from the chemo infusion center where I’m getting my 50-something dose of poison in the last eight years.

Like Kathy, I’m not afraid of death; I’m curious. I’m also in no hurry and want to make the most of each day, which means putting the most into—and getting the most out of—my relationships. I believe relationships outlive the body. As near-death survivor Dr. Eben Alexander put it:

My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness, that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going.


13 thoughts on “Kathy Myers, 1954-2017

  1. It’s been a long time since last I have seen you or Karen or Kathy. Jeff McClung posted your sad news and I am sorry to have to make contact because of Kathys death. May you find comfort, peace and endurance. Debra

  2. Mike…my heart is bound to yours at a time like this….I cannot know the mixture of emotions that you and your family must feel…I am a loss for words, but I want to share this raw mystery of life together with you, even if it is in simply holding you up to Father’s loving embrace.

    “Somewhere the flower of farewell is blooming.
    Endlessly it yields its pollen, which we breathe.
    Even in the breeze of this beginning hour we breathe farewell.”
    ~Rainer Maria Rilke (Uncollected Poems)

  3. Thank you Mike for so lovingly sharing the loss of your sister to this world, wherever she is going will be blessed . My thoughts and prayers are with you and all of the family as you grieve her passing. Maggie

  4. Thank you for letting us in on your thoughts about such and intimate and profound family experience. But, as you mentioned, it is an experience that will be common to us all at some point (even if not as dramatic). I draw valuable perspective about this life from your life experiences, Mike.

    Your willingness and skill at articulating how one might view and respond to such complex (yet inevitable) circumstances has had a very practical impact on how I integrate my faith and deepest values into the every day stuff of life as it presents itself in its highs and lows.

    May only the best memories of your sister remain with you, your extended family, and her friends.

  5. Thank you for your courage and compassion, Mike. Kathy’s journey, and yours, are very current chapters in the story demonstrating the ravages of the Fall. I’m so sorry for the suffering you’re going through.

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