RIP, Mary Kaye Ritz

@postaday 323; #postaday2011.

This morning a dear, young friend of ours died. Mary Kaye Ritz and I met when she and her husband, Steven Downes, joined The Honolulu Advertiser in the 1990s. She came on as an assistant features editor, Steven joined us as a page designer. I was young, naive and fresh faced, and they were both so gracious about my eagerness to be a great reporter.

I say she died young, somewhere in the foggy zone between 50 and 60 (where I, too, reside), because she lived life so positively. A perpetual smile pulled at the corners of her mouth and her face remains that way in the memories of her family and friends. It is the eye twinkle, the lip twitch, the rascally temperament that I’ll remember so much. Mary Kaye was also accepting, generous, and probably had the biggest bosoms ever because they had to contain a heart that was larger than life itself.

On her Facebook page, Mary Kaye's caption for this one was, "Borrowing babies...but giving them back." Yup.

Have you ever been hugged by Mary Kaye? She had the softest, sweetest embrace. When Sophie was just three months old, we took her to The Advertiser holiday party at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Mary Kaye made a beeline for Sophie, took her in her arms, and Sophie made herself at home, falling asleep on this soft ledge of love. It was a beautiful sight, and you knew Mary Kaye was beside herself, holding our little like that.

As we get older, our friends die around us. Or we die. It’s something life prepares us for. However, I feel like we’re younger, those of us in our 50s, 60s, and 70s, younger than our parents and our grands. I feel like it’s too early for our friends to be snatched away, stolen by maladies such as metastatic cancers, precarious mountain peaks, rogue waves, and blatant traffic violations. We want to shake our fist at fate and demand restoration, or at least an apology.

I want to see my friends again, those who are dying too soon. And I want the friends who are alive  to know how much I care about them, how much I love them. Life is fleeting, too short to spend on misery. Let love rule, live life without regrets.