I don’t know where to begin.
If you’ve been reading my blog for long then you know Nancy W. Kappes, paralegal. She first started emailing me years ago and her correspondence was the most bizarre, amazing, roller-coaster of profanity and vodka-drenched awesomeness I could ever imagine. She was like Hunter S. Thompson but with a vagina, and I sometimes suspected that I was actually emailing myself from the future. Other people suspected that I had made her up entirely because surely the few emails I shared here seemed too unbelievable to be real. But they were. And one day she came to Chicago to meet me and so many of the men and women who’d become fans of her writing on my blog. And I was amazed. We all were. She was kind, caring, hysterical, and completely out of her mind but in the most fabulous, endearing and sort of frightening kind of way. Over the years we sent each other hundreds of emails which I kept in a special “Nancy W. Kappes” folder and when I felt down I’d only have to look at the headings to smile.
Yesterday I found out that Nancy had died unexpectedly on Friday night.
I was shocked. And then I was mad. I sent her an angry email demanding that she tell me this was some sort of awful joke. But it wasn’t. I called her phone and it went to voicemail. I saw notes of condolences on her daughters’ facebook pages. Then I cried when I realized that I’d never again get an email from her with subject lines like “Holy mother fucking balls” or “fisting with a kitten mitten” or her old standby “Oh fer chrissake, DON’T TAKE NO SHIT FROM NOBODY; TELL ‘EM ALL TO FUCK OFF”. Her last email came a week ago and was filled with typically golden tips on how to entertain your kids on vacation using only duct-tape and teddy grahams and admonishments to stop working so much and take a damn vacation. She closed with these lines: “Go with God, my child. And if He won’t drive, fucking make Victor. Love on all y’alls little heads ~ Nancy W. Kappes, paralegal“.
She was part demi-God, part hell-cat, part warning-sign, part adopted-mother and completely unique. I will never meet another person like her. I don’t know how she died but I do know how she lived. She lived with a ferocity that frightened grown men. She lived dangerously but fully and without regret. She was unapologetically flawed, perpetually cheerful and found humor in even the darkest moments, and she gave me hope that I’ll be able to face the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in the same way she did…with a wry joke and a rebellious laugh instead of a whimper. She was my friend and the world is a bit darker today without her in it.
If I was writing this about anyone else I’d stop right there, but I’m not writing about just anyone. I’m writing about Nancy, who gloried in irreverence and pushing boundaries and I think that if she were to read this post she’d probably think it was very pretty but would be pissed that I ended it on such a horrifically respectable note, so instead I’m going to let Nancy end this in her own words. A year ago she emailed me the obituary she wrote for herself and I laughed at it and sent her back my own, then tucked it into my Nancy file but I’m bringing it out today because, as always, no one could else could write this quite like Nancy…and no one should.
Dateline: Indianapolis, IN
Please remember in your prayers our sister, Nancy W. Kappes, Paralegal, who was called Home to Jesus’ bosom recently when her fucking head blew up. In life, she was a foul-mouthed, sarcastic, occasionally funny mother, who loved her children unconditionally. She will be remembered for nothing.
Ms. Kappes died of natural causes while being beheaded by her cherished Firm who, apparently, had had just enough of her antics, thankyouverymuch.
She is survived by her sometimes [on their part] beloved grrlz, a grandson, and some ass-hat letters on her favorite website. Everyone else in Ms. Kappes’ life has disowned her or disavowed knowing or being related to her. In fact, they are having a party in Chicago, to celebrate her demise. Donations in her name will be accepted by Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly and Watson.
Her daughters have planned a memorial service for the week in which her home will be open to [you know who you are] to participate in the last rites of a case of Gray Goose, 15 bottles of tequila, 2 cases of cheap bourbon, and unlimited access to the last 5 remaining barrels of the Judy Garland Trail Mix.
Ms. Kappes will be cremated and her ashes put in a Dixie cup. It is her final wish that she attend every party given and promises this time she will cause no trouble. Her parting words were, “Bite me.” “Pardon my dust.”
Nancy W. Kappes, Paralegal