Today would have been my Aunt Karen's 40th birthday, yet the Lord had other plans. He called her home to be with him in October of 2007. I miss her a great deal, but instead of mourning her loss I am thankful for the years I had with her and everything she taught me.
I believe that no matter how many Aunts or Uncles we have there is always one in particular that we are closest to, that is what Aunt Karen was to me. She lived three streets over from us and I spent a great deal of time at her house as a young girl. I have many wonderful memories of spending the afternoon at Aunt Karen and Uncle Darren's house, and as I grow older I cherish these memories all the more.
For my tenth birthday she gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, she taught me how to cross-stitch. Though it may seem like a simple thing, teaching someone a skill is a wonderful gift. She actually taught me in the car as we drove down to a tea room for my party. Since then we always went together to pick patterns, thread etc. She showed me everything I needed to know about cross-stitch and helped me master skills that I still use for every project.
One of the other great memories I have of her is the time she came to get me at 4AM the day after Thanksgiving to go to the fabric store, but we stopped at Krispy Kreme for doughnuts first!
I remember how I thought I would go crazy if I heard her say "patience is a virtue" to me one more time. I remember her amazing sewing room, her yummy kitchen, and her sweet tooth. We joke that she left it to me in her will.
Most of all I remember how she had a special name for each of us. I was "honey" my sisters were "precious" and "sweetie".
The last time I saw her was the day she died. After two and a half years of fighting cancer, she lay on her bed in the hospital slowly slipping away. As I walked through to say goodbye I held her hand and said "I love you Aunt Karen, thank you for everything you taught me." She replied as she always did "I love you too, Honey". Just as we had ended every phone conversation, we ended our last conversation.
After more than three years I still remember her like she was here yesterday, and I wish she had been. I wish she was here to me help pick out patterns, or a new chocolate filled recipe. I wish she was here to take the kids swimming and to Krispy Kreme. I wish I could hear her say "I love you Honey" and "patience is a virtue" just one more time.
I love you Aunt Karen, Happy Birthday!