As we gather here today we do so with great sorrow. Each and every one of us, to some extent were touched by Karagen and her life. I am amazed how one little girl, living only 9 years could reach our hearts in such a powerful way. She would want us to cry, because tears cleanse our pain. She would want us to be happy even in her death because she is free! She would want us to establish stronger family bonds, to love completely. To see beauty in the faces and people around us, to always look beyond to the heart, to breathe deeply and enjoy life with every fiber of our beings, she would want us to live!In the coming days we may feel robbed and perhaps already many of us do. We may feel like her little life was torn or stolen from us. Let me assure your broken heart, she has not been stolen! Stealing would suggest that some unknown, cruel person came and took her away from us while we were unaware. This is not the case! We know who came and took Karagen, tenderly and lovingly took her to Him. Jesus came and with aching tenderness took her home! He took her to be with Him, so He could cherish her completely and lavish her with love endlessly. Yet, even while He did so, I believe His heart ached for us, knowing how losing her would pierce our hearts. He did what was best for her yet grieves with us through our loss. He rejoices that his little girl is literally His! She is not in some far away place, she is with Jesus! We are only separated by time. She is lost, but she is found! If I had to lose her to anyone, there is no one I’d rather lose her to than Jesus!
Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly her soul shall rest.
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly her soul shall rest.
Karagen taught me so many things as a mother. When I think of her short life I think of firsts. She was my first full term pregnancy, my first baby, my first girl. She was the first person I never asked to love me, I never had to woo her or work hard in any way to receiver her love. I remember her first smile, the first time she rolled over, her first tooth, her first steps, her first word, which was “tickle, tickle”. She was my first baby to potty train, I remember her first day of school, the first time she rode her bike, the first time she played Amazing Grace on the piano here in this church. So many firsts with Karagen! I thought I would be the first one to make it to heaven, but she beat me to it, she got to go first!She made me a mommy. She made Jonathan a daddy. She made our parents grandparents. She made our sibling aunts and uncles. In so many ways, she has helped shape me into the woman I am today. She made friends easily, she made people come out of their shells and loved her. She showed all of us what unprejudiced love looked like. She loved people with abandon and blindness. When she looked at them she didn’t see their faults and failings she just saw them! She made messes, but she helped clean them up. She was my right hand woman and helped me without being asked. She was a mother hen and loved her siblings greatly. She always felt responsible for them, in fact her last conversation with Emmaus was over what she ate at school, she wanted Emmaus to eat healthy. She was the little girl who always had a sparkle in her eyes, who always gave and shared and who always noticed. She was one of the six little people who kept my days full to overflowing with joy and happiness.
I have not balked at taking care of her these last 6 and ½ months. Taking care of her was a privilege and an honor. She told me several times in the last 3 weeks that I was the best nurse and told me all the time that I was the best mommy. Through the tears and her intense pain she still said thank you. She suffered patiently and quietly. When her family or nurses spoke to her or were near, in spite of her pain she would muster a smile. She cared about people, her hospice nurse was amazed at the details Karagen remembered about her.
If there was a word that described Karagen it would be caring. So many times Jonathan and I saw her living her name! I often thought that we should have spelled her name C-A-R-E A-G-A-I-N, because that’s what she did, she cared again and again, over and over. How she gave, and cared and loved was an inspiration and spoke to me as a tender example of just how much one can care, and show it. When someone loves as freely and willingly as Karagen and tells us they care it is easy to believe. I marveled so many times at how she reached out to people and how she touched them and wished I had the courage to love like that.
There's a whole in my heart that burns and aches. Her flavor, her sparkle, her light is forever extinguished. Every time I look at one of our children I see her. When I look at Jonathan I see her. When I look at her chair, the room she was in, her clothes, I see her. When I look out at our back yard, I see her playing there. All those glimpses of her, everything leads me to thoughts and memories of her. All those millions of times I have gazed at her these last nine years and have been filled with love and joy, she took my breath away. She was so much a part of all of us. There's a face missing at the table, a warmth missing from our home. Our family will always be one too small. Oh the joy when you add another child to a family, the despair when one is taken away.In the coming days, months and years we will all feel an ache. We will feel the loss and the hurt. We must find a way to focus not on our loss but her gain! She is safe with Jesus, she will never hunger or thirst or feel any kind of pain. We must not pine and whine. We must not focus on all the times we didn’t get with her, but on all the times we had with her. If we run through the list of all the positives that she is missing we are in grave error! We are the ones who are missing out. Karagen is blissfully happy, she has seen the face of God! Remember all the negative things she is missing, she is missing all the pain and disappointments of this life, the aching and tears, she will never have to experience again! She is in the very presence of all that is good and loving. She is basking in the fragrance and feel of Jesus, of heaven. She is hugging her loved ones, she has cuddled with Jesus, she is blessed, she is bliss! So if you find yourself thinking, “poor Karagen”, like I have, stop yourself and list all that she has gained! She is not poor, She is Home, she is Free!
Karagen, heaven is not just a little sweeter, it's brighter and more beautiful. I have no idea what it really looks like or feels like or smells like. But you gave me gave us a little bit of heaven on earth. Because I know you, and what you brought to us, heaven is not just a place anymore, it's a home. It's not just a destination, it's a hope, it's not just a goal, it's a reunion. I will forever miss you, I will see you everywhere, always. I love you all the numbers in the world plus one! I love you the mostest with the hostest! Thank you for all that you gave me as my daughter. You loved me completely and understood me. You lit up my heart and life with your own special unique light! I promise you that I will love just as deeply if not deeper, even though I know how much it can hurt to do so. I promise to continue to be the best mother and to hug and kiss all your brothers and sisters more. I promise that even though I feel like a piece of my heart has been torn out I will still live to love. I promise we will find a way to move forward, even if it is like we have had a valued limb amputated and we will spend the rest of our lives trying to live without it. I promise to smile and laugh, to dance and sing. I promise to love you forever and to cherish your memory. You gave us so much and we promise to find a way to give and love like you did.
You will be forever in our hearts, forever safe in Jesus arms!