11 Dec. 1954 - 25 March 2004
Memorial website created by Christy Marx.
Katherine was determined that no one would know what her intentions were until it was too late. She planned her suicide with meticulous detail. She left a generic suicide letter in her apartment, with a list of people to contact. She mailed a farewell letter to me, knowing it would take a least two days for the letter to get from Tucson to me in California. She mailed a letter to a close friend who lived in the same apartment complex with her, knowing it would take a day for that letter to be received.
She had secretly purchased a gun and hid that fact from those closest to her. On March 25th, at 1:38 am, she posted this last message on her Live Journal:
So often in life, we find ourselves taken for granted. Okay, ignored even. So I try every once in a while to make a point to say "thank you!" to my friends, without whom life would be miserable beyond belief.She used an image of Yosemite, where she had worked in her younger days, one of her favorite places. And she gave her mood as "peaceful".
Some time that day, she drove an hour and a half from Tucson to a section of the San Pedro River near Tombstone, Arizona. She left her car parked in the lot and made the ten minute walk down to the river. Ever the writer, she made a final entry in her personal journal at 2:35 pm. The final word she wrote was "Adieu."
Her friend in the apartment complex noticed that the car was missing and began to get worried. Then she received her farewell letter. She called the police and the search began. She called me. After two horrible days of waiting and hoping, some hikers came upon Katherine's body somewhere near the river.
The minute I received the confirmation of the worst, I packed my car and drove to Tucson. I notified Katherine's agents and also a mutual friend of ours, B., for whom she'd just finished writing an animation script. B. was every bit as devastated as I was and immediately booked a flight to Tucson.
I arrived on Sunday, the 28th, and spent the night alone in Kath's apartment. I didn't sleep much. I couldn't bear to sleep in the bed where I could still the indentation of her head on the pillow. I wandered the apartment in turmoil, trying to understand why she did it, trying to make any sense out of it at all.
In the afternoon, I picked up B. and we drove to the river. We spent hours wandering up and down the banks, each of us searching for some internal resolution as dusk came on and we finally had to leave. I had hoped to sense some sign of Kath. Maybe a shred of spirit that hadn't moved on. But I could sense nothing. I dropped B. off at the airport, then went to a wake that Kath's many Tucson friends had arranged. There I met Kath's twin sister for the first time. That was a strange moment, to say the least. Kath's mother came to Tucson, but due to timing and circumstances, I didn't get to meet her.
The next couple of days were a blur of work, sorrow and exhaustion as all of Kath's friends came over and helped to clean out the apartment and find a new home for everything she had left behind. On Thurs., I headed for home. I wasn't able to stay long enough for the cremation, but Kath's friends took her ashes to a favorite place of hers on Mt. Lemmon and scattered her remains on the mountainside overlooking the desert terrain she loved.
Here are some shots of the San Pedro River. One of them may have been the last view Katherine saw. At least it was peaceful and lovely.