Saturday, October 29, 2016

Celebrating Kathryn

Kathryn's smile was contagious
Kathryn Ferrell Hobbs, M.D.
September 19, 1960-October 25, 2016

Kathryn and I met in the fall of 2003.  She wanted to take voice lessons and one of my friends singing with me in a production with Opera Colorado gave her my card.  She and I clicked from the first moment.  It was like we were already great friends.  Our friendship only grew from there.  We saw each other almost every week to sing and catch up until June of 2013, when I quit my job at the University of Denver to begin our sailing adventure.  We went to Spain together for my 40th as she had a Rheumatology meeting in Barcelona. Marc, her then fiancée, joined us after a few days.  We had to go to Sitges (a gay beach) because of all of the male attention she was getting. We sang opera in the subway (after a couple of pitchers of sangria) and a little gypsy girl sang us one of her songs.  

Our relationship was very music-centric.  We sang together, we attended concerts, she supported my performances, and every year we went to the Santa Fe Opera together from 2007-2016.  She was always happy, full of laughter and we would enjoy sharing our thoughts on the performances and singers.  We went big when it came to accommodations, food and wine, and we always dressed to the nines.  We celebrated each others inner divas.  

Kathryn's other main passion was horses.  She grew up around horses and was a very talented dressage rider.  She used to jump but a cervical injury curtailed her jumping.  She focused on eventing after that.  She even got me to take some lessons on her daughter Jo's horse, Cushy.  Cushy was an older, lazy horse and he would only do something if I asked him perfectly.  Ha!  He was perfect for me.  Although one time I asked him to cantor and I didn't mean to.  That was wild.  

The gastronomic experiences we shared were also quite something.  Both she and Marc are amazing cooks and Mike and I were both inspired by them to be better cooks ourselves. Whenever we went out to dinner together it was somewhere fabulous.

Kathryn spent her life taking care of really sick people....people with compromised immune systems, those fighting arthritis, lupus, and other forms of inflammatory disease.  She was triple board certified in Allery, Immunology and Rheumatology. She was one the prominent medical minds in Rheumatology, active in clinical research.  She was sought out to speak at international conferences and she thrived as a teacher.

Kathryn got really sick about a year ago. Her immune system took a hit when she was exposed to histoplasmosis two years prior right after receiving an immuno suppressant.  Because of the timing of the infusion, her body didn't wall off the fungus. She began to go into organ failure but miraculously the director of the lab at the hospital recognized on the slide that it was a fungus and immediately treated her for it.  She rebounded, and after treating both MRSA and sepsis, she was released but on a high dose of steroids and an anti fungal.  

The steroids and other medications really took their toll on Kathryn's body.  About a year ago a skin disease that she had got a lot worse; she had pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) which formed serious ulcers over her body.  By spring she had ulcers up and down both legs, and she just couldn't keep them from being chronically infected with sepsis. She fought the fight like no one I have ever seen and with sweetness and grace.  She is my hero.

When she knew that she could die from this, the two of us had some pretty profound conversations. I got to tell her that she is a part of me, in my heart and in my soul.  I told her that she will always be with me, seeing the world, singing and making beautiful music together and being a part of everything I do.  She told me she would keep me safe.  I am counting on it! It was a gift to be able to tell each other how much we love each other and leave nothing left unsaid. 

She asked me if I wanted to sing at her memorial service.  I told her there was no way I could get through speaking let alone singing.  Instead, I got to sing "At Last" and "Fly me to the Moon" to her and Marc during their renewal of vows ceremony they had on October 7th. Mike and I went to brunch with Kathryn and Marc before we drove down to Mexico.  That was October 20th.  My last text from her was on October 21st, telling me about a plan for a cruise to the Mediterranean down to Venice in June. She died October 25th.  I miss her so much!

With Kathryn at the Santa Fe Opera

Courtney, Kathryn and Marc with me at Lamont School of Music after my faculty recital

Kathryn and Marc at a colleague's party

We signed our marriage certificate and toasted with Dom Pérignon in the Santa Fe Opera Parking Lot
At our wedding party...she cooked a whole turkey and helped me so much!

Kathryn and Marc at the Metropolitan Opera

Here we are at a Red Rocks Concert

Drinking Martinis at the Denver Botanic Gardens Concert

At a Devotchka concert together

Whimsical, silly us
Kathryn kissing Marc on his way into his heart transplant surgery

Kathryn and Marc at her 50th birthday party

Out for Mexican food!
Kathryn with her horse Sally

Kathryn and Marc on a riding trip in Uruguay 
Kathryn at a lesson with Sally

Kathryn wearing her new necklace and shawl for her birthday

Together at the Renewal of Vows Ceremony she and Marc had on 10-7-16

"I Miss You" by Kate Emerich Gordon, composed 10-29-16

Vs. 1

When I think of you, I think of laughter and your smile.
When I think of you, I want to cry
Wonderin' how I do I get along
You have been my person for so long.


I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I really, really miss you

Vs. 2

When I think of you, I see your happy face
When I think of you, I feel your grace
Thankful that I loved you, grateful for all we shared
I know your love will help me to be strong


I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I really, really miss you

Vs. 3

When I think of you, I'm happy your in peace
When I think of you, I feel you there
I know that you will guide me, I know you'll keep me safe
You will share the journey that I take


I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I really fucking miss you

No comments:

Post a Comment