Funny how having a friend die at the age of 48 has made me not mind at all the fact that I'll be turning fifty this year. It seemed a fearsome thing only a few months ago. Now? Something to be thankful for.
Karen didn't even quite make it to her 49th birthday - just a few weeks short of it, in fact. This is something that matters, since birthdays have always been a big deal to me, a chance for everyone to say "gee, we're awfully glad you are in the world with us."
Her memorial service last weekend was exactly that. People gathered from all over the country to share their memories of her, and to tell each other why we were glad she'd been in the world. She wasn't perfect; I didn't share any of my (few) negative memories of her (of course I do have some - and I cherish her all the more for being human and fallible). Nor did I share all of my positive memories - and I have a great many of those. I loved listening to others' stories about her. It was nice to hear about periods in her life in which I did not know her at all.
I like to think of the memorial service as having been the 49th birthday party she didn't get to have. She was one of the kindest people I ever knew, and I'll bet that her ability to put herself in someone else's shoes was one of the reasons she was not only a good dancer but a very effective dance therapist. I hope she was able to attend the party and see just how much we all appreciated her.