She was a mother of three who shared her faith wherever she went.

He was a father of two who collected friends wherever he went.

She was no stranger to trauma: an alcoholic dad, two divorces, a victim of rape, and breast cancer. To look at her, you’d see none of the heartbreak–just resilience.

He rose above what he most yearned for, a hands-on dad who made him the centerpiece of life, and tirelessly poured love into his own sons.

She had wanted to be a missionary in other countries. In the end, I wonder if she realized that she really was a missionary. She dedicated her life to spreading Christ-like love, within a 50-mile radius of where she was born and raised.

He was a gifted craftsman, a builder from the time he started working. Designing and building rooms, homes, restaurants–he found joy in his work. I never knew him to want to do anything else, except coach his sons’ sports teams.

I don’t remember her very well. It’s been 28 years since she passed, and the details fade more and more.

I remember him better. It’s only been four years since he left. But I’m forgetting things–the ease of his laughter, what he looked like in real time, not just in memory.

She was 46.

He was 47.

They both died in the prime of life. I know that now, because I’m just a few years away from how old they were.

Advanced breast cancer claimed her.

Severe depression brought about his end.

I write to honor these two lives, to remind myself and others that they once did the mortal dance we’re all doing now. They left the floor before the music stopped. But I dance on, inspired by their resilience, their strong character, their pursuit of good and noble things.

She was my mom. He was my brother.

My mom, Karen


My brother, Jim

  1. Your mom and your brother live on in you. You are strength and resilience. You are hope, faith, friendship and hard working. I am blessed to know parts of both of them because I am blessed to know you. πŸ’šπŸ’•πŸ™πŸΌπŸ˜΄

  2. Thank you for sharing these tender memories Kristina. I want to wrap my arms around them, and you. Thank you for all the work you do.

  3. Their beautiful memories will be forever eternal in your heart and all the hearts that were blessed to know & love them! God blessed you with both of them ~ and you are a living testament to their lasting legacies. Love you my dear friend. β€οΈπŸ™πŸ»

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