Life Stories with Steph ~

Kaaren (pronounced CAR-en) and I met when I interviewed to be her caregiver in 2019. She had suffered a debilitating stroke that left this beautiful, accomplished artist (a children’s artist/author who has sold over a million books) without the use of her right side. Her artistic side, of course. I fell in love with Kaaren immediately. Whether it was her captivating Irish/English accent, a smile that lit up the world or her genuinely warm demeanor, I’m not sure. But I do know we were meant to become dear, dear friends.

Kaaren faced life with such strength and optimism. She loved people, she loved nature, she loved creativity & teaching but most of all she loved her family. She was the most beautiful example of unconditional love, especially to those who needed it most. When I read the first paragraph of her obituary, I just smiled and thought, “This is so Kaaren.” Here is what it says…

“Love is the answer. Now, what was the question?”

“This was Kaaren’s solution to life challenges. She was an advocate for love, acceptance and truth. In addition to her love for her large family and ever-growing circle of friends, she reached out to the weary, the ostracized and the lonely with her great heart and quite often with an extra place at her Thanksgiving table.”

Kaaren loved living life to the fullest, which made the physical effects of her stroke all the more difficult.

She struggled to do the things she once did so effortlessly, yet she faced each day with incredible hope and a lot of hard work. Never once did she sit back and feel sorry for herself. She fought so hard to walk again, to converse with others, to play with her grandchildren (she has 25!), to travel with her husband and to garden again in her glorious vegetable and rose gardens. All the things she loved most in this world.

Kaaren and I spent almost two years together and I got to know her well. Day after day we would talk about life… the beautiful things, the hard things and everything in between. I learned that beauty and perspective come from persevering through really hard things. “You just have to keep on going,” she would tell me with a smile. She was never one to just get by, she gave everything she had to all that she did. She truly was a fighter right up until the very end.

Thank you, Kaaren. Thank you for teaching me that the most important thing we can learn in this lifetime is how to LOVE, deeply. You were a master at this, and continue to be through all those who were touched by your kindness (and there were many). You are missed but your light continues to shine through all who knew and loved you.

Thank you for caring about the world as deeply as you did.

We have so much to learn from you

Kaaren's Books