We lost one of our own on the 21st of December, 2014. A sister. One, gracious, warm, sweet woman. Someone who always had a kind word to say. Someone who showed us what strength looked like; what it felt like. That person is Kathryn Treat.
I first heard the term ‘MCS sister’ over at Sonda’sMCSChatter but it wasn’t until this year, when I tripped and fell, I felt the pull of sisterhood within the MCS community.
Of all the people I’ve ever reached out to, it’s the ones who have MCS (and other chronic illnesses) who reached back, checking in to see if I was okay. These are the people who know, who understand. Even though those people knew what I was going though, I ignored emails, tweets, contact form submissions. People asked if I was okay. What was I supposed to say? My life felt so off kilter, my mind so off path, my heart so off compass, that I really thought I was going to end it all. Surely, this was not the way out of the labyrinth?
A part of me knew that it wasn’t, and given time I could heal from the emotional loss, but I was also aware that I was stuck in moving forward. Hence, writing about rabbits instead of my usual obscure yet factual blogging on real events that effect us all. It felt as if my writing had died. Eventually, I reached out to those who reached out to me. And I told them the truth. I’m not okay. I was so tired, sick, exhausted from the fall, the only way I could even begin to climb back up was to be honest about what happened.
was is someone who reached their hand out to me many, many times. And even when I didn’t answer, she sent a simple message: I’m thinking of you. That’s what she’s like, kind. Compassionate. Caring. Strong. Courageous. Clever. Tenacious.
I had lost a family member to MCS; and I feel that if I didn’t have this illness, it wouldn’t have happened because I would’ve had the strength to make things right. But you know what they say about people who are bound by the necessities of avoiding chemical exposures? You soon find out who really loves you. And those people may not even be related to you. They could be across the ocean or across the state. They could be across the bay or down the street. Even on the internet… I felt loved by Kathryn Treat. And I think she loved all of us sisters (and brothers) within the MCS and blogging community.
My last conversation with her was via Skype, less than a month ago; I’ll never forget the kind words of encouragement she offered that day, She said, given time, the events that I was so distressed about would come full circle, and everything would be okay again. “We all grow up,” she said.
Later in the day, as promised, she emailed a list of mould and fermentation free foods. (I’ll try to remember to share this in another post, another time.)
I wish she wasn’t gone, and I dearly wish that her family, along with us, could venture into 2015 with her by our sides. I’m so grateful for knowing Kathryn, the friend, the author, the blogger, the poet, the mentor, the mother, the grandmother, the sister. Our sister.
May her star shine bright
as she looks down upon us
and may the mark she made
indelibly, never, ever fade
as she walks in the light
bathed in grace, in love
We’ll miss you, sister
More Tributes for Kathryn Treat
Laura Treat: From Kathryn Treat’s Family
“As I’m sure you all know, my mom was a generous, kind, sweet, intelligent, and all-around amazing person and she will be greatly missed by anyone who knew her. I want you all to know that being a member of this community and acting as an advocate for people was so very important to her. She cherished all of the relationships and friendships she developed within this community and she was always talking with me about people she had met through her blog. I know that it is difficult to celebrate and mourn people that you may have never met in the physical world, but please take comfort in the fact that my mom gained much strength and joy from her interactions with all of you.”
“Nothing prepares you for sudden loss. Not training, not faith, not personal fortitude. When loss occurs suddenly, the first reaction is disbelief, followed by a nearly all-encompassing paralysis of thought. At least, that’s how it was for me when Kathy Treat’s daughter Laura told me of her mother’s sudden death this weekend due to a cerebral hemorrhage. How could it be otherwise? A person I had known as a vibrant fully engaged human being, someone who had been a dear friend to me for over twelve years, was suddenly gone. And the only thing I could think of in that moment, the thought that was repeating in my mind, was that I had to write about her.”
“AND KATHRYN—- I WAS NOT READY TO SAY GOOD BYE TO YOU HERE ON EARTH——– TO SAY YOU HAVE BEEN A LIFE LINE & SUPPORT UNIT FOR ME– SINCE YOU CAME INTO MY LIFE WOULD BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT!! YOU HAVE ALWAYS SHOWN ME LOVE & CARING & COMPASSION & ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR ME— I ALWAYS KNEW YOU WERE AN E-MAIL OR PHONE CALL AWAY!!!
WELL– MY DEAR SISTER—- NO MORE HAZMAT SUITS–NO MORE MASKS– NO MORE MCS SAFE HOMES– NO MORE STINKING PERFUME– OR TOXIC CHEMICALS & NO MORE MOLD— AND THE LIST COULD GOES ON FOREVER—
I IN MY TOTAL BELIEF— YOU ARE IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS– & YOUR DAD WAS THERE TO MEET YOU WITH HIS ARMS OUT STRETCHED TO MEET YOU!!!
KATHRYN YOU– KNOW MY DAD– FROM THE PICTURES ON MY BLOG– YOU KNOW THE COWBOY– GIVE DAD A HUG FOR ME ALSO– PLEASE!!!”
“I was sad to learn that Kathryn Treat passed away. But to be honest, I can’t be sad when I think of Kathryn. She is free. She is no longer limited by her MCS. She can mingle freely with all her family and friends who have previously passed away. She no longer needs a mask. She no longer needs to worry about her environment. She doesn’t have to wonder if someone really understands and is willing to accommodate. I think she is probably following the advice of her good friend Sonda and dancing.
I am sad when I think of her husband, children, and grandchildren who miss her. But, one day they will be with her again.
Kathryn accomplished a lot. She wrote and published her book. She educated a lot of people about MCS. Because of her efforts, life is easier for others who suffer from MCS.
Kathryn lives on”
More kind words from Rave Reviews
“Let us remember Kathryn and honor her memory by always being kind to one another and by always offering your support to another. It’s what she did. It’s how she lived. It’s who she was. In honor, on the day of Kathryn’s funeral, I would like to ask each of you to please post a page for Kathryn, her bio and book on your site. If you’re interested in participating in this grand show of honor, please email RaveReviewsSecretary@gmail.com, and her photos and bio will be sent to you in advance. (You do not have to be a member of the club to participate). If Kathryn touched your life in anyway, please share your memories and comments below.”
Lindsay: Musings of a Dysautonomiac
And so many more. Expect not only the heavens but also the internet to light up for Kathryn Treat! If you have a link or anything to share, please drop it in the comments below.