There is, perhaps, no way of saying something original about Kukula Glastris that has not been said a hundred times, in a hundred ways, over the past few days and weeks, by everyone who loved her.
We’ve all remarked on how kind she was—the kindest person, in fact, that I’ve ever known. As Jim Fallows wrote so elegantly in his tribute in the Atlantic, it’s easy to use superlatives—the kindest person, the most generous person, the altogether best person; it’s less common that these words are actually true. She was many things, our beloved Kuku—wife and mother, surrogate mother and friend, editor and colleague. That she did all of these jobs with so much generosity and compassion, so much unconditional love, so much unrelenting kindess, was always a miracle, and always a gift.
When I first started at the Washington Monthly, eleven years ago this fall, my husband and our then-thirteen-year-old only child, Molly, came to DC to visit, and Paul and Kuku invited us over for dinner (of course!). Hope and Adam were there, and downstairs in the basement with friends. Hope gathered Molly up, and took her down with her—in that spirit of generosity that defines the Glastris Way of Life. We were just embarking on the bumpy ride that is shepherding a child through high school, and Dave and I left saying, These are the kinds of parents we want to be. I said, What a wonderful gift—watching Kuku mother. That is—watching her mother not just Hope and Adam, but everyone in the house. The teenagers, certainly, but also Molly, and us as well.
We were not allowed, it goes without saying, to do the dishes after.
I’d like to think we were okay apprentices in the art of raising multiple teenagers, making a home that’s welcoming and offering food and support and safety and love and a place of joy and laughter. They’ve all left the nest now, but they come back, just like Kuku’s extended family of children all came back—like they’ll still, even in her physical absence, come back. In their tributes to her they use the superlatives we’re all using, and anyone who knew Kuku knows just how they feel.
Oh, how much I’ll miss you, Kukula Glastris!