"It’s all good"

Thank you all for your kind comments, emails, texts and Facebook messages over the last several days. Having this community to lean on for support has been invaluable to me.

Picking up the phone or making plans to see a friend in person is not always an option during difficult times like these. It’s very comforting to read a thoughtful email or a kind comment from you. It truly means so much to me and softens this sad experience a bit.

I so wish that I had better news about my sister-in-law’s illness, but I don’t. Karen, passed away peacefully and quietly at her home a few days ago.

 Pere Lachaise cimetiere in Paris, taken in 2010.

Please let me tell you about her.

She was a firefighter for 29 years and steadily moved up the ranks to Battalion Chief, an achievement in itself but even more so as a woman in such a male-dominated profession. Karen had just taken over a very large territory when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011.

She and her husband, also a firefighter, were married for 23 years. They have four children. She always, always put her family first. Her children were given many opportunities to explore their creative sides. Music, drama and art are themes that have played throughout the children’s lives.

She was very involved in her kids’ school activities and rarely turned down a chance to lend a hand and get involved with their education. She always made it her mission to protect, defend and be a cheerleader for her kids.

Karen had a strong character, was a trustworthy person and was quick to laugh. She always had a story to tell. Her mother told me Karen ‘never met a stranger’ and it was true. She welcomed me into the family when I was dating my husband, and always made me feel comfortable at family gatherings.

During Karen’s illness, she somehow managed to remain positive, hopeful, determined and even cheery. Her motto throughout her fight was “It’s all good”. She was unwavering in her desire to live.

She never declined an invitation to lunch, to the movies, or a party. She embraced life and lived it fully, right up until the time that she could no longer leave the house.

Out for lunch in Napa Valley, November, 2012.

If you asked her on any given day how she felt, she would break out her big smile and say, “Great!” Sometimes I believed her and other times I sensed she was putting on a brave face for us; always one to put others before herself.

Karen’s favorite color was purple, so the blog will be purple for a few days in her honor.

Karen
1965-2013

Even though she is gone from us physically, I can still sense her spirit and feel the warmth of her hand as I held it just a few days ago. Because of Karen, I aspire to be as brave, positive and determined to live life fully as she did.

“It’s all good”
XO,
Adrienne

56 Comments

  1. January 26, 2013 / 10:11 am

    There aren’t many words I can image to console you over something as sad as this. Karen was and still is a beautiful light and it seems like she shined her brightness on everyone she came in contact with! I admire your positive attitude.

    -Nico

    www.SatinAndSalt.com

  2. January 26, 2013 / 10:19 am

    What a nice tribute to Karen. What a wonderful person. I lost my dad to brain cancer, and I feel for your family so much. I also would like to add that purple actually suits this blog, and looks very nice.

  3. January 26, 2013 / 10:20 am

    Sending you & your family all my love .. I believe losing someone is the hardest thing to go through in life. We manage to get through it but can never understand it. I love the Motto. I think it’s something we all should adapt. Today I will wear purple in her honor. Will be thinking of you, Until Next Time, Shauna {www.shaunawyrick.com}

  4. January 26, 2013 / 10:24 am

    I’m so very sorry to hear the sad news. You’ve written a beautiful tribute to Karen and I’m sure (she sounds like it) she would have loved it. Thinking of you and your family and sending you all my love from London xo

  5. January 26, 2013 / 10:28 am

    What a beautiful, loving tribute to your wonderful sister-in-law Adrienne. She was such a success in her career, her family life, being a mom and a good friend. It touched me when you said she welcomed you into the family when you started dating your husband. As a fellow step-mom, who moved into a new town to marry my husband, I can only imagine how much her kindness and warmth meant to you. I love the photo of the 4 of you together. Thank you for sharing her story. I will continue to pray for your family during this time of sadness. I know you and your husband will be of great comfort to her family as well as to each other.
    Take good care,
    xx, Heather

  6. January 26, 2013 / 10:50 am

    Adrienne…still thinking about all of you. This was a wonderful tribute you wrote in honor of Karen. She sounds like she was very spunky and fun…not to mention brave. xo

  7. January 26, 2013 / 11:32 am

    Adrienne,
    So sad to hear this. You have written such a nice post honoring her. She sounds like a beautiful person.

