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K – that smile, that heart, that laugh, that love, that light that beamed straight into our hearts. The girl who rode that birthday carousel in style and made it hers.
Some people consider the winner of battle to be the one who claims the land when it’s over. But to Karen, the champion is the one who didn’t lose themselves in the battle. Every day she choose to celebrate life regardless of the circumstance was her win. Every day she chose not to let the cancer define her was her victory. Every day she smiled and made the rest of us smile was her gift to us. Every day she fought to be here with us for the last 14 years was her triumph and our blessing. Although I am heartbroken beyond words that she is no longer with us, from where I’m standing she’s been winning this battle since the day it started and that’s the woman we celebrate and honor.
Some of us know Karen as the cookie monster that no cookie or chocolate is safe around, others know her as a ceramicist who makes whimsical pieces of art or a gardener who loves the botanical gardens, but all of us know her as a fun-loving and loyal friend with a pure hearted soul. She had a gorgeous smile and an infectious laugh, especially when she was up to no good.
She embraced life to its fullest, savoring every silver lining she found and making our lives better by simply being in it. She didn’t let anything stand in her way and she definitely didn’t let anything define her other than herself. Not when she did her first triathlon, not when she ran the Nike ½ last year and not when she rode almost 300 miles with Mike this Sept. K silently showed us the power of determination backed by sheer will. I know she’s helped a lot of friends also accomplish things we didn’t think were possible for ourselves.
Some would say K and I met by chance, but we didn’t believe in chance meetings. Our paths crossing was meant to be. We bonded over an instant familiarity and comfort we felt with one another and it wasn’t long before she became my partner in crime and confidante.
Soul sisters is what we called ourselves. A love so pure and unconditional matched with a harmony and melody that couldn’t have been better written. We even solidified our relationship with a silly impromptu proposal of a beautiful ring she had gotten engraved for me. She always knew how to make my heart smile.
We have shared some amazing times and the hardest of times, but we always made the best of it. And when all else failed, we’d jump on our slippery slope slide with our besties, throwing all our cares in the air, getting into some kind of trouble, laughing and giggling the whole way down. We could always get each other to do anything, the badder the better. Because doing it together was going to be 1,000 times more fun!
Over the last 14 years, our slippery slope has changed a lot. From rambunctious nights out to most recently home dinners starting with face stuffing of donuts and ending with detox tea. However, one thing remained constant, these nights usually ended in a sleepover which was our sister time.
We all have our inspirations in life, people who silently motivate us to be better. K will always be this for me. She lived life with such grace and poise, always smiling. Laughing at things that aren’t remotely funny, because sometimes all you can do is laugh.
I hold firm that I learned this from her, but she, in true K humbleness, would probably tell you that she learned it from me. Maybe we learned it together, who knows, but one thing I know for sure I wouldn’t have learned this without her.
K, I will always and forever feel like you were taken away too soon, but for me no amount of time would have been enough. I will be riding the carousel every now and then hoping to catch a glimpse of you.
You will forever live in our hearts, our bestie, our superwoman, my soul sister.
I love you to the moon and back.