I have been in shock and mourning the last few days. An email came last week with a notice I could not have imagined. My friend Karen had been promoted to Glory. I’m still not sure I have grasped it. So many memories have been flooding my thoughts. In April it will be seventeen years since I first met Karen.
One of the many miracles I will be writing about this year happened at that time. Our family was scheduled to move to Springfield to continue working with Life Publishers. We needed a place to live and I traveled here to find us an apartment. That was all I thought we could afford.
Karen and Bruce offered me hospitality and Bruce went with me house-hunting. I will leave this story for another time. Now I want to write about some memories I have of Karen. I’m happy that she at once accepted me as her friend.
The memories are in random order, just as things usually come to us.
I’m Swedish. Karen is from Minnesota, where there are lots of Swedes. I appreciate that she sometimes would bring me some Swedish goodies, like lingonberries jam or something else that had a Swedish taste to it.
Long before our David was diagnosed with Aspergers, Karen picked up on it. When I told her about David she said to me that he might have Aspergers, a high-functioning type of autism. I appreciated her insight and input.
What stands out in the string of memories has to do with my daughter Eva-Marie’s passing. Eva-Marie was hospitalized with pneumonia. As you might know she had cystic fibrosis and her body did not have the energy to fight the infection. Karen explained to me what was happening and told me the doctors were just waiting for us to decide on pulling the plug off the ventilator. Karen and Bruce were with us in the hospital room when we let Eva-Marie go to her heavenly home.
When I was diagnosed with cancer and had to go through radiation and chemotherapy, Karen gave me an invitation to have dinner at their place anytime I wanted. I’m sad to say I could not take her up on the offer, since we lived in opposite directions of the city, and the drive home in the dark after dinner would have been too strenuous for me.
My sister and her friend visited from Sweden years ago. One of their bright memories is the visit they got to do in an American home. You guessed it! Karen and Bruce offered that hospitality.
Karen was a very devoted grandmother. What I especially remember from our talks about grandchildren is how she drilled them on Scriptures. The girls were in a program called Junior Bible Quiz and as I remember it they did very good. I think a lot of it had to do with Karen’s insistence on teaching them the Word of God.
Karen reminded me of one of my grandmothers. She was always bragging about her grandchildren. I’m using the work “brag” in a positive way. I’m sure she would have given her life for them!
The summer of 2011 when Brianna was visiting me we wanted to do something fun. I invited Karen and her grandchildren girls for a tea-party and necklace making. She came with the girls and we had a fun time together. That’s a memory I’ll always cherish.
Bruce and Karen were with me in the grief of losing my husband. Years after that, Karen offered to pray for a new husband for me. She wanted a list, she said, to pray specifically. Last year I gave her a list. That is a fond memory I have of a friend that cared for something dear to my heart.
It’s ironic. My heart goes out to my friend Bruce. On the day when he should have been going out for dinner with his sweetheart, on Valentine’s Day, he will bury her. May the comfort of the Lord embrace him.
I thank God for Karen and the happy memories she has left in my life. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with Bruce and the family.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:15 NIV