Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 18, 2013

DELUCA: Words of love open new chapter for Lewiston woman

Niagara Gazette — Her husband doesn’t remember saying it.

But, she remembers. It was a hot summer day, many years ago, when Kathy Kifer was sitting near an air conditioner eating her lunch, wearing an old T-shirt, and bald from a round of chemotherapy.  

“You are so beautiful,” Al Kifer told his wife with such sweet sincerity she knew he meant every word.

I don’t think there’s a woman alive that doesn’t respond to the soul touching words of a man who sees her beauty beyond her imperfections. It’s that kind of love that has likely spurred Kathy to her most recent success, but I’ll say more on that a few paragraphs from here. 

The Lewiston couple has been married for 39 years. The breast cancer that disrupted her life 30 years ago, would eventually require several surgeries, more chemotherapy and radiation and the removal of, first, the lower portion of her left arm, and then later, the remainder of her arm.   

But, Monday, as I sat in their charming little house in the village, drinking ice tea with lemon and chatting about her writing, I was struck by how lovely she was, despite her challenges or perhaps because of them. The color of her close-cropped auburn hair matched the petals of the flower decorations on her shirt, as did the blue from the tiny stones in her earrings.  Her creamy skin belied her recent 60th birthday. She said, completely unselfconsciously, that it was too hot to wear the prosthetic arm she typically wears to work. I found that attitude of self-care rather inspirational. 

After 30 years she is free of cancer and lives a life of gratitude for simply being able to see her sixth decade. Age 70 and beyond will be an unexpected gift. 

Kathy, who works part time for the Town of Lewiston Fire Bureau, just self published her first book and has sold about 35 copies on Amazon. It’s a love story she started writing before the cancer struck. 

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