I said goodbye to a friend today – A very dear friend who sprang into my life nearly 20 years ago and stuck around when many others drifted away. My mind is a tornado of emotions and the easiest way for me to release them is to write. And so that’s what I’ll do — I’ll let her guide me through the memories, the emotions.
It wasn’t until she was gone that I realized just how much of a friend she was. I never felt like I took things for granted in my life. I continually thank God for his blessings and recognize them daily but her passing has made me reflect on what I didn’t say to her. It made me think about what our last interactions were like. Did I give her a hug at her baby shower? Did I participate and engage or was I watching the big game on television? Did I properly thank her for the array of princess gifts she gave to Malia on her 4th birthday?
The truth of it pains me. The would’ve, could’ve and should’ve scenarios swirl through my mind and the sorrow and the emptiness come together as sharp points of pain. The last few days have been a haze as our friends and family come together to lift each other up.
The outpouring of love and the stories of her generosity, kindness, goodness and love is a testament of what a beautiful person she was. And I pray that she felt the love, as much as she gave it. Because the words said today to celebrate her life were not flowery words, said in moments of grief. Not at all. They truly defined her. She was exactly as people described – that’s why the church was filled not only with her family and her closest friends but parents of the kids at the school where she gave so much of her time. The church community that knew her as more than just a passing face on Sunday. The teachers at the school where her son attended spoke of her because they knew her. And social circles from work, social media, college, high school, elementary — they filled the seats and lined the walls because she was that much of an influence.
I’m so so incredibly blessed to have known her and to have loved her. I wasn’t her closest friend – but we celebrated the birthdays, helped hide the Easter eggs and toasted to good times on many, many, many occasions. We even sized each other up as potential “in-laws” as my daughter and her son forged a beautiful friendship. I always knew when I sent out an invite that she would be one of the first to respond, followed with a “What do you need me to bring?” That was Karen.
I see her now in the little things. I’m not surprised by that. It was in the little things that she focused her attentions. The text greetings, the phone calls, the thank you cards with printed photos. She worked hard to foster the relationships that mattered to her. That was her way. She poured her heart into every movement, every word and every action. A rarity in today’s world of technology and fast-paced intensity.
There are so many wonderful memories that I will cherish. There will be many, many moments in the coming years where I will achingly feel her absence. I hope she’s hovering over my shoulder as I write this so I can tell her all the things I didn’t get to or share the things that make me think of her.
Karen, I love you my sister and my friend. And I’ll be loving you forever — the way New Kids on the Block intended.
- I’ll always hear your voice singing when I hear New Kids on the Block.
- I promise to take more pictures at our parties because I know how much you loved capturing them
- I’ll love Disney princesses — only for you my friend. Only for you. I promise to sing those princess songs to Malia more – the way you sang them to her at your baby shower.
- I’ll shower Malia with princess love at every birthday party because she always loved the package of goodies you gave her.
- I’ll smile every time Malia and Lukey Luke play together and remember the way we always looked at each other and wondered if we’d become in-laws. lol
- I already see your beautiful face in your newborn son.
- I’ll go to more Girl’s Night Outs because you always made sure we got together.
- I’ll remember the awesome red heels you wore to my bachelorette party. You knew how to rock some Jimmy Choos.
- SF Giants – check, SF 49ers – check, LA Lakers – check. Warriors – check…because secretly, I know you were a fan too.
- There isn’t a wine bottle in all of Napa Valley that won’t make me think of you.
Your brother said something today that stuck with me. He said you ended every day asking yourself “Did I do good today?” Did you live God’s word? Did you treat a stranger the way you treat your mother or friend? Did you give what you were doing your all? He said that that was your secret – that you started and ended each day trying to be good.
Today was a testament of how good you truly were. Your last act in this world was not only bringing your son safely into it but helping us mend old wounds, reminding us to always show and give our love and affection, and to face each day with the intent to simply be good. You were so profound without any effort and I love you for it.
Father Restin told us today that you didn’t say good bye to him that Sunday at church, you said “See you again”. Until then I will keep looking for you in the little things and try to be as good as you.
I love you my friend. Until I see you again.