Every time I see the new Zen garden sitting on the front desk, I miss Katie Hammar. The clean white sand and the scarred, dull-glossy black stones remind me of the sea shells she brought in a few times before she left. I remember running my fingertips along the clean edges of the smooth shells and poking the pads of my fingers on the points of the poky shells. I think of her quiet excitement of bringing us this basket of shells she found in her shed (questions about that,) and that noise the shells made as they slid against each other while Katie so carefully removed them. I think about her standing at the front table, the one furthest from the windows, and deliberately arranging the shells in her OCD way. She had this diamond sparkle in her eyes while she did those things. It looked like innocence.
And so I come into the Writing Center and see the Zen garden right away and miss Katie almost every time. Maybe it’s that she represents what I think is still good in the world. When my boundaries changed and I was moved into her ward, she was the Relief Society President and the genuine love she held for her sisters sat so deeply in her eyes.
Once, I left to use the restroom or something and returned to the Writing Center to see Katie place my laptop back where I’d left it. “I was going to play a joke on you, but I didn’t want you to get to worried,” she giggled.
And that’s her. Someone so pure, so well-intentioned and childlike I can’t even fully comprehend it; someone who seems to be the embodiment of good. I miss having her around. I’ve never missed a missionary before, even my sister Jen.