I lost a friend

She passed away on Thursday, but I found out this afternoon through a Facebook post. I still can’t quite believe it – we had just emailed each other a week or so ago.

It breaks my heart that I never felt her leave.

She was wry and clever and pragmatic and sarcastic. She was brave and tough and resourceful. She cared fiercely about so many things and for so many people. She was a warrior who’d battled and bettered stomach cancer for years through Chinese herbs and acupuncture. Pancreatic cancer stole her: a recent diagnosis so quickly, heart-breakingly fast, it ripped her from here before she could best it too.

It must have caught her in some chance moment when she was weary of fighting.

She loved music and art and books and reading. She could brew beer. She made gorgeous jewelry – incredibly detailed, exquisite pieces of precious metal wire and gemstones. I’m so fortunate to have so many of them; gifts over years of our friendship. She inspired me to make jewelry myself, giving me one of my few and most-valued creative outlets.

She lived largely and intensely and vibrantly and sometimes quietly and softly and sadly. She told amazing tales of her days in the music industry. She was a buddy of U2’s Bono and for a while, I think, worked for Billy Bob Thornton and Bridget Fonda. Her sister knew the Doors and she recounted meeting Jim Morrison with her as a little girl. There was a story with Dennis Hopper and that one time with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the pasta. Her celebrities tales were always funny and appropriate and natural, without the slightest hint of pretension. To her, they were just minor characters in her richly-lived narrative.

She was a wonderful cat momma. She loved her fur babies, Hadrian, Skorri and Skúfr, with all of her heart. Skúfr, the youngest of her cats, was frequently ill as a kitten and she often struggled to pay his vet bills, sacrificing necessities to bring him home from yet another emergency visit. I never heard her once complain; she was always deeply grateful to have pulled him through, to have him with her a little longer.

She had a sorrow that you could sometimes see shadowing her, a loneliness she carried loosely on her shoulders, like an unwanted but needed shawl.

Wherever she wandered – San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Arizona – she grew a family of friends about her, like a garden of flowers, Artists, writers, musicians, animal lovers; ordinary people, extraordinary humans like her.

She was one of my family of friends.

She and I first met on an author’s listserv back in the late nineties, and somehow fell into a deep and lasting camaraderie with each other and three others from the group – all brilliant, sharp, and hysterically funny women, scattered across the US.

I cherish those memories, that time and them to this day.

I cherish you and I miss you, Synde Korman, today and always. I will remember you and our friendship and your stories and laughter and kindness for all of my life. I would send you energy biscuits, as I always did when you were feeling low, but you won’t need them anymore.

Speed you on your Path, my friend. Be filled with love and light and free of pain.

Bydd i ti ddychwelyd.


10 thoughts on “I lost a friend

  1. Kim,
    Thank you for this incredibly heartfelt and accurate description of our friend Synde. Synde and I worked together at a veterinary hospital in the Austin area. We had some great talks about a variety of subjects such as her love for beer crafting, her friendship with Bono and his wife, her childhood, a special guy in the Seattle area, our similar feelings of feeling the “odd-man out” a lot of the time, her music industry career. She had a great sense of humor and I tried to provide her with some humor too. We sometimes were able to have lunch at the same time at work. When we weren’t able to, she would be working at the front desk and I would be in our break room. I would text her saying “Sup? (interpretation: What’s up?). She would laugh and I’d say I just wanted to check in with her. Our days at this vet hospital weren’t always good days and we both tried to support each other with humor and kindness. After she left the Austin area, we kept in touch only about every 6 months or so through texts. I texted for her birthday in March and thought it strange that I hadn’t heard back from her as she usually texted right back or within a day. I thought something might be wrong, but also thought maybe she’s going through something and needs her space. Now that it’s 6 months later and time for me to text again. I went looking on the internet for anything I could find on her and found your tribute. I miss our friend and my tears are expressing that quite well. I miss her laughter, her vulnerability and her kindness. I told my husband that Synde gave me the best compliment I think I’ve ever received. She once told me that when she came to work and saw me come in, she knew that everything was going to be okay. How can I ever have a better compliment than that? I don’t think it’s possible. See on the other side Synde


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