Despite everything that has been thrown at me over the past six months, since the bicycle accident on 26 July, I have somehow remained positive. At the moment it seems that every week something new comes along, and I dare not think beyond this week. Maybe it's as well we don't know what lies ahead. But all that said, I continue to fight. I mean, what's the alternative.
A very dear friend of mine lost her fight and sadly passed at the very beginning of this year. She was only five years older than me. It does not seem strange to me to call her a dear friend, despite the fact that I have only been in her company once, for a couple of days.
On the 15 of August 2011, Pauline and I rode into the small Midwestern town of Havre to end our days cycling. Like most end of days we had no idea where we would lay our heads for the evening. Pauline had read on the back of ACA's Northern Tier map for this section, that during the summer holiday period you are able to stay in the halls of the University of Montana, here in Havre. She had been trying persistently for days before hand to make contact, but had never managed to speak to anyone. It was the holidays after all.
The rear tyre of my bike was needing to be replaced, and so we stopped at the local bike store just on the edge of town. The owner was very helpful, like most Americans we had encountered, and sold and fitted a new tyre for me (which I only just replaced last year!). We went for a wander to explore the town while he fixed it, returning just an hour later.
As we emerged from the store a small group of local cyclists were out front. We asked them if they knew anything about the halls of residence being available for through cyclists. One of the group was John Donaldson. He said he did. Then added, that it was himself you were to contact. So we thought that was a great bit of luck. Then another of the party interrupted and said, there was no way we were going to stay in the halls. We should stay with her and John at their house.
That person was Kathy Donaldson, wife of John.
And so we did, and enjoyed the company of their older son Luke and two young twin daughters. Kathy was of Indian descent and worked as a pharmacist on the local Indian reservation. Through her contacts, she arranged, and took us, to visit a traditional Indian Pow Wow.
At the beginning of this blog I called Kathy my dear friend. How can that be after only two days you might ask? Well, that was just the way Kathy was. Once she was in your heart, she was there forever, and we have stayed in touch ever since.
Sadly she lost her battle with cancer, and now she is gone forever. On one of her last few posts she wrote, "Thinking of my friends".
That was Kathy.