Friday, August 12, 2005

A few words for a Friend 

Karen Gregory passed away a week ago today at the age of 61. For years she had been a comfortable and warm part of our lives, and we feel sorrow for this great loss. Her children, Kelly and Krista, were friends with Jeep since they were all teenagers, and as they became part of his life, so did their parents, Karen and Raye. Myself, I think I was 22 or so when I met Karen and Raye. I immediately took to their hospitality and generosity- it came at a time when I had very little materially and not much security on a personal level. They provided quick acceptance into a fold of extended family and friends.

Karen Gregory often fed us extravagently. We'd go over to their house after a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast with the our family, and Karen would greet us with pleasure and invite us to indulge in her food. She made the best scalloped cheese potatoes on the planet Earth- anyone who ever tried them would agree. Her oyster dressing was light in flavor and rich in texture. She had a winning lasgna recipe as well. It seemed that you could always walk into her house, fill up a plate, take a load off on the couch, and spend an evening trading stories. Depending on the nature of the stories going around you'd have a room full of people laughing or shaking their heads at something, but there was always a bond. There was always comfort. ( My own parents were in Tennesse and I missed them very much- this surrogate parenting was indeed a treasure. )

Our thoughts are with Raye, Kelly, Krista, Ronnie, Ivy, Katey, and LaDonna. So many of us feel her absence, and wish her soul to a peaceful place.

My sentiments exactly.

Karen will be sorely missed. Her funeral focused the grief of scores of people whose life she impacted. Not at the funeral were the people she served while worked as a nurse.

Wednesday night after everything calmed down I was getting ready to go to bed. I was listening to a song about Michigan's Sleeping Bear by a guy named Sufjan Stevens. That's when Karen's death, Kelly, Krista and Ray's loss, hit me full on.

Sometimes grief is there on the spot where you expect it to be. But most of the time the sadness comes on the notes of a song, the deep blue of a crisp sky or when your hand reaches for that grocery item on the shelf.
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