Before we get into this installment of the Celebration of life for Karyn (which started way back here, if you need to be caught up), let me say a massive “thank you” and Jamaican “Big up” to everyone who showed up, ponied up and and helped make this year’s fundraiser for the National Brain Tumor Society an uplifting success. From all who traveled to be there, to Alyssa who helped get team shirts made, to everyone who donated, walked, laughed, cried and cheered, it was a wonderful group effort.
Our team was again the top fundraising team (‘cough’ by-a-lot ‘cough’) and had the privilege of honoring Karyn in some pretty wonderful ways (more on that later — promise). Our hearts were full, even when our eyes were wet. Special thanks to Jenifer Prentiss for putting on a great event.
Now, if we may go back a couple months to the Celebration for Karyn, I want to share the speech that my dear cousin Lisa Replogle gave on the day. Lisa and her daughter are a couple of the people who traveled for the Celebration and for the Brain Tumor Society walk (Southwest Airlines loooooves her). Grab a glass of wine and read what she said to an overflowing crowd on that warm July day:
First – I want to say how amazing Karyn’s Parents, Mary and Jack, have been. The support they gave to Karyn, Todd, Lucia and Beckett went beyond the titles of their relationships.
Second – to the Montezuma Drive neighbors. You have proven the true meaning of the phrase “It takes a Village.” From meals, to wine, to whiffle ball games…I didn’t think this type of neighborhood actually existed in the world today. Thank you for your love and support of my family.
Before Karyn’s diagnosis, when I visited, we would stay up late drinking wine and talking of my divorce. In her support of me, Karyn brought another friend, Alyssa, into my life. Karyn was not familiar with what I was going through as the love she and Todd shared was solid. But Karyn knew that Alyssa and I could help and support each other in a way Karyn could not.
After Karyn’s diagnosis we drank a lot of wine when I visited (well…sometimes that was just me…but in true solidarity I drank for her too). Last July we rented a house in McMinnville, Oregon and with Todd, Lucia, Beckett, Ziggy and my daughter Jules, we spent a week wine tasting and just being a family. During visits we frequently talked of my dating escapades (which frequently called for more wine). Even during my visit at the end of May…. I shared with Karyn a picture of my latest “Match” and we grimaced together.
Each of us here knew Karyn in their own unique relationship. After her diagnosis and first surgery I ‘snail mailed’ a card. We started exchanging cards…in today’s world of email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – who doesn’t love a physical card in the mail? Words penned in ink and words unspoken which say, “I like you enough to pick out a card, find a stamp and go to the post office.” I don’t remember that first card; but it started something crazy. A weekly challenge to find a new card…one which I hoped would invoke a smile or even a snicker. One of my favorite cards said “Let’s start a book club…and by book club I mean drink wine.” Come to think of it…many of the cards I sent involved some reference to alcohol.
A year ago, Karyn sent me this card:
On the inside it read:
“I’m still alive. You?”
And then Karyn wrote, with her typical sense of humor, “One has to laugh at one’s ridiculous circumstances occasionally. Love you! Karyn”
I wish today that this card still held true. I take comfort that Karyn lived more fully than most of us ever will. She and Todd shared an incredible love for each other and through their love they have two amazing kids. Watching Todd and Karyn support each other through this process gives me hope that ‘true love’ can be found. Karyn may no longer be physically here but she will live on in memories unique to all of us but common in her inspiration, courage, charm, and wit.
I will miss her.