Many years ago, I interviewed twenty-two women for a proposed book: Who Am I Now? Honest Conversations with Stay-at-Home Moms. Though agents loved the proposal and the sample chapters, the book was never published. The nonfiction industry prefers celebrities, people whose names alone sell books. I was not a celebrity and self-publishing was an expensive option at the time.
Still, I have no regrets.
The project gave me the unique opportunity to dive into the lives of some amazing, strong and insightful women, a privilege I will always cherish. Kitty, an anthropologist and teacher, who had put her career on hold to stay home with her then-toddler son, was among them.
I connected with Kitty immediately. We were both older moms who were well-established in our careers before we had children. We both had spouses who traveled often, though she usually had no idea where her husband was, when he might return or whether he would come back alive. She had a sense of humor I appreciated and a take on life I found refreshing.
After we spoke, we became friends on social media. Though I never met her in person, she has been a strong influence in my life, an ally in the struggle to redefine ourselves as our identities shifted from childless career women to stay-at-home moms to something else, something much more complicated, but all the more valuable because of those struggles and our experiences.
Sadly, Kitty died unexpectedly this week, a victim of a blood clot. Her son is still young, not even a teenager yet. My heart aches for her husband, her son and the rest of her family and friends. Her loss is a loss to all. In memory of Kitty, I would like to, once again, offer her story, which I posted on a blog four years ago.
Rest in peace, Kitty: