This date on the calendar since 2007 is always a struggle for me.
Let me explain the best I can. I don't talk about this ever so my thoughts will probably be jumbled at times. On October 25, 2007, I was finishing up my long stretch of work at both of my jobs. At the time I worked two jobs, one in clothing retail and one at a law office in downtown Minneapolis.
Once I finished working for the day, I was going to join some friends from seminary to hang out for a bit and then head back to my apartment to pack for my long weekend off of work for a friend from seminary's wedding that Saturday.
Unbeknownst to me, that same day, my new friend since the 4th of July, Katherine Olson had been lured to a crazy person's house under the pretense of a nanny job from Craigslist. She was found the next morning having been shot in the back, shoved in the trunk of her car, bled out in an empty parking lot.
I did not find out about any of this until a few days later.
I was getting ready to drive to a meeting for the trip to the Holy Land I was going on through Luther Seminary in January 2008. I was to pick up my friend Veronica on the way so I called her to figure out what time she wanted me to pick her up.
That is when I found out. I mostly remember thinking "this can't be happening". But it didn't take me long to understand what she was saying to me. I sat in my car numb for a while and once I could convince myself to move again, I went inside my parent's house and said in monotone what Veronica told me about what happened to our friend Katherine.
My dad showed me the paper and there she was. My friend smiling back at me. But she was gone. It took a while for it to compute. When it finally all hit me, I was at the Fireside Apple Orchard just outside of my hometown with my mom and I completely fell apart.
The next few days were a blur, completely numb. I know I cried a lot. I went to work at the law office but called in at the clothes store and got off until Thursday. But mostly it was like watching myself go through the motions but feeling nothing. I stared at nothing a lot and tried not to cry at work, especially the Monday after when it was the hot topic of the office.
I wanted to scream and cry, but I also needed to hold it together. It was for a long time one of the worst weeks of my life.
I spent a lot of time with people who were also grieving Katherine's loss because they were going through it with me and I with them.
How do you talk to someone about something so horrific, the murder of a friend, family member someone you know, who hasn't gone through it themselves? So for the most part, I don't talk about it.
I don't talk about the misery and pain of October 25th - October 31st. It doesn't help to talk about the horror of it, the evil way many of us lost our friend Katherine.
Instead, I think about the day I met Katherine, on the 4th of July a few months before her death. She was asking me if I was dating anyone and I answered that I wasn't. I said I had no interest in dating someone from seminary, especially someone who was going to be a pastor.
She laughed and said I bet you will end up marrying a pastor and having kids. I said back, yeah right, never going to happen.
It's funny to look back now at how prophetic this conversation was. I am married, to someone who is a pastor and we have two amazing boys. These are the things I like to remember about Katherine. Her little Facebook private and public messages of encouragement when I posted that I was having a rough day. Those things are what I choose to remember about my friend most of the year. Only during this week does the horror show it's ugly face and I am taken back to those dark days. When it gets really bad, I make myself remember our 4th of July conversation and give my husband and boys extra hugs.
One other thing I think about is how people can form strong bonds when faced with such tragedy. Not long after Katherine's death, I joined a small group of women to do a book study on the book Velvet Elvis. Most of the ladies participating were acquaintances or friends of Katherine. These women will forever be an important part of my life. I love them like family even though we don't see each other anymore either do to distance, schedules or other reasons. But the ladies in that group helped me heal and I will always be grateful for them.
And so today I quietly mourn the loss of my friend Katherine after 9 years of her being gone. I know we will meet again, but until then I will carry on and live life to the fullest as I know she would be doing if she were still with us.