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Karen was born on November 21, 1952, to Mary and Ed Stith. I was 5 years old when she came into the family. I don’t think it would be possible to put into words all that she meant to me. She had an infectious giggle and long dark hair, which was matched only by her beautiful dark eyes. I was so lucky to be able to dress her up and take her places. Even though I could not swim, I remember teaching her. I wrote plays with the neighborhood kids; Karen was always the star.
As the years passed by, her family moved to Glen Este. I grew up, got married, and had my daughter whose name included the name of my first precious friend. My daughter is Andrea Karen, Kandi for short, and Karen was her godmother.
Over the years we kept in contact, but nothing was the same. She visited us in Fort Worth and laughed like she had never been away from me. Then we weren’t in contact anymore. The next time I saw her was at my sister-in-law’s funeral. Her hair was thin and grey, but her smile was the same. We hugged; I cried. Then I found out she had cancer of the liver.
Mike, Karen’s brother, called me to say she was in the hospital, and I went straight there. I couldn’t believe the luck; we were alone, laughing so hard we were crying, and making plans to travel like we had been dreaming of our entire lives.
In December she went home to Heaven. The night before she passed, Kandi and I went to see her. I had promised her a photo of a cloud that I had taken that looked like the face of Christ. Her last words to me were, “There you are. I was waiting for you. I love you.” She loved the photo.
Until the day I die, I will never forget my favorite photos of her including one of her sitting cross-legged looking at my dad, her grandpa. Her wavy dark hair is down her back, and she is dressed in a white t-shirt, yellow shorts and a yellow ribbon. The other picture is a silly one of her digging through her purse and looking up at the camera with her grin. She was beautiful, inside and out. She was my original Barbie doll. I miss her terribly.

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