Posts tagged Cousin

My Aunt Karen

My first memory of Karen was in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She was dating my Uncle Steve and they would come to visit my mom and grandparents at the Lake. Karen was the first woman to ever teach me how to put on makeup. I loved sitting at her side watching her put on face while I touched her brushes and compacts. She seemed so glamorous to me. One of my most vivid memories was when my Uncle Steve showed me the wedding ring he was going to give her. I was only about 4 or 5, but I remember it well.

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Aunt Karen on her wedding day
Her sister Peggy on her right
My mom on her left

Karen was born in 1946 in Santa Cruz, California. She met and married my Uncle Steve and joined our crazy family. She fit right in. My Aunt and Uncle had one child. Kerri Rae. I thought she was just neato. I got to say at my Aunt’s house one summer to help take care of this little girl. Karen taught me a lot about the care of babies. I loved that summer. Spending time with my favorite Aunt and Uncle and my new cousin, what more could I ask for.

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Aunt Karen with Kerri

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Aunt Karen, next to my grandpa
with myself and my brother.
Camping on the Carson River

Through the years we tried to visit often. My family ended up in Grants Pass, Oregon and hers in Orleans, McKinleyville and finally Fieldbrook. Aunt Karen and I shared a special passion. We both believed in Santa Claus. Every Christmas she went with my brother and I to search for Rudolph in the sky. We always spotted him. I remember often pointing him out to her or her to I. I would look at her face and see tears of joy in her eyes. No matter what age we were, we always believed.

In my cousin’s junior year of high school, around 1995-96, Aunt Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. She prevailed. Around four years later, just one year shy of complete remission, she had a second bout. The second time was worse then the first. Her and her doctors tried everything. They decided on one last treatment, a three week immunization program. Week one was hard. Week two was the best week she had felt since this second bout of cancer started. She loved to use the term “we nipped it in the bud!” Then week three there was a downhill spiral and her body couldn’t take it anymore. She passed away May 16, 2006.

I think of Aunt Karen often and wonder if her life was full. Her daughter is doing well. I know she struggles and misses her mom. Kerri has a great job at a college up north of us in Washington. Karen would be proud very proud of her. My Uncle too, is well. He travels often, especially to visit Kerri. My heart breaks for them but they are strong.

Every year I decorate a luminary back in her honor for our cities Relay for Life event. I think she would have liked this. I miss her and I am better for having known her.

In Aunt Karen’s honor I will be sharing her recipes on my blog. She was also wonderful cook.


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