She called me one night soon after we’d struck up our friendship. I lived in London, she in LA, and I wondered what was so important that she had to tell me on the phone. It was this: She had cancer, it was rather annoying and boring (two big sins in Cathy’s world), and it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Also, did I want her to bring me some Oreos when she visited?
Nearly four years after that call, I flew to LA from London to spend several days looking after Cathy. It was oddly pleasant at times – cooking for her, baking recipes she’d cut out of the New York Times in anticipation of my visit, trying to pack as many calories as possible into milkshakes so that she’d put on some weight (Medjool dates helped). She napped a lot, and she was so grateful for the smallest thing, like refilling her hot water bottle. We talked about the future – mine, her teenage daughter’s, and hers. “I think everyone is just bored with me still being alive at this point. Dying is annoying!”
Saying goodbye after that week was tough. I cried, asked a family friend to take care of her, and couldn’t have been more shocked when Cathy died a few weeks later. I knew it was coming, but how could that energy and life force just be gone? On some level, it never will compute.
Four years have passed, and I still miss Cathy Seipp.