November 21st, 2008

Sad Gir

Kathye Joanne Blake - 18 Oct, 1949 - 20 Nov, 2008

I don't make mother-in-law jokes. Ever. The last time I did so was probably around the time that Kim and I started dating.

The reason is simple; I can't relate to them. After all, when I got married I didn't just get the Most Awesome Wife EVAR, I also got Kathye - the coolest mother-in-law on the planet. In all ways, Kathye is just nice. Before Kim and I even got married she welcomed me into the family without hesitation, trusting that her daughter was a good judge of character. She accepted my/our quirks and unusual interests with curiosity and amusement rather than disdain or mere tolerance.

When we came out to her as poly (and Kim simultaneously came out as bisexual) she was taken by surprise and was understandably caught off guard, but was never judgmental. We had just started dating Keirston at that time, and the first time that the two of them met, which could have so easily been an awkward or uncomfortable event, turned out to be casual, fun, and accepting. Even while they were still working to wrap their heads around the nature of our relationship Kathye and Jack immediately welcomed Keirston. There was no question of whether she was included in any invitation - the three of us were a unit and they recognized that, even when it came to sleeping arrangements during visits. Later, when we got involved with Mike and Janet and became "The Smoosh", M&J were likewise treated as part of the family.

Despite their surface differences, Kathye and Kim have a lot of underlying similarities. If I didn't know how Kathye would feel about a particular thing, I could usually fill in the gaps by thinking "what would a more girly version of Kim think?" More often than not that would turn out to be correct.

All of this makes her death yesterday, and the undeserved challenges from chemotherapy and deteriorating health that preceded it, all the more painful. She harmed no one, hurt no one, and hated no one. She fought cancer three times and beat it twice, showing once again that the tenacity of the women in Kim's family is not to be underestimated. And when the unhappy outcome was inevitable she accepted it on her terms, with humility and love, showing more concern for the people she knew she was going to be leaving behind than for herself.

I'll miss you, Kathye. Thank you for your love, your acceptance, your kindness, and for raising the daughter who is the center of my world.
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