10/31/2006: The stark reality of losing Karen has finally set in. And…to put it in plain English, it’s depressing as hell.
In my first job out of college, I had to go to Southfield, Michigan for ten weeks of torture. Seven-day workweeks. 80 hours was normal; some weeks required more. It made my days as an aerospace engineering student look easy! There was a three-strikes-and-you’re-fired policy. I set a record for most weeks on strike two, and still passed.
I couldn’t have done that without Karen.
I can’t even count how many times I called her at home and poured out my heart. She was very encouraging and supportive.
In week 4, I had two strikes–I had gotten off to a terrible start, and blew two of my first three projects–and I was down to my final attempt on the 4th project (we were limited to 25 attempts, by which time we had to have our projects working), with less than a minute to go before submission. None of my previous 24 runs were even close.
I nailed it on the final attempt. Karen had prayed for me that day.
That scenario would be repeated in weeks 7 and 8. No way that happens without Karen!
The last two weeks were a cakewalk. When I returned home, giving Karen a bearhug–and treating her to a nice dinner–was my first order of business.
While things eventually soured between us–I was too immature and she was too hardcore on some points–we would go on to remain very good friends. I also became very good friends with her eventual husband–Doug. We (and another friend) drove to Promise Keepers in 1992 (Boulder, Colorado).
I have my misgivings with PK, but the trip was great. We camped out in Rocky Mountain National Park. (Doug took her there shortly before she died.)
When I was in
cemetary Seminary, she was a very good sounding board for some of the progressive nutty ideas to which I was exposed. Sometimes she agreed; other times she said, “You’ve gotta be kidding!”
Most of the time she was right.
Over the years, I kept in touch with them, and even visited when I had a chance. They moved a few times, but I’d call them every so often.
From a healthy living standpoint, Karen did almost everything right. She grew her own vegetables, baked her own bread, avoided the high-fat/high-cholesterol foods, and exercised.
Still, about 8 months ago, she was stricken with breast cancer.
While some folks–including me–question her decision to forego medical treatments (instead opting for non-medical remedies), she had no second thoughts.
She opted out of surgery or chemo or radiation. Barring an act of God, that’s almost certain death. That is exactly what happened. On the upside: her slide was quick, with minimal agony. On the downside, her husband and kids probably could have used some more time.
In retrospect, I guess that was God’s way of punching her ticket. Rapture notwithstanding (and I’m not counting on that, as–unlike Karen–I’m not a pre-tribber), we’ll all walk through that door one day. One day, I hope to meet her on the other side, though I’m in no rush to get there.
Until then, I’ll miss her while I’m here.