    Thinking of you all.

    xo
    Kim

  8. January 26, 2013 / 11:41 am

    What a beautiful tribute to her! It has made me think on the days that I am not feeling all that great that I respond with the same attitude…I’m doing great! 🙂

    Much love to you and your family.

    xo Cat

  9. January 26, 2013 / 12:10 pm

    I am so very sorry. I can hear the bagpipes playing now…as I have heard at many a firefighters funeral. May she rest in peace.

  10. January 26, 2013 / 12:32 pm

    Thinking of you, A.
    xxx

  11. January 26, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    A beautiful heartfelt tribute. I’m sorry for your loss.
    xx

  12. January 26, 2013 / 12:47 pm

    I have lost two good friends in the last two years to brain cancer and I know there is nothing to say to make this easier. Your tribute will bless her children so much. I am so sorry your family is walking through this and so glad that the family has you and your family to lean on right now. You will be in my prayers.

  13. January 26, 2013 / 12:49 pm

    OMG! How sad for you and your family. But what a lovely tribute. Sending prayers from London xx

  14. January 26, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    I think what any of us can hope for is to have a life worthy of such beautiful words. She sounds like she was a beyond amazing woman. I am sorry for your loss and heartache in this time.

  15. January 26, 2013 / 2:28 pm

    Your words…so beautiful and straight from your heart. I feel it. I am praying for God’s comfort and peace to embrace you and your family…Psalm 34:18 says “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted..”

  16. January 26, 2013 / 3:06 pm

    What a beautiful and loving tribute to Karen – she sounds like an amazing person, wonderful wife, mother, daughter, and sister in law. Her attitude in the face of her terminal illness is truly inspiring, and something she left as a legacy.
    Much love to your family, as you go through this difficult period. xoxo

  17. January 26, 2013 / 3:09 pm

    Adrienne,

    What a wonderful tribute to Karen! (you are such a good writer)

    She sounded like an amazing woman. I know you mentioned to me a few times that she remained positive through it all. That would not be an easy thing to do for most people.

    A very nice photo of the four of you, it’s hard to believe that was taken only months ago.

    I’m so sorry about your loss…loving thoughts are being sent your way.

    Linda
    xo

  18. January 26, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    What a moving tribute Adrienne. Thank you.

  19. January 26, 2013 / 3:39 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. How fortunate all of you are to have had this amazing woman in your family– I wish you all peace as you sit with grief right now, and peace as the good memories come whenever you think of her. <3

  20. January 26, 2013 / 3:56 pm

    What a beautiful tribute! It’s so obvious that bravery was just the core of her soul! You have lots of close friends and ‘families’ looking out and praying for you all- Firefighters, and Online and your own extended family. Hugs to you all.

  21. January 26, 2013 / 4:26 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of Karen, to you and to all her family. Words fail me, but you will be in my thoughts in the coming days. This is a wonderful tribute to her.

  22. January 26, 2013 / 4:42 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful person who will be missed by many.

  23. January 26, 2013 / 4:48 pm

    Hello Adrianne

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Karen sounded like a very special woman, one I would have liked to know. May time heal the pain an may her memory always enfold you.

    Helenxx

  24. January 26, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    Adrienne, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss of such a positive and strong woman. Thank you for sharing her with us today. She obvious was a woman of strong determination and character.

  25. January 26, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute – she sounds like a pretty amazing woman! My deepest condolences your family! xxoo

  26. January 26, 2013 / 6:34 pm

    My deepest sympathy for your family. Your love and respect for Karen is very apparent. Sending prayers your way.

  27. January 26, 2013 / 7:03 pm

    My thoughts and prayers to Karen and her family. She obviously was a strong character. May she rest in peace.
    Anne Touraine (Playing with Scarves)

  28. January 26, 2013 / 7:09 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Karen sounds like a wonderful person and that she will be dearly missed. May she rest in peace.

  29. January 26, 2013 / 11:54 pm

    Karen sounds like a remarkable woman. I’m sure she will be sorely missed. Please accept my deepest condolences. So sorry.

