Kit was my Carleton roommate Kay’s twin sister. I met her for the first time in the tunnel between Nourse and Gridley putting away her bike. I conflate that image with a photo I have of her ironing her dress in our Big Timber, Montana, basement before Bill’s and my wedding in 1969. She’s wearing a bathrobe in that picture, so that’s how I see her in my mind in the tunnel with the bike, but I really think she was dressed.
Kit got breast cancer when we were 25, and she died when we were 33. I never bother to figure out the years. During that time she taught us all about living, and I probably only now truly appreciate it as I frolic into my 8th decade (“frolic” was a word the Ober girls used a lot: “let’s go frolic up that mountain”…..).
In June of 1978 Kit wrote, and Kay rendered in her beautiful calligraphy:
Note to myself….
Intimations of mortality. Just when I thought I would live forever….Here comes the damn disease again.
And why is it that suffering endures as long as courage? I always thought one of them was supposed to win. I did not suspect they would intertwine in locked combat for as long as life.
Somewhere here someone has lied to me. Perhaps I have lied to myself? What I know and what I don’t know are no longer clearly divided. And here comes the question of the ages…Is it worth it? Where then, is the meaning of life, the proof that one should cling with all heart and all soul, with drive, persistence, belief, and desire, to life?
There is a pulse that beats with passionate persistence, that is felt if not known, that suggests that an answer exists. That somewhere joy flows as surely as water, that tears bring forth born again life, and that ultimately there is more than ourselves.
Let us turn then…with hope, with faith and with held breath…Let us turn to mercy, compassion, grace, and love. And certainly, above all, let us live lives that affirm that these things exist, and of necessity for our very souls, let us believe they will win.
~Kit Ober June 9, 1978