Last Friday I learned my friend Karmen died.
I was on the telephone with my daughter when my husband handed me a belated Christmas card. Glancing at the last name in the return address, I thought, “Oh good. I was wondering why I hadn’t heard from her before Christmas.”
But it was signed Josh & Mike. Confused, I read the note on the opposite side of the card.
“Sorry for the late card. Wanted to let you know we lost Karmen to brain cancer on August 17. She had a 3-month battle. Mike”
I tried to talk to my daughter but instead, handed the phone to my husband. A numb, hollow feeling crept up on me, leaving me feeling dazed & empty.
Karmen and I met in high school. We were both new to the area. I was a senior, she a junior. She was a beautiful girl with long brunette hair, sparkly eyes , a quick wit and warm smile. She was so much fun to be around.
After high school we went separate ways and lost touch with each other. We’d both lived in the Puget Sound area but didn’t realize it until many years later when we reconnected after the death of a former classmate. By then, I lived on the east side of the state while she remained on the west. What a thrill it was to learn we had both become believers. We had several phone conversations but mostly kept in contact through annual Christmas cards. She said she was married to a wonderful Christian man and had a son who she was very proud of. Her son, Josh, was starting on an adventure of schooling and serving the Lord. Karmen was so excited for him.
When I was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease in 2008, Karmen sent me a lovely card filled with words of encouragement and a beautiful prayer. She prayed for my healing and looked forward to seeing how God would work. I knew she continued to pray for me and her hope was contagious. I was touched.
With her sudden death, I feel bereft.
I wish I’d known she was ill. I would have prayed for her. I wish we’d been able to meet together before she was ill. We could have deepened our friendship. Yet, I wonder, maybe there are those friendships that are like mine and Karmen’s. We were important to each other. We supported and cared for one another. Maybe it really was enough.
At least, enough for now.
One day, we will have all the time we need to deepen that friendship.
We’ll laugh together, sing together and worship Jesus together. Until then I pray for Mike and Josh.
Please Lord, comfort them in the loss of wife and mother. Give them strength, hope and Your peace that passes understanding.
I am thankful for Karmen, for the joy she brought to my life. I’ll miss her quirky sense of humor, her laugh, her infectious love for the Lord. I’ll miss her.
I’m saving up a bear hug. Get ready, Karmen!
Photography by Kayley