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When I was in third grade, a new girl moved to town. We became school friends, church friends, and just plain good friends. I made a photo album of my youth a while back. This is Kathy’s page.

Kathy KaCie Collier Shannon 001 edited

As little girls, we loved sitting beside one another at church, especially when we were having a singing. We enjoyed the acappella four-part harmony. Her alto was beautiful.

Sometimes we spent Sunday afternoons together. In my memory just now I am standing in the Collier kitchen on Fairview Circle. I was impressed by the table her mother set for Sunday lunch. Her Sunday silverware wasn’t silver; it was gold! After lunch, we went to the basketball goal in the backyard to play HORSE, a game Kathy taught me.

During our high school years, Kathy and I got nicknames. Kathy became KaCie because of her initials; I was called Charle (pronounced Charlie).

I gradually lost touch with most of my high school friends, including Kathy. I am thankful that in our fifties many of us reconnected. Some even call me Charle. Kathy and I became soul mates again, just as we had long ago.

We had a lot to catch up on. Kathy’s health was not good and so much of her story was tough, really tough, including losing a son in a car wreck when he was eighteen. He was on his way to play in the band at his first college football game.

Early in March four of us friends from high school, along with a sister of one girl and a friend of another, gathered at a state park in Kentucky for a girls’ weekend. Kathy and I rode up together and talked all the way. We and another good friend were roommates. The six of us talked and ate and talked and played games and ate and talked. We visited a farmers’ market, went antiquing, and had a do-it-yourself spa night.

That next week Kathy had a stroke. Over the next few weeks, she improved dramatically.

Last Monday we had a good chat on the phone. On Tuesday she was in the hospital again after another stroke.

Soon after we got to our homeschool convention booth on Friday morning, Kathy’s husband Bob called with the sad news that Kathy might never come home from the hospital. My heart broke and the tears flowed. Twice I almost prayed that God would keep her with us until I got home from North Carolina, but it just didn’t feel right to ask. In His mercy, He kept her here until I got to say goodbye Monday morning. Late that night Bob called to let me know that she had peacefully “breathed her last.”

Last night I talked to Kathy’s brother Keith. Keith said that she knew how to make lemonade with the lemons of her life. Kathy had so many lemons, but what I will remember is the lemonade.

I don’t know what I will miss the most. She had such a gift for listening to whatever I needed to talk about and for however long I needed to talk. She was wise. Her laugh and her smile brightened those around her. Her faith was solid and vibrant and constant.

I will not have to miss one important lesson she taught me. I will keep it close. Kathy, whose life had so many “no matter whats,” taught me to be joyful no matter what.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4-5, NASB

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  1. Dear Charlene ~ I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet friend! I rejoice with you in the memories of all the good times you shared and lessons you taught each other, as well as the fact that you will one day be reunited in heaven. My thoughts and prayers are with all of Kathy’s friends and family. I stopped by the Notgrass booth at the FPEA convention a couple of times hoping to see you, but unfortunately I didn’t ever catch you there. So here’s the big {{HUG}} I was saving just for you! I’m awfully sorry I haven’t commented on your blog posts in such a L-O-N-G time. It’s been a super crazy spring here! But know that I always enjoy reading your encouraging words and hearing your sweet stories, and I’ll try to be a more faithful reader and commenter now that school is over for the summer. God’s blessings be upon you and your family! <3

  2. ‘Charlie’ This is a beautiful remembrance of ‘Kacie’. She will always be remembered in my heart and in all, who experienced the laughter & joy she genuinely possessed. She was a such a good friend and I will miss her and the fun times we shared through our life together.

  3. Thank you Charlene for this sweet memory board. My best memory of Kathy is our years of her coming home with me and of us going swimming at many times at Collins Pool on River Road. Does anyone remember the song Wendy? Well Kathy had made up her mind that she wanted to be nicknamed Wendy. I think that fad left almost as soon as it appeared and she was off thinking and dreaming of something else. I want to believe she is now peaceful, happy, making lemonade, baking cakes and crocheting little hats. She is holding on tight to Jason’s hand…she will be waiting and ready to welcome us when it is our time. She will be showing us around at all the fun, wonderful things she has found to share with us.

  4. Charlene, I was fortunate enough to have a sister who’s friends didn’t mind that her little brother wanted to tag along. Of course, little brother got to be 16 but yet you still let me follow along. You were my big sister, too. This is such a wonderful read and tears streamed down when I saw Kathy’s page. Thank you so much for the remembrances and saying such nice thinigs but even more for being such a wonderful person to Kathy for so, so many years.