I met Kathy Bertrand as part of a writer's group I attended every other week a while back.  It was an informal group that's primary purpose was socializing us writers so that we learned those precious social skills and didn't end up barking all the time and biting someone.

Kathy was a bright, friendly, divorced mother of three.  She loved her children and it was easy to see, even only seeing her every two weeks, that her life revolved around them.  What I remember most about her was her ability to light up a room.  She could change a mood just by being there, and it had nothing to do with seeing people's auras.  Like me, she was an author that didn't make a living that way.

I'm writing this now because I can finally think about her without crying.  I didn't know a lot about her past until after the fact.  She was a good person, one of the nicest I've ever met and it shined out of her.  I wished a great many evil things on the bastard when I heard what happened.

Though in reality, it started long before I knew her, I'm going to start the rest of this blog detailing things from September 10, 2012 onward.  I received a wolfalert from my university about a shooting in Cameron Village:

"Authorities are investigating a shooting that occurred at 9:30 a.m. today in Cameron Village. Early in their investigation, authorities identified a known suspect last seen fleeing away from campus and determined he was not a threat to campus. Wolfline service to Cameron Village has been canceled temporarily. Raleigh police have released a picture of the suspect and ask anyone who may have seen this person to contact 911."

Like many of the other wolfalerts that I receive, I ignored it and thought nothing of it.  After all, I likely didn't know the person.  Later in the afternoon, another wolfalert was sent out labeled Crime Warning Communication Cancellation:

"In reference to the warning earlier today pertaining to the homicide suspect wanted by the Raleigh Police Department, the suspect has been located at Oberlin Rd. and Wade Ave. Based on information from RPD, the suspect no longer poses any threat to the community."

I went on with my life.  At the time, for whatever reason, I had dropped off of facebook for a few days (I do this a lot and sometimes for months), so I didn't see the posts.  On Wednesday (September 10th was a Monday), I got on facebook and started catching up.  The first post I saw from Glenda Poulter was this:

"I just found out a dear friend of mine, Kathy Bertrand, was shot and killed as she arrived at work this morning. Her ex-husband is who did it and he has not yet been caught. Thankfully, the children are in protective custody and he will not be able to get to them. Kathy's partner, Barbara, may or may not know as none of us can remember her last name nor have we met her. My heart is broken; my tears are flowing. WHY do people have to settle things in such drastic, heart-breaking ways? Please keep this family and these three dear children in your hears and prayers. RIP, my dear, sweet, gentle friend. I'll miss you more than you know."

This didn't mean anything to me, even though the name sounded familiar (have I said that I am terrible with names?  The next post rocked my world and left me unable to stop crying:

"My friend, Kathy. I loved her like a sister and my pain is all-engulfing. RIP."

The post had a picture of Kathy looking off to the side speculatively.  A name might not have meant much to me but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  I called my friend, Glenda.  I just needed someone to talk to.  I could hear how upset she was as I talked to her between jagged sobs.  Throughout the conversation, she kept going on and on about how terrible a friend she was because she didn't tell me about Kathy.  I, of course, forgave her because Glenda knew Kathy so much better than I did and I knew she must have been going through hell.

I spent the rest of the evening either with tears streaming down my or my face hot and stiff and trying desperately not to think about her, think about it, so that I wouldn't cry again.  I paced and looked up the details online, getting further enraged when I found out that the bastard that shot her multiple times had taken the easy way out and ended his life.  I couldn't read.  Reading is my go to coping mechanism and I couldn't read.

I was quiet and dolled up the next day (I also tend to "put on my armor" when I am depressed or stressed).  The memorial was on Friday and, by then, I had stopped crying.  But as soon as the memorial started, I again couldn't stop crying, depressed as hell over the fact that that murderer could take such a wonderful person from this world.

The man that killed her was her ex-husband.  They had problems in the past, and though I believe he never actually hit her or the kids, she had a restraining order against him and was in a program to hide her from him.  All of her mail, all of her bills, everything went through a program so that he couldn't trace them back to her.  There were times where she ran from him, terrified as to what he might do.  He was unbalanced, demanding his kids.  After the shooting, schools all around were locked down because police suspected he would try to get to them.  Suspicions were that he committed suicide when he realized he could not.

No one knows how he found her.  Everyone that knew her will miss her.  This is my farewell to a woman that was a blessing to this world and left it far too soon.  Be at peace, Kathy.

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