Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Happy 55th birthday mom. I love you and I miss you.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

if remembering details about people is usually a sign of your love for them, she loved so many of us

I want to tell you a story, about a group of friends that started in Elementary school and grew up to be young, mature adults with the help of each other. I can't remember the exact details how this group started, but they have come a long way with each other. It was the forming of a strange, yet wonderful family, a group of brothers and sisters. This group would attend each other's birthday parties, experience childhood innocence and fun together. When the girls discovered boys, they would chase them, write stories about them, and go through all the years of teenage angst together. They would fight and make up, annoy each other, love each other and support each other through hard times. They would grow up and graduate high school only to scatter across the United States. One would think that would make them grow apart, but it didn't. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and summer would bring them back together again and as they experienced college life, serious significant others, graduating from college, and quarter life crises, they would grow closer and closer, despite all their differences. The plan was for them to watch each other grow older, find husbands and wives, get married, have children, and then watch their children play together and have lots of aunties and uncles. Unfortunately, a tragedy had befell this group earlier than they expected and little did they realize that they would need each other more than ever before. This group has spent this last week supporting each other, loving each other and today we have come together to remember the one we've lost.

Karen and I used to have this particular conversation over and over in the last few years since we both graduated college. And we would talk about it all the time, because it would amaze us at how lucky we both were to have so many close friends who know our past and was here for our future. There aren't many people out there who even talk to elementary or high school friends anymore, but we are different. She and I talked about how, if we met some of our high school friends in college, we may not have become close friends with them because we have become different individuals with many different interests. But having shared everything in our past and grown up with similar influences, our group is that close and I know Karen cherished every relationship she had with each one of us. As we've all matured and experienced new things in our life we've become even closer. Instead of attending each other's birthday parties, we are now going to each other's weddings.

Karen said it felt like having a larger family. As we've all grown older, we've come to see the differences in each other, yet still love each other for who we are. Karen was the best at that, she always loved each one of us for exactly who we are. For many of us Karen was our first friend, although quiet and somewhat shy as a child, she was the first to make many of us feel welcome. Something about her was just so approachable. Maybe it was the way her nose scrunched up, you couldn't be scared of the silly faces that she made or that laugh that would fill her smile and shine from her eyes. You were lucky if you got to meet her, she was quirky and fun and so loving. In high school we made up this family (don't ask me how it started, it's a long story, and something kids would do)… but she was the matriarch, the center of this family. Probably because she was the one who could remember everything we all did. She had this amazing memory and in a way was our historian. She could remember where we were, who was there, and what we all had been doing… sometimes even who said what. She was the best at remembering birthdays.

She paid attention to people and remembered even the small minute details. If she was out somewhere and saw something she thought someone would like, she'd surprised them with it. She always went out of her way to support us and be there. Whenever I was depressed, she had the right words to say, sometimes even if I didn't want to hear it. Even when she knew I wouldn't take her advice, she would still be there to listen to me complain or cry over the same subject over and over again… she was just there. As we've shared stories about her over this week, there are so many that talk about how she was like an older sister, always making sure people were okay. She was so calm when it came to her friends being in crisis, she let one friend throw up on her and was there to comforting another when she was throwing up in her car. We didn't give it a second thought when we decided to become roommates, it just felt like living with my sister. While we lived together she would often bring me coffee when I was tired, or food if I had been too lazy to cook. Karen always tried to show how much she loved us and made us feel special. Now that she's gone, her spirit will always remain with us and I know we will still hear her voice guiding us in our lives.

I know she would be proud that our family has come together today to draw strength from each other. I know none of us could be going through this without each other's support. So Karen, don't worry about us, we'll be okay, we'll take care of each other and support each other and things will be okay. We'll share stories about you to our children and will love and remember you forever.