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Way Back Machine Activate: The last day and Fight Like a Girl

Updated: Mar 16

As of today it's been six months since Kara sparkled on. It even happened on the same day: A Thursday. With the help of her mushroom guides--that's another story--she determined she had done everything she was going to do here and went into a breathing pattern I recognized all too well. For myself, I am glad I got to be there for this. Because when I came into the room and realized that IT was actually happening, I got to hold her hand and watch her birth herself into the mystery of something she had been staring at for over four years as an acting-upon... and not a being-acted-upon.

Throughout her last three months, Kara had a vision for her pain management, a vision for her care, and a vision for her manner of leaving the world. Even as I held her hand on this day six months ago, screaming, I could see this look in her half-open eyes: "No, Charles, we are doing this." I like to joke--well, not totally joke--that Kara did death the way she did birth: As a breech baby--feet first, a rare occurrence--and a stubborn one at that. It took her no less than fifteen hours before she decided she wanted to give her mom a break and see what this world was like. And it took her no less than half that time before she decided she wanted to see what the next world, if there is one (and honestly I believe there is, although I would never impose that belief on anyone else), might be like. She might have gone on for another day or two... But something I can't explain shifted in the hours before I came upon her making those noises that sound like someone is drowning.

As evidence of Kara's visionary approach to meeting death, here is a brief exchange we had four days before her transition:

Charles: What's your pain at right now?

Kara (pumping her fists in the air): Charles, I am feeling PRETTY FUCKING GOOD! I am EVOLVING. I never know how I am going to feel. By my calculations...

Picture her arms completely atrophied, one leg twice as big as the other, her belly swollen, her lips mangled. She never took more than one moderate pain pill at a time, either. But it was like a hundred black monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey were all floating above her bed and making deep droning sounds in anticipation of her reaching the next stage of some marvelous existence. I wish she could have stayed awake long enough to tell me her calculations... but I have no doubt that she had made them. And of course, everyone meets death in their own way. But Kara's was super deliberate (given her abilities) and she took full ownership of it, the way she took ownership of her cancer as a series of processes and not some evil invader who had made her a victim. "Here, hold my beer, watch me do this thing."

Six months later, having watched her Do This Thing, I still can't believe I have to do the earth thing without her. But then again, I can't believe I was ever lucky enough to know her on earth to begin with. She would roll her eyes at this, but you know what, Kara, by my calculations, I am PRETTY FUCKING LUCKY, all right?!

Toward the end, out of nowhere, as I was rolling her over for wound care, she told me: "Without you, I would have been more lonely." For what it's worth, if you've read this far, this makes me feel less lonely as I pass the half-year mark of Kara's launching into the next iteration of her wild-light self.

As a thank-you, here is Kara's contribution to U.S. Air Guitar's "Fight Like a Girl" video in the summer of 2019. She had been diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer only eight weeks earlier, and she was feeling pretty fiery. I kind of think of this as her dressed-down, minimalist Mike Tyson style Picante.

Until next time.

--Charles Austin Muir

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