Karen was one of the strongest, most beautiful, and most intelligent individuals you would ever know. She always did what she thought was right and would not let anyone convince her to do something she didn’t believe in. Her strength and beauty infected everyone she met with love. I never met a person who didn’t instantly like Karen. She would do or give anything for a friend or for anyone in need. In return her friends would do anything for her. She loved her pets as family members and treated every animal with love and compassion beyond compare. She has left a path of love that circles the world.
Karen led a very colorful life. One of the things I have always said is “it is all about the story”. What this means is in the end, all that matters are your memories and the stories you can share with those that you know and those that you meet. A television commercial stated the same thought in a different way with “If someone wrote a story about your life would anybody read it?”. Karen’s life, though too short, would fill many books, all best sellers. She had a passion for life and lived life to its absolute fullest.
Karen was proud of her strength. When we were remodeling our home she did all the tile work, sheetrock, and much of the wiring by herself. She purchased the tools herself, learned how to do the work herself, and did the work with strength and determination. She would buck hay for her horses, clean stalls, and attack blackberries bushes with intensity. She would start early and work until the job was done. She was passionate in her life and all that knew her understood this.
One of the memories I enjoy was while over at my friend Tony’s house I was admiring how his lawn looked. He told me it was because of his California trimmer lawn mower. I asked how it worked and he proceeded to tell me how hard it was to operate and mentioned “it’s not the type of mower your wife could use” then he paused and said “well your wife could but she’s not normal”. He paused again and said “that’s not what I meant but you know what I mean”. I laughed and said that Karen would consider that a compliment. Later that night when I told Karen she laughed and was very proud that Tony would say that. She was proud of her strength.
This strength and independence led her to do things that she enjoyed but were perhaps a little on the risky side. Every year Karen would take a week to drive somewhere by herself to explore and reflect on her life. She once drove around the great lakes, another time through the cascades, every year a different trip. She would also tow her horses to shows around the United States by herself. She once towed her horse Bonnie to Los Angeles just to have her bred. If I insisted she would take someone with her on the trip, many times her Dad. I always worried about Karen on these trips but I knew she would go no matter what I said. She was an excellent driver and could tow a trailer better than anyone I know.
On the fateful trip that took Karen’s life we talked every couple hours. I would call her to make sure she was doing alright and she would also call to give updates of her progress. We spent a lot of time on the phone during these calls. Every time she called I asked her to be careful and told her that I loved her. In the end Karen did everything right and was taken from us by a neglectful act of another driver, something no amount of planning or driving skill could avoid.
I am thankful for those phone calls, my last memories of Karen. I am thankful that we verbally expressed our love on each call. My last memories of Karen were of her doing something she enjoyed, she was happy and was having a good trip. She was living the way she chose to live. I can think of a million changes that could have avoided the tragedy but nothing could have foreseen what was ahead.