An Unexpected Good-bye

Yesterday I got the call that my dearest friend, the infamous Kaply, had passed away. I still can’t believe it. I don’t want it to be true. We always knew that given all her health problems she would not live forever but she always struck me as immortal. That the fragile body she lived in was no match for her invincible spirit.

As I’ve cried, I can hear Kaply, somewhat exasperated, telling me to knock it off. I think in all our years of friendship I maybe saw her cry once. Yet she was always seeing me cry and as much as it was not her style, she knew it was mine, and let me be me with maybe an eye roll here or a comical jab there. There are so many things I love about Kaply. She accepted me for who I am and always encouraged me to be nicer to myself. But don’t call her nice. She had a reputation to protect.

2009 me and kap

This is from 2009. We were happy.

I met Tracy Kaply October of 2007 which feels like a lifetime ago. We had many adventures. Being with Kaply was in and of itself an adventure. She could make going to the grocery store a memorable outing. She was hilarious with a biting, acerbic wit and very wise in a matter of fact way. She thought she was always right and most of the time she was but her belief that she was right was the impressive part. She liked to tell people how to do things and had very little patience for idiocy and, in her terms, cuntiness. My sense of responsibility made her tired but she appreciated my ability to plan her birthday parties and bake her whatever her heart desired. She was the kind of friend who would help you bury the body and taught me how to stand up for myself. She was secretly sentimental and for all her gruffness, was one of the most big-hearted people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

kap at ikea

We goofed around a lot. This is from one of our first adventures together at IKEA.

My friendship with Kaply was life-altering. She taught me so many things- about letting my anger out, about accepting love and deserving happiness, and about not taking myself so seriously. In her unique way she encouraged me to let go of a lot of my bullshit hang ups. She would call me on my shit and hold the mirror up but I always knew she loved me. She had been through enough in this life that she didn’t mince words. You always knew where you stood with her, like it or not. She found humor in almost everything and thought I was amusing which is high praise coming from her. Granted, she was often laughing at me because I took things way too seriously but over time she admitted that she was proud of me for having changed.

kap at portage

Kap was there to celebrate birthdays and holidays. She was family.

She is responsible for the creation of the Boyfriend Review Board which played a hand in Mr. Darcy and I. After hearing so many stories of my past boyfriends and experiencing a few of them first-hand, she was like WE NEED AN INTERVENTION! YOU CANNOT BE TRUSTED! She joked about it in a toast she gave at our wedding- an event she was so happy to attend she even put on a skirt and some make up and danced to Madonna. She heartily approved of Mr. Darcy and they shared a special connection.

kap at wedding

Kap at our wedding with her brother whom she called Fathead on her blog, and our dear friends Long Story Longer and Jeni Angel.

I have a series of phrases that I lovingly refer to as “Kaplyisms”. Terms like stabby, cunty, tit punch, and liarhead were common when talking to her. She also said some pretty poignant things to me over the years, many of which I’ve long forgotten but a few of my favorite things she said include:

“A character defect is just a survival skill that is no longer working.”

“Feelings aren’t facts.”

“You can’t think your way into right action, you have to act your way into right thinking.”

“You cannot reason with crazy.”

“Call in sick of it.”

“You can only take care of your side of the street.”

“I’ve always believed that if you don’t know what to do, you shouldn’t do anything. The universe will eventually make the way clear. Of course, the universe usually does THAT by stripping you of all options but the one it wants you to take. But we can’t have everything, can we?”

“That’s what makes a dick a dick. You can’t expect good manners from a dick. That’s like expecting empathy from a cat.”

“I, personally, hate housework. The never ending aspect of it gets to me… the fact that, even as I do laundry, I am creating MORE LAUNDRY TO BE DONE. No wonder so many housewives default to drugs.”

“It is always best to be yourself & remember that if it’s meant to be it will. Even the most difficult situations will always turn out to your net benefit.”

For a person who told me “Annoyance is pretty much my baseline” she sure knew how to make the best of bad situations. Sometimes in a spastic or roundabout way but still, she persevered. Kaply was not a quitter.

kap with makeup

Kap put on make up to attend my Nintendo party. She was the least fussy girl I knew.

