Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I first met Kate when she was 32 years old and coming in for her yearly check up. I was new to practice and her previous gynecologist was retiring. Kate's real given name was Mary Katharyn. She could not give me any information about her medical history but I soon learned that she loved to go to the movies and that her favorite actor was Omar Sharif. She must have seen every movie that he made many times.

Kate was strikingly beautiful. Tall, slender, dark haired with a quick smile and dancing eyes. She had a dramatic way about her and she would even sing a few lines of a movie tune as she became caught up in telling me about a movie she had seen. Kate was on the dean's list her first semester of college. That was prior to the car accident which occurred just before her nineteenth birthday. Now she spent her days much as a four or five year old would under the almost constant supervision of one of her parents.

Kate's mother was a saint. The most patient person that I have ever met, she lovingly and tirelessly she cared for Kate year after year. She never complained even when I gave her permission to do so. Her constant concern was for Kate's well being.

I was thinking about Kate tonight when at dinner I used a trivet that she gave to me. A trivet is one of those little hot plate holders. This one is ceramic and covered with the image of a beautiful butterfly with multicolored wings. The day she brought it to me Kate went into great detail explaining how she choose the colors, painted the ceramic piece and then fired it in a kiln. Her eyes jumped as she described every detail of the creation.

I have not seen Kate or her mother in almost three years. When her father died, an older sister became the executor of his estate. Every thing changed. Their home was sold. I imagine that Kate is in some sort of care facility now. I do not even know if Mrs. E is still living.

Using the beautiful butterfly trivet is not the only time I am reminded of Kate. At the delivery of every healthy baby, when the parents breathe that sigh of relief that everything is alright, I think of Kate and her mother. I am reminded that there are no guarantees in life. As a parents most of us do the very best we know how hoping that the skills that we have will match the needs of our children.

*All names have been changed though those who worked with me may recognize the people as the stories are real.
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