Karen was my sister

Karen was my sister.  She was a year and a half older than me, so she was closer in age to me than any of our other siblings.  We had more differences than similarities, but we always got along really well.  That’s because Karen was very good at relationships.  She was shy when she was young, so she didn’t have huge numbers of friends, but the friendships she made were lasting.  She grew out of her shyness when she became an adult, and she made many good friends wherever she went.  Karen was a great listener, and a master at unconditional love.  I’m not sure she was ever angry with me, though I am certain I must have given her cause to be, plenty of times.  She very rarely lost her patience with anyone.

Everyone knows she was really talented as an artist, but few people know she also had a beautiful singing voice.  I remember one time as a teenager she sang Ave Maria at a talent show, and it was amazing.  I wish I had a recording of that.  And her paintings were beautiful.  I have five of them, but I really wish I had more.  I was waiting for a bigger apartment and more wall space to ask her to paint some of my favorites (of her paintings) for me, and now I’ll always regret that I put that off.

She was a great cook – often when I would visit her, we’d spend hours in the kitchen talking while she cooked a delicious and nutritious meal.  She took good care of herself and always ate healthy foods.  She was energetic and so young at heart – she was always the first adult to jump in and play with the kids.  She was a wonderful mother.  She loved her daughters so much, and they are as creative, thoughtful, and playful as she was.

She was a great sister and friend to me.  When she came to visit right after I’d had my daughter, she noticed that my feet were swollen, and she was so sweet and gave me the longest, best footrub ever.  She was a nurturer.  She always called me on my birthday, even the one that was twelve days before she died, when she absolutely didn’t need to have me on her mind.  She was one of the most optimistic people I know – she was always looking on the bright side and thinking positively.

My daughter, who is 8 years old, says she would describe Karen as adventurous.

I’ll miss you, Karen.  Love, Greta

2 thoughts on “Karen was my sister

  1. We want everyone concerned to know that we really appreciate the Herculean effort involved in procuring items and setting up the auction for the benefit of the girls. We are sorry that we cannot attend. Overwhelming love and caring was extended to Karen’s family members upon our arrival and during our stay in Marion. We are forever grateful. Thanks to all of you for being there for our daughter and her family. We wish you great success and a very Blessed Christmas.

  2. Karen and I had 2 big things in common – homeschooling and being artists. We shared related projects over the last couple of years. She helped me teach an art history class last spring to which she brought her deep love and understanding of art, and shared stories about the museums she visited while traveling in Europe. It was after one of those classes that she told me of her diagnosis. I admired her determination to seek treatment in her own way.

    Being a part of the group that has organized the Benefit Auction coming up next Tuesday has been a real honor. I’ve learned a group of homeschooling moms can work miracles when they set their minds to it. I’m grateful once again to Karen for teaching us all about real community.

    When the word got out about Karen’s passing on the local homeschool email lists, many people stepped forward immediately with donations to cover some immediate financial needs. However her family needed more than a reprieve, so a meeting was held a week later. With toddlers underfoot and coffee cups in hand, we asked the question – “How can we raise a significant amount of money, fast?”.

    A benefit auction had been put together a few years ago for another family in distress. It raised a good deal of money. That wasn’t in the middle of a recession, but it was a good model to work from. We decided to go for it, even though we all too much to do already, especially with the holidays fast approaching.

    A Yahoo group was set up for the core group of moms, who divided up the tasks. The emails began to fly. Within a few days we had a space. Jubilee Community opened up their building for the whole night. Food, beer and wine were donated. A press release was flying out to the media. A professional auctioneer volunteered.

    Everyone put out calls to friends and local businesses for auction items. Wonderful donations began to pour in, 250 to date! The generosity of the community was heart warming. The holiday spirit has been working in our favor, but it was also a lot of personal connections and hard work.

    The varied professional and life skills of this group made us a powerhouse. Despite the short lead time and no budget, together we have created a beautiful event. I hope everyone who knew Karen and lives in the area can attend.

    Tues. Dec. 20th, 5 to 8 pm
    Jubilee, 46 Wall St. downtown Asheville

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