  30. January 27, 2013 / 3:48 am

    Adrienne,
    It sounds as though your sister in law was an amazing woman. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Having lost my husband a year and a half ago to a rare brain disorder, I know that this has not been an easy road for her family.
    Stay strong my friend.

  31. January 27, 2013 / 4:09 am

    Wonderful and moving tribute, Adrienne. I am very sorry for the loss and cannot imagine what it means for Karen’s family to be without her.
    I lost a friend to brain cancer who fought hard until she had to give up.

    Much love from Germany,
    Annette

  32. January 27, 2013 / 4:53 am

    What a lovely tribute. So sorry for the loss of your wonderful sister-in-law.

  33. January 27, 2013 / 5:10 am

    My condolences to your family on your very sad loss.

  34. January 27, 2013 / 7:13 am

    Adrienne wonderfully written … beautiful tribute to Karen. The love, respect, admiration and loss you are feeling for Karen comes through in each word. Sending you and your family hugs and blessings..xo C. (HHL)

  35. January 27, 2013 / 8:56 am

    She sounds like a wonderful person and a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing a bit of her life with us. All my sympathy to you and her family. xo

  36. January 27, 2013 / 8:57 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a very special person. What grace she had.

  37. January 27, 2013 / 9:25 am

    Adrienne,

    My heart aches for you and your family. This is so sad.. Sending good thoughts your way. Take care..

    leslie

  38. January 27, 2013 / 9:52 am

    Adrienne,
    I’m so sorry for your family’s great loss. Your tribute to your sister-in-law was lovely. Thank you for sharing with us. Your title, “It’s all good.” struck a note with me. After surviving cancer, that’s what my sister always says about aging and birthdays. My prayers will be with you.

  39. January 27, 2013 / 4:32 pm

    Adrienne,

    Beautiful words for a woman that truly seemed to enjoy the time she had here. I am sorry for your loss, and for what this must feel like for Bill. I am left wondering if Karen is now somewhere sacred with her mother now.

    ~Julie

  40. January 28, 2013 / 5:26 am

    Adrienne, I am so sorry for your and your family’s sad loss. She sounds like a lovely, inspiring woman.

  41. January 28, 2013 / 9:55 am

    A lovelier tribute I’ve never read, Adrienne. Straight from the heart and welcome on the heels of a tribulation-filled week… Your family’s loss; a co-worker who lost his firstborn child during birth; a friend who’s missing in Houston, TX; another dear friend who lost her former spouse in a tragic accident in Germany… Sending a gentle and healing love to all who are experiencing these painful transitions.

    “There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears. Get over your hill and see what you find there. With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.” — Mumford & Sons, “After the Storm”

  42. January 28, 2013 / 10:01 am

    I am so sorry for reading this. RIP. I wish lot of strenght to her family!

  43. January 28, 2013 / 11:23 pm

    That was a lovely and loving tribute Adrienne. Really beautiful. Sending lots of love your way xx

  44. January 29, 2013 / 8:23 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Karen sounds like a wonderful woman.

  45. January 30, 2013 / 5:05 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Karen lived a wonderful, meaningful life and I am sure she will always be remembered by everyone who knew her. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours. hugs!

  46. January 30, 2013 / 8:31 am

    My condolences to your family over the passing of Karen. What a wonderful and moving tribute you wrote to her life and character. I am thinking of you! XO, Jill

  47. January 30, 2013 / 12:31 pm

    How open-hearted you are, Adrienne, to write such a lovely tribute to your sister-in-law. You remind us to live, really live, and really love.

  48. January 30, 2013 / 6:40 pm

    I know there are no words that can get you through this sad time without the pain her loss brings to you and your family. Please know that I am thinking of you. xox

  49. January 31, 2013 / 3:20 pm

    A warm hug from Brazil to you all.

  50. February 4, 2013 / 5:36 am

    I’m ever so late as usual. My lovely. I am so sorry to hear this very sad news. I have left a comment on the previous post. Thinking of you.xxx

  51. March 11, 2013 / 3:58 am

    “Mes condolences” to you and your family, she sounds like she was an incredibly positive influence to those lucky enough to love and be loved by her.

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