I know that she loved me and I know that she knew I loved her. We told each other each time we spoke for which I am grateful. Looking back on the texts and emails we’ve exchanged since she moved to California reminded me of that. And how she could turn a phrase and make me laugh. One of her texts is “I love you like a hipster loves that band you’ve never heard of.” For as much as she could make you laugh, she could show up in ways few people are able to. She was not afraid to see your pain. When I called her to tell her I had cancer, her reaction was very practical and matter of fact. Something to the effect of, “DUDE, that sucks. You will be okay.” She had been through enough with her own health troubles that she could face the scary stuff in a way many people can’t fathom.

We always knew thanks to her crappy kidneys and compromised immune system, she wouldn’t have as long as most but this still feels too soon. She was only 46. There is never enough time to be with the ones you love. Kaply knew that and lived her life with that knowledge. She rarely indulged in pity parties even though she had ample reason to throw them. She lived on government assistance and yet would be the first to concoct a plan to help a friend out. She really didn’t care what people thought of her which is a liberating way to live.

We were unlikely friends who ended up sisters. She was my champion, my guru, and a sister of my heart- one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I cannot imagine life without her snark and wisdom but I am so eternally grateful that I got to know her and love her.

Hope you’re raising hell wherever you are now, Kap, pants-free and with plenty of Coke Zero.

A younger, healthier Kaply.

A younger, healthier Kaply.

30 thoughts on “An Unexpected Good-bye

  1. I just cannot imagine losing a good friend so young. Man, you’ve had your share of shit Sizzle. It’s so unfair. But what a blessing that you had her in your life for the time you did. It is hard not to sound so damn cheesy, but I know her spirit will remain within you and guide you for years to come.

  2. This post is beautiful, and I can tell what an amazing person and friend Kaply has been in your life because of how well-written it is. I’m so sorry for your loss, Sizz. Losing such important, vibrant forces in our life unexpectedly is rattling in a way I just don’t even know how to express. Life, man. It’s unfair & totally blows sometimes. I wish there were something I could say to make it at all better. I’m so, so sorry.

  3. oh, Kaply…. I wish you peace.

    My friend, Sizz. I wish you peace as well.

    We aren’t supposed to be in this age group just yet where people start to die and leave us. I’m not ready for this yet.


  4. I’ve been thinking about Kaply since I read your post about her death yesterday. I didn’t know her but we followed each other on Twitter. I always got a laugh out of her tweets. I’m sorry you lost a friend too soon. I’m thoughts and prayers are with you and her family.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to Kaply. I’m sure she got as much joy and love from you through the years as you received from her. Knowing you, you’ll honor her by keeping those “Kaplyisms” circulating, and spreading her love to others through laughter and zaniness. Grief will grip you for some time, but then her spirit will grow bolder within your being, and one day when you do or say something a la Kaply, you’ll laugh out loud instead of cry. Love to you.

  6. Sizz, I’m so incredibly sorry. There’s something wrong in the Universe when people die this young. I’m glad you got the few short years with her that you did, and came away with so many Kaply-isms (just from this post I can tell she was super wise). Hang in there. You wrote a really wonderful post to honor her. ❤

  7. I am so sad to hear about Kaply. The only encounter I had with her was that one time I came to Seattle to see you, Mr. Darcy and Dave II. Til this day I still remember how straight forward she was, exactly how you described her here. With tears in my eyes, I’m typing this knowing that will be the only time I get to meet this wonderful woman but I’m grateful of knowing her.

    What a wonderful tribute you wrote here today, S. Please take care. You know what Tracy will tell you do in a situation like this. Be strong. We love you.

  8. I thought I was done crying. I realize now that I’ve got a long way to go. What a beautiful friendship you two had. And what a beautiful tribute to one of the most amazing people I’ll ever have had the privilege to know. Hugs to you, Mr. Darcy, and the rest of her “family.”

