Katie and me many years ago when I first joined the family and Katie with one of her neighbors and dance students

 

 

Christmas this year is like no other for so many reasons for many families.  For us, it was because we buried my husband John’s 45-year-old-sister, Katie Sanders.  It’s hard to describe the force of light that Katie brought to so many in her short time on earth.

Always try to be the source used to light others

 

 

Her funeral was more of a celebration of her life.  We rallied to celebrate an amazing woman who for twelve years held her cancer at bay, beating it more than once. Katie inspired her 16-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter, husband – Eric, all of her family and countless others to live every single moment to the fullest.  She was always the type of person who in spite of lying in a hospital bed facing the next round of chemotherapy, or proton therapy, still wanted to know how she could help you.  She was just an amazing person – the kind that we need more of in today’s world.  When this pandemic is over, there will be an incredible celebration with the hundreds of people that want to do tribute to her when it is safe to do so.

 

I wasn’t at the funeral.  I watched at it home with John’s father who had caught COVID and was in the hospital for ten days.  He found out about the death of his daughter in the hospital – alone and battling a horrible disease.  I was honored to be able to be there for him so we could grieve together.  And, I admired his strength having lost his wife just last year.  This family is strong.

 

We all are mourning someone or something that is meaningful to us this year.  The loss of a family member.  The loss of job.  The loss of income.  The loss of tradition.  The loss of small business and communities.  The loss of travel.  The loss of hugs.  Whatever it is, it is important and it matters.

 

 

The light at the end of the tunnel

 

 

I take inspiration and light from Katie as we look toward the turning of a new year.  I wish you a very happy New Year and I hope that you are lucky enough to have a Katie in your lifetime.