When I heard the news, it came as a shock. I had no idea my friend was seriously ill, and now I learn that she is dead.
The disbelief quickly yielded to concern for her family –then concern for the community who knew and loved her. My friend had a lot of friends.
The initial notice suggested lighting candles in memory. While finding a candle and matches, the tears came. The grief was real.
I don’t remember when I first met Kay Covert and her husband Walt. They had been real estate agents in our town for over 20 years, since before I arrived.
Kay was someone who cared a lot for her community. She did more than sell properties. She and Walt followed up with searchers and buyers, introducing them to the culture and activities of Manzanita and the surrounding areas.
When I helped start the local newspaper, Kay and Walt were prominent supporters and advertisers. When it came time for me to buy a house, she and Walt found the perfect one.
Before tax laws would allow me to move in, the Coverts rented the place from me while they built a new home of their own.
They were good, dear friends. We spent some wonderful evenings at the house snacking and drinking fine scotch.
My wife and I tended their 21-year-old cat Billy while Kay and Walt were away.
When the local merchants association began faltering, Kay led the charge to revitalize the organization and add members – working members. When we named her president, she took the reins and made things happen, always in a calm, thoughtful manner.
“Kay and the Boys” is what we called our board – she being the only female of the group.
There came a time when breast cancer threatened Kay. A brave woman, she opted for a double mastectomy to ensure that problem went away. Nothing was going to hold her back in life.
A few years later, Kay opted to let her hair return to its natural color. Rather than turn gray, it went right to white. I learned that white had become her natural color at an early age.
It was a startling transition, but I got used to it.
Kay and I shared a birthday, something we both enjoyed telling people. It was another special bond between us. She and I exchanged greetings each All Saints Day, to mark another joint passage around the Sun.
I only saw her sparingly in the past year. Often it was her walking hand-in-hand with Walt along Laneda Avenue, with Kay using a cane.
They sold their big house and moved into a smaller one. They were planning a full retirement in a methodical manner.
Now, it is not to be.
Her husband and son are left without Kay. All their friends and family – near and far – are left without Kay.
It’s a sad day in the neighborhood, and there are not enough candles or tears to make it better.
So I’ll just bid farewell in my private way to a good friend and important member of our community.
Thank you, Kay, for being who you were and for doing everything you did for others.
There could be no finer legacy.