Karen, my close friend, went to be with the Lord on May 1st. Her memorial service was one of the hardest and most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. Tim, her husband, movingly shared about her life and his love for her. He also read letters from their sons. He wanted me to share what they said.
Karen and I met here in September 1984 when we were both students. As I got to know her, I was drawn to her by the warmth of her personality, her love and concern for others, but most of all her deep desire to follow Jesus and to know what Jesus meant when he promised to give life and life more abundant to those who followed him.
At the end of our year of training, Karen and I each felt led of God to join the staff. Soon after, we went through a time of renewal and testing that refined our lives, deepened our commitments, and bound us together with others in relationships that grew to become this Fellowship. These experiences strengthened the friendship that Karen and I had, but it was not until 1992 that we were attracted to each other at a deeper level and we began to pray about God’s will for our lives together. Once we were convinced that it was God’s will for us marry, we moved ahead quickly and on January 23, 1993, we were married.
In August of 1995, we were blessed with the arrival of Jordan, and in October 1997, we had the further blessing of welcoming Derek to our family. The boys were a source of joy to Karen and will continue to be so to me. I know they will grow up to be young men she would be proud of.
Marriage to Karen was an adventure, because of the kind of person she was. Through her, I learned more of what it means to love another person and what it means for a couple to love Jesus together. I learned so much from Karen and she gave so much to me, but the most important thing was that she drew me into a deeper love for Jesus so that we not only grew in our love for each other but in our love for him.
But Karen’s love extended beyond our marriage and family. She cared deeply for her mom, her dad, and her sister. When her dad died, she felt the loss keenly and sought to be a source of comfort and support to her mother. She also loved Life Mission Fellowship. She loved this place and its purpose, but most of all she loved the people who are part of it. They were not just her friends, they were her larger family. And in the days since Karen’s death, it is the love of this family for Karen and the boys and me that has surrounded and carried me every step of this painful part of our life together. We are discovering in new deeper ways what it means to love and care for each other. For this, I will always be grateful.
Karen had always enjoyed good health, so when she began to experience some physical problems in the last week or two, we were not unduly concerned. She did, however, consult with her primary care giver and her gynecologist to find out what might be the cause. The tests they administered gave no indication of a life-threatening problem. She was given medication for the headaches she was experiencing. This provided some relief, but at times they were so severe nothing seemed to help. Then on Wednesday, the headaches increased and she became quite ill. I called her doctor who told me to take her to the emergency room at the hospital. Adam, Butch and I took her to the local hospital immediately, where, after examination, she was admitted. At that time, I thought she was going to be all right, but blood tests showed that she had a blood borne disease, and a Cat Scan revealed that she had suffered a series of what the doctor called wet strokes resulting in significant brain damage. Because of the seriousness of her condition, she was medivaced to Cooper hospital in Camden where further tests were done. A second Cat Scan revealed massive bleeding in her brain and the head of the critical care unit told me that there was nothing more that could be done, because of the damage to Karen’s brain and that she was in fact, brain dead. We then learned that the cause of all of this was leukemia.
I was privileged to have shared 15 of the best years of my life with Karen. I had hoped that it would have been 50. That is not to be.
Death has taken her from us, but though our relationship to Karen has changed it has not ended. She is closer to Jesus now than she has ever been. And her love and her life will continue to be with us.
Thank you all for coming. Your being here is a further testimony to the ways in which the beautiful flower that was Karen touched your lives.
What I love about Mom.
Mom was always so loving and helpful. She would always remind us to do the things we needed to do. She was helpful when last year I was having trouble with math. She kept on trying to help me. Now this year I am doing better at math. At night mom was also very loving. She would always have time to say good night to me, and she would try to read to us as many times each week at night as possible. Mom was giving and would do things to please us. She would let us play football, or Starcraft. Mom was also very creative in skits or costumes. She would help make or come up with good skits or costumes. Mom was a very wonderful mother who always loved us and tried to help me.
What I remember about Mom
Mom was the best mom in the world. She was caring for me when I was sick, hurt, or sad. Mom was fun joining in skits and playing games. She was loving to people in the community, people she met, and me. Mom was creative in making costumes and planning skits. She was busy but always answered my questions. Mom was always faithful towards other people and towards God. I enjoyed it when she would read books to my family and draw with me. Mom was always self-giving to other people, but most of all she was my loving parent. I am going to miss my mom’s fun, faithfulness, cheerfulness, self-givingness, but most of all love.