Our Kat of many colors

From Kat's Blog....

Emily changed my life..

Current mood: blessed Category: Life
Thursday, November 29, 2007

My phone keeps ringing, and beeping with text messages, while Orbi and I sit in traffic on our way to San Diego. I think any other day, I would've just turned my phone off and let all of it go to voicemail, but just in case I get the call that Emily didn't make it and that I'm too late, I decide to leave it on.I was supposed to film today. I was gonna finish up this rib piece that I started a few weeks ago, on a guy name Miguel. He went through like, 3 hours of getting tattooed, a photo of his little brother framed by full color flowers. From what I remember, Miguel's brother was relatively young, in his teens. He had gone to a party with his girlfriend, and a shooting went down. Gang related. Miguel's brother was a casualty of that war, and got shot, died.We got through about 3 hours of tattooing. The outline and shading on the portrait was already done, as well as the lilies and sunflowers around it. We started the color, and barely got past the second flower, when Miguel was at the end of his rope. Couldn't hang anymore, not even with the help of tequila. So we decided to finish it in a second session, all of which was supposed to go down today.Karoline had been telling me about this girl, Emily, for the past few weeks. Emily was supposedly a fan and was terminally ill, of what i didn't know and still don't know exactly. Make A Wish foundation had been in contact with Discovery Channel about getting a hold of me to meet her, since that was Emily's dying wish. With all that has been going on with me lately, I've been totally scatterbrained. So many loose ends with so many unfinished projects and un-met deadlines... Gotta get the artwork for Musink done, gotta make the phone calls, the emails, coordinate, 5 days till the Bam skateboard drawings are due, haven't even started them, Sephora needs artwork due 2 months ago, the first drafts weren't good enough I guess, gotta email the fan club, get the jackets made for them like I had promised same time last year, Dimebag guitar artwork, book a guy for Karoline's surprise kitty, call Dad, organize skate ramp party, Xmas shopping, call Mom, call business manager about moving my Mom out here, call landlady about the space next door, for Mom's shop, write diary entries, update MySpace, update both websites, dentist appointment, book travel for Xmas/new year, tattoo and draw more.Somehow, Emily got piled onto that list. I just assumed Karoline's taking care of it. I had told her, "Yeah. Totally. Just book it whenever, she can come by whenever". December 12th, was the date, I believe. Emily was gonna come to the shop, i was gonna show her around, introduce her to everyone including my cat, spend time with her, draw together, who knows. Then, at the end of our day, I would hug and kiss her, and off she would go...Yesterday, Karoline tells me Emily isn't lookin' so good, and they don't think she'll make it to the 12th. Realizing the situation at hand, I ask why the hell Dec 12? Did I just assume that was the date her parents had available, or were we gonna be in the area? Did i forget that Emily's fuckin' dying?"Karoline, just have her come now, or I can go to her... where is she, by the way?" San Diego. Why were we waiting so long? To get good footage? Fuck the footage. I don't even know why production, or even the network was involved to begin with, other than being a source of contact for me. Emily wanted to see the shop, and cameras, I'm guessing. They offered to get helicopter, and then I knew it was serious. I had 2 interviews to do that day. Karoline called Emily's people to make all of this happen, and fast. If the helicopter wasn't available, I'd drive down to San Diego. It's a 2 and a half hour drive, without traffic. But until I got approval from the parents that they indeed wanted me to go down there, I stayed and waited. A child's last living hours, why shouldn't she spend it with her family?I did my interviews, while we waited for the phone call, email, text, whatever. Nothing. Woke up today, 9am. 930am training session with Stevie for an hour. I was so tired, and didn't wanna work out to begin with. Staying in my warm bed next to Orbi always sounds better than working out! The everyday battle in my brain to choose sides.. warm bed, more sleep, cuddling for an extra hour, or get up, PJ's, or sports bra and tennis shoes, cuddling, or painful leg lifts, squats, sweat, and torture?The workout was good and I get back to my pad, start my shower and start my day. I wasn't thinking about anything other than finishing Miguel's tattoo I had scheduled today, and eventually tending to my long "to do" list. Finally making my way to my cell to check for the usual morning reminders from Karoline in my texts, i read the words: "call me back asap. Emily is not gonna make it"."At this point, she doesn't have enough life in her to talk". Taking down the numbers and info, I was instructed to call her at 12:30 sharp. It's 12:15.Emily is 13. Her mom's name is Andrea, and she's in bed 2. Since Emily doesn't have energy, her mom will be able to translate her movement, but she wants to hear your voice. Make A Wish bought her a bunch of your shirts, and she was stoked with that.1230 is here. It's ringing and i get transferred to bed 2. The young voice on the other line is Emily's mother, Andrea. After letting me know how much she appreciates this call, she tells me how Emily loves the 1920's. She had dressed as aflapper for Halloween. Emily had taken a photo and wanted to give itme as a gift with her autograph on it. How cool was that? Emily likes Green Day,the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. Emily only hung out with awesome,cool human beings, her mom says. She loves photography, and promisedto email me a bunch of her awesome photos. Emily was my friend onMySpace.When Andrea told me how her life had no meaning until she had Emily,I finally lost it. There's a certain type of love