Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In memorium: my friend Karen
I got a call last night while I was putting the kids to bed; my friend Karen's name popped up on caller ID.
I haven't spoken with her in a while. We were supposed to go out to dinner three weeks ago, I didn't feel great and cancelled, and we haven't spoken since. I owed her a call.
I figured I'd get back to her after the kids were asleep and didn't pick up.
Then I heard my cell phone ring, and I figured she really wanted to talk, but again I thought, I'll call her back.
I put the kids to bed. The phone rang again; this time it was our mutual friend, Nancy. And I knew something was wrong.
"Nance?" I said. "Hi. What's up?"
"Did Robert call you?" she asked. Robert is Karen's husband.
"I didn't pick up," I said. "Nancy, tell me what's going on."
"I have some really sad news," she said, and started crying. And then I started crying and I said, "Tell me, Nancy. Tell me."
And she said, "Karen passed away yesterday." She collapsed while she was out with Robert.
Karen. My friend Karen.
She was one of the must full-of-life women I've ever known. She traveled the world alone, went back to school for a degree in interior design, loved her husband and children passionately. Years ago, she was diagnosed with scleroderma, an evil autoimmune disease that has no cure. It basically causes your skin to tighten up, so that it looks like it is stretched tight over your face and limbs. Eventually, it can make your organs harden, too. It gave her excruciatingly painful lesions on her hands. It made her exhausted.
She had three children under age 4. She was 40.
Karen, I am sorry we didn't have that dinner. I will regret it for the rest of my life.
I can't believe you are gone.
I love you, sweetie.