Afterword from Kathy’s son, Phillip

Here it is—the post we all kind of expected to happen at some point.

I’m very sad to announce that Kathy is officially gone. I’m Kathy’s oldest son, Phillip, writing to you now in her absence. My apologies if this is your first time hearing this news; we did our best to loop everyone in. A beautiful wake and funeral were held—all planned by Kathy, herself, during her final months—all according to her detailed specifications. Indeed, she planned and prepared all the important details surrounding these events to make our lives as easy as possible. (She also did just really love planning things)

There is one very important thing she didn’t plan for, but I’ll save that topic for another blog post, since it should be valuable to anyone managing the most difficult part of cancer: the bitter end.


For now, I’d like to provide everyone with three keepsakes, as requested by a number of funeral attendees:

  1. Eulogy written by Kathy’s son, Phillip Knoll (me), for her funeral:
  1. “The Life of Kathy: Blog Edition” slideshow with photos & videos from all stages of her life:
“The Life of Kathy” Blog Edition: Living My Life in 24,815 Days
  1. “Living My Life in 10 Days” book for anyone wanting to read this blog like a book or print it out:

Continuing Kathy’s Legacy

There has been some talk about appropriate charities to honor Kathy’s wishes. Her family has agreed on “I Grow Chicago” as the official “Kathy Braier Recognition Charity” (I just made that name up now).

Why “I Grow Chicago”? They operate the way Kathy did, doing volunteer-driven social services from within the community. They’re a grassroots, low-overhead non-profit serving underprivileged families and community members in West Englewood, Chicago, IL. I was able to meet and work with them directly during my time at Digital Third Coast, so I can vouch for their passion and sincerity.

Here’s their donation page:

Thank You

That’s all for now. We’re going to keep this blog running for the foreseeable future to honor Kathy’s desire to help other cancer survivors.

I am so grateful for everyone’s support. And I mean this—you guys are truly remarkable. I lived with Kathy for long enough to bear witness to the love and compassion you have all provided over the years. Please be very proud of yourself for this. And know that Kathy wanted you in her life, not out of circumstance, but out of a deliberate appreciation for you.


Kathy’s favorite vacation spot, Door County, two days after Bill & Kathy’s marriage