I can’t believe it’s been 7 months already. Some days it seems like it was just last week, and some days it still seems like Karen is just away, and will be home to visit soon. Unfortunately, that never lasts very long.
I continue to check Timehop every day. I have a streak that’s over 160 days. Some days make me laugh, and some days make me cry, but I’m so grateful to have the connection to Karen’s day, through the years. So much good advice! I know some of these are song lyrics. I wish I knew where she got some of the others. She had a book of quotes - I can add that to my list of things, to see if that's where they came from.
I went to another family gathering that Karen would have LOVED last month. When the announcement came out on Facebook last year that her cousin was planning to get married in Puerto Rico, Karen was very excited. She loved to travel, and she loved her family, so this was the best of both. Of course, we didn’t get tickets right away, since Karen hadn’t been able to make long term plans for years. Then I gave up on the idea of going. I thought it would be too hard to do it without her. In January, my sister asked me if I wanted to go, and we made our plans. It was a beautiful wedding, and I’m so glad I went. Of course, it wasn’t without tears. There were a few famous criers in the group (including the bride) and we all cried when she brought out the pictures of the family members they had lost, that were to be put on the tables at the reception. David, Karen, and Dean were all in our family pictures.
When I was packing for the trip, of course I needed some reading glasses. Susie had made us some sleeves to carry them in, and I picked up one of them, and there were glasses in it, so I stuck it in my bag. When I tried to use them, I couldn’t see a thing through them. I tried a couple of times, and eventually looked at the glasses more closely. They were Karen’s glasses, which I haven’t seen since August! And the sleeve they were in was a Christmas gift… so somehow, Karen found a way to go to the wedding!
Karen was in Gamma Sigma Sigma at Drexel. It’s a service sorority, and she loved the girls, and the activities. They recently held a fundraiser for Camp Sunrise at Karen’s favorite taco place in Philadelphia. It makes me so happy that they have kept Karen’s memory alive, and that they chose to raise money for camp, which was very important to her. They also had a ceremony that evening where they remembered Karen with balloons. Thank you so much for the pictures, Alyse!
And speaking of Camp Sunrise, last weekend was the Sunrise/Sunsibs reunion. Susie and Matt wanted to go, so we went. There were a lot of familiar faces from Facebook, but that’s only one-way, so they don’t necessarily know me, which is just fine. The ones I did know to talk to all gave me big hugs and told me how much they miss Karen. It was harder than I expected at first, but watching everybody have a great time connecting with friends and roller skating made it better. And they had a taco bar for lunch, which I will assume was in Karen’s honor (even though nobody said that… I know the person who organized the food was one of her good friends.)
I've tried to take some of the pictures that Karen would have taken, on the days when it's just beautiful outside. She would have done it better! Here are my attempts, along with a paper I found in Karen's room. I wish I knew the story behind it!
As I mentioned before, we’ve done a little bit of research into making Karen’s request a reality, regarding travel for oncology patients. It turns out that there are a lot of organizations that already do similar things. I have added links to them to the Resources section, under Travel Resources.
I’m Karen. I was originally diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in August 2004 when I was 10 years old. When I was working on my college and scholarship application essays two years ago, I wrote about my journey. Although it was a rough few years, it became such an influential part of my life that I can’t, and wouldn’t want to, imagine my life without having had cancer. I called it the worst best thing that ever happened to me.