Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Celebrating a Life Lived Well - Karlena Marie Cahalan

How is it possible sweet friend that we said goodbye to you a year ago today?
I wrote this post last year when I heard the news. I knew some day I would get that call but even today it is still a shock to me that you weren't here to meet our girl in December.

I know that Karlena wouldn't want today to be one of sadness. She has been praising Jesus in person for a year now! But I think that days like today - those "milestones" if you will - are just a reminder once again of what is missing.

This was taken on one of the Women of Faith weekends that we attended in Denver. She had just started using a cane. It was a big deal for her to give in that she needed some assistance. But she was the same person I had known - using a cane or a wheelchair didn't change that. I know that some people had a hard time with her deteriorating condition - but I just saw her light.

How do you live well when you know that "living" will become harder and harder? How do you wake up every morning and smile that you have been given another day to honor God?

Karlena found the secret to those questions. She never complained that it "wasn't fair"....even though it wasn't. When she was really sick last June and we almost lost her but she pulled through she said "God must have had something more planned for me because he let me live."

And for the next 3 months after that time she continued to be a light and a strength to those around her. Her church family adored her, her neighbors were inspired by her smile and positive attitude. She loved hard and well each and every day.

She had a special place in her heart for Elijah. She was SO excited to hold him. We thought that maybe he would be our last and when we were surprised to find out I was pregnant again Karlena was probably more excited than I was.

When I went to see her after her hospital stay that June I still didn't know what we were having. I remember the morning that I had to leave and go say goodbye to her. She was too weak to travel with us to the airport and so we had to say our goodbyes at the house. She hugged me hard and said "It's a girl - I know it's a girl."

And she was right. It was such an honor to tell her that we were naming our girl after her. That even though someday she would be gone, her namesake, her legacy could live on. I just didn't think we would be facing that day so quickly after that news was shared.

Oh friend how I miss you....I praise God for the times we had to spend together. For the e-mails and encouragement we gave one another. For every conversation and those moments when I was able to be of help to you. It was always a blessing to spend time with you and you are missed more than I can express. But I celebrate you today - a life lived well friend.

Well done good and faithful servant. Well done.

I am sharing the link to the tribute I was honored to share at Karlena's Celebration of Life service.  If you don't know my sweet friend I invite you to read it and be encouraged by the legacy that remains today.

I love you friend....always. Thank you for loving me and giving me courage to be a woman of faith.

1 comment:

Kami said...

Praying that God fills that void in your heart and loves you beyond what you can imagine.

Love you, friend!

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