Dear Katie, Christy, Tommy and Kelly,
May you always remember - just for today – to say thanks for being able to grow, smile, laugh, and love. Don’t be bothered by worries – instead enjoy all of our blessings – just for today – and every day.
I love you very, very much!
This is the inscription Karen wrote in "The Littlest Christmas Tree," the annual Christmas giftbook for 2000.
"It's true that a cancer diagnosis changes your life. Things slow down dramatically and suddenly you find the time to watch the kids play in the yard, take that bike ride, or appreciate the beauty of the sunset.
In the past year, our perspectives and priorities have changed but the one consistent thread through it all has been love. Tom's love has gotten me through many doctor's reports and so much more and then I have my four angels to greet me at the door each time I come home. We turn to family and friends again and again to celebrate the good news and cushion the blows of the setbacks.
The outpouring of love and support that we receive has taught my family that one valuable lesson---to be loved and to love is all that really matters. It's the love I have for my life that strengthens my resolve to stay positive, hopeful, and determined.
I leave this mass tonight a much richer woman. Just like the "Light the Night" walk, you've filled me with love, encouragement and support which will sustain me in the days to come. While I live with faith and hope, it's the love that inspires me the most. Thanks for giving your love so graciously to me."
From the letter Karen wrote for the program of her Healing Mass, 6/11/2001
Katie proudly hanging on to baby sister Christy, Summer 1990.
Sharing those special end-of-the-day 15 minutes with Tommy.
Sledding down Grandma’s hill with Katie (age 5) and Christy (age 3), February, 1993.
Sharing a smile. L-R: Christy, Katie, Karen, Tommy, Kelly
Tommy at 8 months old: a fledgling Parrothead on Jimmy Buffett night, May 1992.
Kelly’s kindergarten graduation at St. Bernadettes’s.
A quiet snuggle moment for Kelly, Karen and Christy.
Kelly, Tom and Karen wearing their best faces! Summer 2001.
A family portrait, August 1996.
Katie’s first Easter, 1988.
In the Magic Kingdom!
Katie’s ready to toast some marshmallows around the cabin campfire, July 1993.
Getting acquainted with baby sister Kelly, May 1993.