arebella (arebella) wrote,

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It's been a long time since I posted anything here and it seems like the only time I do, it's bad news.  I just learned today that Karesia (Kim Waldstreicher) passed away in late January.  I know many of you knew her well from the Hercules/Xena fandom, and from the many lists that those fandoms spawned.  She was a co-founder with me of the Altar of Ares list and a priestess in the original Temple of Ares on the Sci-Fi boards.

I "met" Kim way back in about 1997, in the earliest days of the Hercules/Xena fandom, on the Ares list.  From there, we ventured onto a new list called KSmithAres, founded by Thamiris, and eventually started our own list devoted to Kevin Smith called Altar of Ares.  Those were the great days of that fandom, when we'd all wait anxiously for each new ep of those show and discuss the most minute detail of every nuance of every scene.  Kim and I talked, either by phone or by email almost every night,and we couldn't wait until we could met in person at a "con" and spend a weekend squeeing together in fangirl bliss. 

We met and did just that for the first time at the 1999 Creation Con held in Cherry Hill, NJ.  We got to see Karl Urban, Alexandra Tydings, and several others of the Herc/Xena regulars and formed "Ares' Army" - screaming and cheering every time Ares' or Kevin Smith's name was mentioned, to the delight of Gary and Adam from Creation.  That whole weekend in Cherry Hill was a complete hoot, but the best thing was getting to spend time with Kim and her roomie, Liz.

We attended several other cons together, including the infamous Orlando Con, where Kev sang kareoke in the hotel bar for us on a whim, long before the days of the organized Creation musical events like the caberets.  Adam said that session in the hotel bar with Kev and all of us who adored him became the inspiration for the caberets at the cons.  We had such a great time with Kev that weekend and it was so nice to be around him as a person, not just as an actor.  I think among all the cons I've been to over the years, that one stands out as the best because it was not just an actor from a TV show doing an appearance for his fans - it was someone who became a friend to us who just happened to be an actor on a TV show.

When Kev died, many of us spent that awlful weekend in the chatrooms and on the phone to each other.  None of us could believe that he was gone, but those bonds of friendship that were forged by our love for Kev were a great comfort to us all during those days.  I still remember making that initial call to Kim to tell her that Kev was gone.  We talked for hours that night, just remembering what a wonderful person he was and laughing over the silly things he had said and done over the years we had known him.  Talking about him eased the hurt for all of us.

The last con Kim and I attended together was again in Cherry Hill, NJ, several years later.{John reminded me last night that this was actually the Valley Forge, PA con, not Cherry Hill.  We went to several cons together in Cherry Hill, but the last one was in Valley Forge - same gneral area outside Philly.}  I was there to see Michael Hurst and she was there to see Keith Hamilton Cobb from Andromeda.  It was late in the winter of that year and a huge storm was blowing in and threatening to dump massive amounts of snow on NJ.  Kim and Liz left early to get home before the worst of it and John and I went to Atlantic City after the con, where there was barely a soul in any of the hotels or in the casinos.  That was the last time I saw her in person, although we continued to "talk" through email and occasional phone calls for many years.

When I think of Kim, I think of her passion for the things she loved and her ability to stand up for what she believed in.  She suffered with many physical ailments over the years, but she never gave up loving life, even when life was cruel to her.  She was strong, determined, loyal to a fault to her friends, and loved to give of herself.  She did the most beautiful crossstitch work, and when I admired some of her work once, she made one for me for Christmas one year.  She embroidered a picture of a Harley with a poem called "When I Am An Old Woman".  The jist of the poem is a declaration that when I am old, I will not give into age and being stuffy,  I will still delight in doing things that I did in my youth without thought to being seen as ridiculous.  I still have that canvas hanging in my home office.  Kim never got to be an old woman; she died before she turned 41, but if I am lucky enough to get to be an old woman, I will do still proudly do and love the things that brought us together as friends.  And I will thank God that he left Kim here on this earth long enough to enrich my life and those of all who knew and loved her.  There is an emptiness on this earth now that she is gone, but the memories that we have of her help the pain of her passing ease as we remember the joy and laughter she brought us.

Today, I have no doubt that she is sitting on a cloud with Kev, with Shugar on her lap getting a good scratch behind the ears, as they talk about those days in the fandom and those cons.  I can hear his booming Kiwi voice and her laughter from here if I listen really closely.  Sleep well and rest in peace, my friend.

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