Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kate O'Rourke Bryson

Family history is not just about my ancestors. It is also about me and my life experiences. Today, I learned that I have lost a good friend, a true light in a sometimes too dark world.

Kate O'Rourke passed away at about noon yesterday, May 23rd, surrounded by her children, her husband Michael, her family. Cancer ravaged Kate's body but never could it kill her spirit. She was one of the most effervescent personalities I have had the pleasure of knowing, let alone calling friend.

Kate's story touches home in so many ways especially as it seemed to mirror for me the loss of my first wife, Karen. Breast cancer that was diagnosed out of the blue that metastisized to bone and then the liver. There was surgery, and radiation, and chemotherapy, and various potions aimed at helping the onslaught of the cancer cells or at minimum dulling the associated pain.

Kate (pictured above in a photo borrowed from her blog) wrote about her journey through the ups and downs of her treatment and experience being ill in a world that continues through it's daily routines. I highly recommend you visit Kate's blog and read her posts to gain a small sense of the remarkable journey she took.

Some of you may remember Kate's assistance to me in my genealogy research when last summer (chronicled in "The Facebook Cemetery Hunt"), Kate organized a 'history' hunt for her children at the local, and very large, St. John's Norway Cemetery in Toronto.

This is the cemetery where my Hadden great grandparents were buried in 1945 and I had been unable to find their grave. Kate and her children hunted and eventually won the day finding the mostly submerged, half buried gravestone for Alexander Hadden and his wife Jessie Gaull. As only she could, Kate 'recruited' a cemetery worker and the gravestone dug up, cleaned and re-set at the proper height - all so she could take a photo and send it to me.

I first met Kate several years ago when we worked together in the Ontario government's public service. Kate impressed immediately as someone who was very intelligent, full of energy, and had a laugh that filled our library-like work surroundings. A light has now gone out and the world is a darker place today.

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1 comment:

  1. Prayers for her family and friends, she sounds like she was a jewel among us, may her light shine forever in your hearts.