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Katharine Hochswender

LAKEVILLE — Katharine Lynn Miyajima Hochswender, 28, took her own life after many years of suffering and pain, on the day before her 29th birthday. She died June 27, 2022.

Kate was born June 28, 1993, in New York City and lived in Manhattan for the first few years of her life. Shortly after she was born, the family purchased a house on the Sharon Green, where she spent weekends and vacations until she was old enough to attend school.

Kate was born with a magnificent brain, an enormously loving and kind heart and great beauty and yet, somehow, from the day she was born she suffered from endless physical ailments as well as severe panic, anxiety and depression. It was as though the many gifts that had been bestowed on her had to be balanced out by a body that wouldn’t allow her to find peace and happiness; or as she would sometimes say, she wasn’t quite built for this planet, like Superman on “Smallville,” a television series she loved.

For those who were fortunate enough to know her, Kate was the most wildly glittering jewel, the funniest, smartest, most beautiful little creature. Even during the worst of her suffering she was kind and generous, and was able to see the humor in almost every situation. I know that for her, the hardest part of leaving this world was knowing how hard it would be for me to lose her and to live on without her.

Those who knew her will also know that our lives had become an endless series of doctor visits and cluster headaches and fear of what the future would hold. She felt that her illnesses would never abate for long enough to let her live a normal independent life, with a job and friends and travel. With joy and freedom.

After kindergarten in Manhattan, we moved to Sharon full-time and Kate attended Sharon Center School, the Marvelwood School in Kent and then Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. So many wonderful teachers and administrators helped her through the difficulty of her anxiety-laden school years, and we thank you all.

We thank Theresa Terry from Region One Pupil Services for sending her to the Archbridge School in Bethlehem, Conn., which helped her find peace for several years.

Thanks also to Dan Gates, Marietta Whittlesey, Bruce Janelli and David Ott, who helped coax her along and comfort her through some of her most difficult periods.

For every job that Kate took on after college, she gave 100% — always to the point where it made her physically ill and she would have to quit. We especially thank Anne Day, Carol Sadlon, David and Shelley Maffucci and Amy Reiss for trying so hard to make it possible for her to keep going.

Kate’s hobbies and interests were legion, too many to list. For someone who suffered from agoraphobia and rarely left the house, she knew about wonderful things and taught me about the world and other people in ways that no one else will ever be able to equal.

For the last weeks of her life, we began every day by playing The New York Times puzzles and then Bananagram, wonderful hours together that I’m glad I could spend with her.

She is survived by me, her mother, Cynthia Hochswender; and her uncle, aunt and cousin, Jerome, Makiko and Daniel Lehrman of Irvine, Calif.

She was predeceased by her father, William “Woody” Hochswender; her paternal grandparents, Lyn and William Hochswender; and her maternal grandparents, Nat and Kaz Lehrman.

Kate asked that we hold a funeral for her. It will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, at our home, 14 Lakeview Ave., Lakeville. If you choose to join us, please think of a story to share about Kate, something funny she said or a wild outfit she wore. You can email me at cindyinsharon@gmail.com with questions, or if you would like to send something for me to read.

The Kenny Funeral Home in Sharon will handle arrangements.

Thank you to the State Police and the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance for their kindness.

Memorial donations may be sent to Friends of Firefighters at www.friendsoffirefighters.org, a charity supported by her favorite actor, Steve Buscemi; or to Rabbit Island in Japan, which she dreamed of visiting, www.rabbit-island.info/en.

She loved rabbits and she was and will always be my little bunny. I loved her so very, very much.

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