It's been a hard couple of days going through all the emotions and stages of grief of losing such a beautiful soul. Sad, hurt, angry, grateful, trusting God's will...not understanding how the hurt AND pain can be apart of His plan for my and my family's lives. Losing Aunt Karen is especially hard, not being able to grieve properly with those you are closest to and who love her just as dearly is much harder. COVID has taken more than just a beautiful person from this world, it has taken away our need to grieve together, find closure together, and also celebrate her life and give her the memorial service someone like her deserves - TOGETHER. So, in many ways this is MY way to celebrate her memory.
My Aunt Karen was a devoted daughter, a superb sister, adoring aunt, and faithful friend. She lived a solitary life, but she was never alone. That one fact has brought me the most grief throughout this entire ordeal. That in her last days the loved ones who she poured every ounce of love and happiness she had into, were not able to return the favor and be by her side as she crossed over to the other side. That this beloved person who was always there for me from day one...I (We) was not able to be there for her. If you do not know, when my mom found out she was pregnant with me...she and my dad went to my Aunt Karen first. They were unmarried, my mother was still in high school, and dad didn't have a dollar to his name. SHE told them that day that there would be no talk of anything less than having that baby and she would be there to support and help raise me in every way possible. And she never wavered in that vow. She was a second mom to me. She was there for every birthday and life event. Every graduation event, help plan my wedding, was present at every bridal and baby shower, and every birth of each of my babies. She was in the delivery room with my mom when Rex was born. She was a most devoted mother and grandmother to her "grands" even though she never carried a baby in her womb. She was the epitome of what every aunt should espouse to be: supportive in every way, a shoulder to cry on in time of need, and giver of joyous laughter during the best of times.
These are the things that have weighed so heavily on my heart this last week. I know for a fact that she had met the love of her life when she was younger, but God took them on separate paths...and she was so devoted to her family here at home that she gave up that life of wedded bliss. I honestly can't say that I could have made that choice for myself...but that's the type of person she was...so selfless and so giving of her love of her family. She took the most joy in her "kids" and she was never, ever lacking with deep friendships that spanned years and decades. The only two consolations I have in her passing that is 1. I KNOW with certainty that she entered heaven's gates and was united with her Savior and 2. She was met at heaven's gate by her Mother and Daddy, her brother and sister Danny and Dena, and all the other family and friends that went before her. I told my dear Mother-in-love just a few days ago that at one point during a late night prayer for her healing I had a touch of humor from the Lord...That I wasn't so sure God and Mommalo knew what was good for the rest of this world if He was to call her home and that the rest of us would be left to handle the 3 Miles Brothers by ourselves on this earth. But here we are in the exact position left to love and care for our Daddys (Randy, Sammy, and Joey) without them to guide us like they always had.
And lastly, her passing has brought a new hurt that We had not had to experience before, the pain and sorrow of my children as we told them the news. The girls have got older...and with age comes awareness. Karabella is old enough now that this is a deep hurt for her. Evy Grace is struggling with sadness and not understanding her being gone forever. And Rex, in his toddler innocence- as he has seen me looking at pictures of her or listening to videos of her voice, still says to me with hopeful eyes "We go to Nonnie Kks?" NONNIE KK...the name she personally picked to be called by her "grandkids" I remember being pregnant with Karabella and asking her if she would come up with her "grandparent name". I asked her if she would be ok with that because I felt like she was like a second mom, and my kids would be getting a bonus grandparent. And like all of her roles in our lives...she excelled in that roll of Nonnie KK too. She loved to spend time with her "grands" as much as her "kids". I am so blessed that in early November of last year she was able to watch Rex for me one day for a doctor's appointment. After the girls got out of school I picked them up and took them over there as well and we all just enjoyed her company and she us. She and I were talking and she told me how much enjoyed watching Rex that day and was amazed and loved how all three of my kids were so different in personality. She went on and explained how she saw each of their differences and similarities. I LOVED how she talked about how much Rex reminded her of my Daddy, how Evy was the most like her (loved chocolate and to snuggle), and how she could still see glimpses of her Mother (Kara's Mommalo) and Father /Pop in Karabella who they had watched/babysat for her first year. It truly will be one of those defining memories that I take with me for the rest of my days. In many ways I can see how God, in His all- knowing wisdom, gave us that gift of time together and conversation that day.
And so now, as we her family go on in the next few days to grieve her loss and to cherish and commemorate her life, please continue to lift us up in your prayers. Losing a parent (loved one) to old age or disease...its hard and the loss hurts. BUT losing a loved one in their prime when they still had so much life to live and love to give out...it cuts deeply...at least that is how I feel about this loss of my Beloved Aunt Karen.
How do you move past the loss of someone like that. Someone that you talked to at least 2-3s a week. Someone who was there through everything. Someone who had just reached her prime of almost full retirement, who had just settled everything on her parents estate and the clean up of a hurricane's destruction, who was looking forward to the future of more time with her "kids and grands" and friends. Someone who by means was taken from us far too soon. The only way I know is to grieve her loss, celebrate her memory, and trust God to heal and carry our broken hearts. Until we meet again...