I’ve mentioned before that we have a big family. At least, on my dad’s side. On my mom’s side, there’s no one left but my mom in her immediate family. My grandparents are gone, my one uncle is gone, and I’ve got no cousins. I know my mom feels this deeply, this loss, and I know her own children and grandchildren mean so much to her as we are her only family other than her extended family who live across the country.
My father’s side of the family, however, is big. My grandparents had 6 kids. They had 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, and 4 children. (21 grandchildren) Then those grandchildren have 14 great-grandchildren with 1 more on the way. That’s a lot of family. Still, when one member of our family dies, we feel the loss. Just because there are a lot of us doesn’t mean that when someone is gone they won’t be missed.
We felt the loss 3 years ago when Grandad died, and we feel it again now, after my Aunt Karen died on Thursday.
Karen was the second of the two Terich girls. Two girls in a family with four rowdy brothers. She was the 4th born of the 6 children. Granny has told some funny stories of when Stephany, the older of the two sisters, was punished for misbehaving, only to find Karen punishing herself the same way because she wanted to do the same things her sister did.
One time Stephany had disappeared. Apparently, she had followed her older brother and a friend to the park, but they didn’t realize it, and Granny didn’t realize it either. She was sick with worry when she couldn’t find her. Once they figured out she had followed the boys and was only paces behind them, Granny was so frustrated she said, “What do I have to do, tie you to a chair?” Karen apparently smiled and looked at her mother and said, “Tie me to the chair, mommy!”
I obviously didn’t know Karen when she was young, but I know stories I’ve heard, and I’ve seen photos like the one above. What I’ve heard is she was smart, funny, and kind. What I see is that she was lovely. What I heard growing up was that I resembled her. I’m not sure how true that is, but I can see it in my daughter now, so I guess there must be something to it. And I feel pretty lucky to be compared to someone like Karen.
I did know Karen when she was an adult, obviously. I always knew her as a kind, caring person. She was funny, and she always had time to have a conversation with me, even when I was young and surely not very interesting. She and her husband Rocky got to know my husband Wayne and always asked about my kids. I didn’t always get to the family gatherings, because of college or work or other circumstances, but whenever I was able to make it out to see Granny, Karen almost always would stop by to say hi and visit, too. I always loved that.
Karen fought cancer not once, but twice.
She was brave.
She was selfless.
She was always doing things for others and opening her home to others.
She had a wicked sense of humor and a great laugh.
She loved QVC.
She raised 3 boys into 3 responsible, kind men.
She had style.
She had a great heart.
She had a strong faith.
In the end, she was not afraid.
Karen was loved by many people and she will be missed by many people, including me.