Thank You, Kathey
This is a eulogy for Kathey Horn. Kathey disappeared in September of 1994. Her remains were found in May of 1996. She was sixteen years old. The identity of her murderer has not been determined. She was my friend, and I miss her.
This is about Kathey, but it is dedicated to those who loved her and to those whose lives she might have touched were she still with us.
I remember how I felt when a friend told me that Kathey was missing. I remember feeling sick. I was certain that she was dead. Friends tried to assure me that she might have just taken off for somewhere else, but that didn't make sense. I came to know her pretty well in the few short months between our first meeting and her disappearance. I knew that she would feel no reason to run away from a close circle of friends who loved her for who she was. I cried myself to sleep for many nights afterward. Not a week has passed in the last six years that I have not missed her and mourned the passing of her honesty and compassion.
Over the years, I have discovered that my life intersects with very few ordinary people. Most of my friends are extraordinary, like Kathey.
She was not a perfect person, but she was special in ways that I have never found in anyone else. I frequently feel that her untimely death was a tremendous loss to the human race. I am not saying that I believed that she would have become some kind of great historical figure. She had different and equally important gifts that enabled her to touch my life in deep and meaningful ways. During this great chain of being called life, we encounter and influence thousands of other unique and wonderful people. I am saddened not only for myself but for those who could have benefited from knowing her as the beautiful person she was. I wish that I could share with everyone what I found to be so intoxicating and wonderful about her. My words shall have to suffice. The rest may come with time and personal growth.
In 1994, I was an intimidating person, emotionally armored by intellectuality and armed with the hubris of an overeducated young man who had learned little about compassion and nothing about humility. Very few people felt comfortable when their eyes met mine. Kathey lived her life in an honest and open manner. When she met my gaze, I understood that she expected the same honesty from everyone she encountered. I felt naked and defenseless in her sight. She saw right though my disguises and barriers. I didn't need them when we associated. They were useless anyway.
Kathey was introduced to me sometime in the spring of 1994. She slid effortlessly into my life. I didn't recognize the significance of that until recently. She was herself, always and in all ways. Her friendship was offered freely, and I could do nothing but offer mine in return. After I had met her a few times, I began to understand the joy that could be experienced by that kind of self-liberation. Through the last six years, I have been inspired by her example and have changed my own life in deep and meaningful ways.
I never knew Kathey to be unkind in word or deed to anyone or anything. Ever. She pulsed with empathy and compassion. Some might claim that it was these characteristics combined with the naivete of her youth that got her killed. It is my firm belief that if there were more people like her, there would be fewer killers. She can no longer share her gifts with the rest of us, but through the light she shed on my soul, I can incorporate into myself that which I found most special about her and share that light with others. I would tell you that I am looking forward to getting started, but I started long ago. It feels good. It feels better every day.
Twenty months passed between Kathey's disappearance and the discovery of her remains. Her funeral was held on May 24th, 1996. I wish I could feel the closure that a funeral is supposed to provide. How does one close an unfinished life? Kathey's death was not an accident. She was murdered. Unsolved. Unclosed. Possibly never solved. It is my hope that Kathey's killer will one day read this and be moved by the same spirit that moved me. It is my hope that she will be remembered and that through her own light, a murderer shall be reformed. I can't find it in my heart to hate the person who did this. She left me that much.
Thank you, Kathey.