Rage and Pain: Kathy Godfrey

“I’d settle for someone without a lengthy criminal record.” ~Kathy, 1992

I met Kathy Godfrey in 1988. She was close to our married friends Michael and Thea (I’ve known Michael since seventh grade), who often joined Kathy for Medieval Fair events. Kathy and Thea shared a love of sewing costumes from antiquity.

Kathy Godfrey and I pose in Halloween costumes in October 1993.
Kathy Godfrey and I pose in Halloween costumes in October 1993.

Kathy was a tiny, thin woman with an angry and/or depressed demeanor and an odd, almond-like smell. When we first met, she smoked all the time, but when she began regarding me as a love interest, she quit, switching, instead, to picking at her big toe with the other big toe until it ulcerated. As she and I attempted to date, she curtailed this neurotic behavior as well.

Kathy expressed her feelings about me shortly after Pam and I split up in 1992. We spent some evenings and nights together in her Norman, Oklahoma home. She was cute and over-the-top intelligent, but dating her was difficult. Despite her efforts to get close, she was quick to anger, dismissal, and judgement.

Example: in the spring of 1993, after spending the night with her, she and I discovered that her rented back yard’s trees were loaded with cherries. We picked hundreds of them, then took them to Anne Robert’s house to pit, eat, and cook them into pies. (During that period of my life, Anne and Kathy were rivals for my attention and affection.) Later that night, Kathy asked me to take her home, and when I paused and looked at Anne, she stormed out of the house dramatically. It was several months before I saw her or heard from her again.

Kathy hated modern life and, especially, modern music, and always listened to “early music,” circa pre-Renaissance.

Journal, December 16, 1993: Kathy called. She was most desperate and pathetic. She is SO needy. She has elevated feeling sorry for herself to an art form. I believe I want Kathy Godfrey all the way out of my life.

Even during periods when we were together, she cultivated depression and rage, such that once, near the end of her life, she came to Michael and Thea’s for dinner…

Journal, January 17, 1994: But when Kathy Godfrey entered the room, we all felt an icy tension. She projected a tangible pain, dark and heavy, from the moment she entered the room. She asked me to rub her feet. When we sat on the couch to do so, she said, “Should I cry now or wait ’til later?” I told her she could cry whenever she wanted; I’m not the crying police.

It was a very telling moment about a hard lesson to learn: when you are depressed, you are less attractive, and when you throw hate and anger into the mix, you completely alienate everyone. I’ve certainly been there myself at several points in my life. It’s a deep hole, and it’s hard to climb out of it.

Two prior events colored her psyche: 1. she was brutally kidnapped and raped in Albuquerque in the 1980s, and 2. her sister was killed that same year in a car accident. I am not unsympathetic to the effects of such things, especially the rape. I am also well aware that I was not responsible for her life, and no amount of sympathy from the outside can fix what’s broken inside.

I have very few photographs of her.

You can read a word-for-word transcript of her journal, which was often addressed to me by name, here (link.)

As neurotic and difficult as Kathy could be, possibly the craziest thing she ever did was lie to herself about her age. In her journal, she wrote, “If I live to be forty and am still alone, I think I will interfere with my destiny,” even though she was 43 at the time.

In early 1994, Kathy had her father fly over her house in his airplane (a Beech Bonanza, I think) and bless it, after which she felt temporarily better.

The crushingly depressing meeting with her in January was the last time I saw her alive. In the early hours of February 23, 1994, she got her father’s 9mm out of her boot, crouched face down on her bed, put the gun in her mouth and ended her life. Reports indicate there was blood, hair, and brain matter on the ceiling above.

Only after her death and receiving a copy of her journal did I learn the extent of her feelings for me: she was in love with me. Even if she had been honest about her feelings during her life, I don’t think she and I would have been a good fit.

Kathy Godfrey, seated, in red, plays the piano at Christmas with Anne Roberts, her chief rival for my attention, as David and Brenda Wheelock sing along at Christmas 1992.
Kathy Godfrey, seated, in red, plays the piano at Christmas with Anne Roberts, her chief rival for my attention, as David and Brenda Wheelock sing along at Christmas 1992.

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