Creekside Kate. Shopaholic extrodinare.

A very nice woman of my acquaintence asked me if I knew a certain lady they called Creekside Kate. It rang a bell. I remembered the whole name but I could not quite get the details until my friend told me that Kate slept in her living room, so that she could watch the Shopping Channel on her hugescreen television that she had ordered, of course, from the Shopping Channel.

Oh yes, I remember Kate very well. I was noone to her and there she was, touring me through her home showing me all the things she had bought from that Channel.

"They all know me by name", she said, like that was a good thing.

Kate was neither rich or needy. She occupied that grey space of having just enough money to get through life, but she had discovered to her delight, after her husband died, the joys of credit. Shortly after that she learned about liquifying investments and then finally, reverse mortgages. She suffered dreadfully from anxiety attacks and lived alone in a very nice little strata complex where she had a newer modular home. I would talk to her and coax her into doing little things, like leaving the house, bit by bit.

Kate smoked like a chimney and finally I told her that I could no longer come see her if she smoked in the home. I just cannot breathe. We parted ways but I did continue to drop by from time to time. I always wondered why her family did not come to help her a little bit. Why were the operators and telemarketers filling the role of paid family? It seemed such a sad thing.

My lady friend told me that Kate had a bout with pneumonia and was in hospital. Her daughter came over but declined to stay and called this friend from the ferry saying: "You'll have to pick my mother up from the Hospital. I have a reservation for the ferry."

Cold as nails.

Mom came home and went back in again. My friend called the daughter to tell her that her mother was very ill, and the circumstances were grave.

"What do you expect me to do about it?"

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I know that not everyone can do for their parents or family. But if you cannot, find someone who can. Paid help, volunteer help, government help... whatever. It is so sad to think that Kate died alone in the hospital.

She was the woman I once told that it might be best not to show every person who came in her home the chiffonier loaded with shopping channel jewellery. She told me once she had spent her last 50 thousand dollars on nothing but jewellery. She never wore it, it just sat in the chiffonier, twinkling in the dark drawers. What that 50 thousand dollars really bought her was a friendly voice in the middle of the night.

She was a very pleasant and kind woman. I am glad she had someone who will actually miss her.