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.

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