  9. Thank you so much for writing something that so captured Tracy. I am not good with words so was grateful someone could speak to the amazingness that is Tracy. I regret with all my heart that I did not visit her as her hugs, love and honesty helped me much when I was struggling, plus her posts always made me laugh. I would read them to people:) She really was my second big sister. I am also so grateful for all the love and happiness she had in Seattle. Can’t quite get a handle on her being gone, I don’t really know what happens when we leave this world, I just know it feels like she is somehow near. I am so grateful she was in this world and so sad that she has left. I don’t think I will ever not miss knowing she was out there making the world a funnier, kinder and braver place. Wish with all my heart I could still hug her.

  10. This post and Dave’s yesterday about her make me sad I did not know Tracy. Sounds like I really missed out.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  11. Yep. There’s Kaply. I refused to believe it was true for hours after I found out. It had to be some kind of crazy prank, right? It’s Kaply! But then I started looking through pictures of our blog meet-ups… seeing her smiling (or more likely non-plussed) face… and suddenly realized that she was human after all. This was even harder to accept than her passing, because she will always… always… be an unstoppable force of delicious chaos in my head. The one who dropped a blog comment or sent an email when I needed it most. The one who never failed to make me laugh. The one whose generous heart made her one of the wealthiest people I know. The one who will never truly be gone if she was even half a friend to others as she was to a random blogger she met like me.

    I wrote about Kap right after I heard the news so it would somehow become real to me. But then I come here and I read your wonderful words and realize I still have a ways to go. I don’t want it to be real at all. That’s not going to change, is it?

  12. I’m so sad for you. And wish I could have known Kaply. What a great foil she must have been for you. I have a dear friend who is my opposite — who’s been so good for me in ways I imagine you and Kap were good for each other — and I can’t imagine losing her.

    And damn is Kaply smart. “A character flaw is just a coping strategy that’s no longer working?” Brilliant!

    I’m keep you and your circle of Kaply friends in my thoughts.

  13. I am sorry you ever had to write a post like this, but so happy for you that you have this kind of amazing friend to write about. Most people never have or let that person in their life.

  14. Beautiful post. I’m, again, so very sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine. From what you always wrote about her, she sounds like one fantastic and awesome person. Lots of hugs friend. xoxo

  15. Kaply was obviously an amazing soul. It is sad she has died so young, though I am here to tell you, death is by no means the end of an incredible relationship between two hearts such as yours and Kaply’s is. IS. Things will change in some sorrowful and obvious ways, but a friend like Kaply is yours for a lifetime. She will always, always be right there with you. Weep, wail, laugh, whatever it takes, but carry on. For Kaply.

  16. I miss her so much already. I may have to start following you guys, her fellow bloggers, just by association. 🙂

  17. What a beautiful testament to an amazing friend! Kaply sounds like a phenomenal person–her Kaplyisms alone make that clear. I’m so sorry for your loss!

  18. Well said, and I’m glad you shared this glimpse of her – which is entirely consistent with my experience. Except you were her favorite.

  19. I wish everyone could have a Kaply in her life. What a wonderful tribute to her. I love the Kaplyisms — I’m definitely going to remember: “You can only take care of your side of the street.”

    You and the rest of her loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers.

  20. well fuck. i didn’t know her but through you and here…. and, well, i’m choked up. i’m so sorry for you, her, her family, friends…… man. thanks for sharing. it’s good to hear from you. i keep thinking every time you post, oh, here’s “the last” sizzle post…. i found you at a time in my life when i made a few other “blog” friends – not that you know me really – but i just think of you as one of the places “out there” that signify in a way a time in my life…… i’m married too now (i never did have kids of my own, but am the less than stellar step mom to a 20 year old), my life is different than it was in that time frame and your dear friend is not the first person i “know” via the interwebs to be gone….. awwwww… it’s just sad. i’m so sorry

  21. I’m so sorry. I hate that life is serving you so much loss right now. I’m just taking a moment to share your grief and spy a little into the humor of your friend. She was witty!

  22. Hugs.
    As someone who just lost someone close to her earlier this year I know there’s nothing I can say to make it better other than send hugs, let you know I’m here (seriously, email anytime) and when I get to Seattle to visit my brother later this year I’d love to meet you to give you a real life hug.

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