that as much as I'd like to think Iunderstand, I'll never truly know. "Until you have a child, you will neverknow this kind of love. It's deeper than anything you ever knew youcould feel. It's deeper and different than the love you have for yoursoul mate. It's unexplainable," my father once said. And he's right. Butlistening to Andrea talk about her daughter, and the blessing sheis, I understood that it's something bigger than I could even imagine!Emily's listening to us talk. Andrea said she's putting the phone up to herear, so she can hear. On my end all I hear is breathing every now andthan, letting me know Emily's listening. I'd like to imagine Emilysmiling, though.Thanking Emily was difficult. It was hard to come up with a way to make herunderstand why even though we hadn't met in person, she had made a change in me. Emily's helping me better myself and open my eyes to the real issue at hand. All thebullshit whining, and complaining, and feelings of unhappiness, all the criticizing, self indulging crying sessions I've put people through, worries, all the things/people around me I've taken for granted, were all counter productive wasted energies that I couldnever get back.. Things like THIS are happening, NOW.All I could say was, " Emily, you don't even know..." How lame.Before we hung up, Andrea thanks me again, and after offering to come down there to the hospital, she replies with what might have been a gestureof gratitude, trying' not to ask for too much, or a hint that she didn'twant it, but she said, "I know you're busy, so I understand if you can'tmake it down. This was enough for Emily."Orbi walks in the house, perfect timing with the hang up, and asks how it went. All I could think about was how we should have just driven to San Diego last night. Hours wasted that could have been spent oh so differently. But dwelling on the shoulda, woulda, coulda's is always pointless.I need to get to the shop, finish the tattoo on Miguel, and get down to San Diego. That's the only thing clear to me at the moment.We get to the shop. Miguel is 30 minutes away, stuck in traffic. That means by the time I'm done with the tattoo, shoot the reveal shot, say our goodbyes, do an interview about it, rush hour will be upon us, and that'll put us in San Diego around 8pm. That's late..and what if its TOO late? The producers know the situation, and relieve me of thistattoo. They said they'd reschedule Miguel, in order to let me leave now!Gathering all my shit together...Purse, laptop, cell phone, cigarettes, Orbi's bag, coat, pencils,directions, my lucky wrist band. Shed probably like to have that wristband, I thought. Put it in the bag."Kathy..." my sis interrupts, " Just spoke with them. There's achance she won't make it, even if you leave now."The care package of Kat shirts, hoodies, calenders, and miscellaneousgifts Pixie put together for her seem so ridiculous. What do I bringthe 13 year old that in one way or another looks up to me, for whateverreason, to make her feel better about what we all know is inevitablyto happen? A stupid shirt? A stupid useless calender that keep trackof days she's never gonna see? At this point it doesn't even matter.So now Orbi and I sit in traffic in hopes to make it in time to seeEmily. You know, aside from the death of my grandfather, who lived anamazing long and fulfilling life, and my good friend and ol' roommate, Jeffrey, who dies of AIDS a few years back, I haven't had people around me I love that I've lost to an unexplainable death. It's so hard to comprehend how people find strength to get them through half the stories I've heard. But the death of a child tops them all. I don't believe there's anything to be taken from or learned from the death of an innocent child whowronged no one. Nothing u can say to those living through something like this can make them feel better or heal. Not even time really.Even though my experience with death in my family is limited, my job tattooing, has been quite the opposite. I've learned a lot from every single person I've tattooed. So much death is always surrounding me, especially after the TV shows got so huge. Nothing but the cruelest of the cruel, saddening stories of undeserved deaths and losses.Every photograph and line drawing in my office, of children, wives, best friends, sisters, mothers, fathers and so on, are constant reminders of life's unexplainable tragedies. Every single memorial tattoo represents some one's attempt at healing, and dealing with a situation that they'll never completely overcome. Just a moment in time, a person who's life effects you in one way or another, whether you're getting the tattoo, doing the tattoo, or hearing about the story behind it.I will never take my job as a tattooer for granted, and the opportunity that tattooing presents as a way of helping someone, in such a little way. The lessons to be learned from each individual life changing experience give both client and artists this amazing connection. The traffics letting up now, the sun is setting, and the world still turns with or without Emily. "2 miles to go, " says Orbi, who's been driving this hole time in silence letting me vent on my computer.All I can hope for is that Emily still breathing, still conscious. "I just want her to be alive." How can someone play such a monumental life changing role without ever meeting them face to face? Somehow, Emily had.All those things that bothered me so much, and I bitched about so easily...Goin' off on my rants about so and so..and whatevers, like it was the end of the world... He said this and she said that..Does he like me? Am I good enough?What will they think about me?Why can't it be this way, or that way... There's a bigger picture to all of it, and much more important things in this world.I don't wanna be remembered for being "that tattoo girl" or "miami ink" or "LA ink".. The mark I wanna leave is the memory of practicing acts of kindness and love, helping people, changing shit, teaching shit..That is larger than life...Emily is largerthan life.

No comments: