Monday, June 10, 2013

Encouragement from Dorothy

The original "Katie's Comforter"

 "I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad. 

Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. 

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him." - Psalm 34

Our family was blessed and comforted by many excellent caregivers during Katie's illness. One of these, about whom I have written in "Because of Katie," is Linda, a gifted physical therapist. Linda was able to see Katie as a person, beyond her diagnosis. She was able to develop trust and cooperation with Katie in the most frightening and painful period of her life - no small feat, when you think about how many strangers had entered Katie's 11-year old world, and were compelling her to do things she did not want to do.

Linda learned what was important to Katie, and worked within that frame to get her sitting up, out of bed, walking and even preparing a gift of cookies for her brother's birthday - all of this from the starting point of a bed in a cancer ward, and often with an IV pole in tow.

Since Katie's passing, I have stayed in contact with Linda. She has introduced me to others in her field. As a teacher, Linda has invited me to address students. She introduced me to the University of Washington's Doctoral Physical Therapy program, where I have been privileged to address students. She allowed me to interview her for the video. We have visited each other just for fun - Linda has many, varied interests and talents, and is good company. 

Last summer, Linda brought her mother, Dorothy, to spend the day in Poulsbo. We formed an immediate friendship, and found out that we share a love of fabric, among other things. Dorothy surprised me with a particularly generous offer: to make a quilt for us out of Katie's clothes. I have seen such quilts: my friend Robin has a gorgeous one, made of her son Matthew's t-shirt collection. Dorothy sent photos of quilts she has made for bereaved friends; each one is unique, and honors the spirit of the beloved who has gone on ahead of us.

Though I was intrigued by the idea, going through Katie's clothes and sending them away to be cut up was simply not possible for me. I could not let them go - couldn't even sort them out without being stunned and stuck in grief. So I thought about this beautiful offer, but couldn't make a move toward accepting it...until a few weeks ago.

One day, I could do it. I don't know why it was that day, but I had waited, honored my feelings, and suddenly, knew it was time. I went through Katie's dresser and closet, chose the garments that were particular favorites of hers (and mine), handled them with loving memories (and some pangs), visualized her wearing them, and then folded them into a box for shipping to Dorothy.

When I awoke this morning, this message was in my inbox: 

"Dear Karen;
Your package arrived yesterday afternoon, opening that box was like meeting Katie, can see why it took time for you to get to this point.  So many colors to work with, I  will enjoy this more than you can imagine!!! After looking at everything there is to work with,  I can see the quilt completed in my mind.  I'm not going to tell you ANYTHING about it until you open the package when it arrives!...Will get started on the creation tomorrow,  Katie and I have WORK to do!! Do take care and God bless.
Love, Dot"

This message warmed my heart; I know that Katie's things are in the most tender, understanding and skilled hands. What a gracious gift - what a gracious lady! This is another example of the generosity and goodness of God, seen through the love of His people. Noticing, receiving and giving thanks for such goodness is a key to my survival, day by day. Doing my best to offer that kind of goodness into the world is another key. 

May this true story of goodness and kindness encourage you today.

"...Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement,
who encourages us in our every affliction,
so that we may be able to encourage
those who are in any affliction
with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us,
so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.
If we are afflicted,
it is for your encouragement and salvation;
if we are encouraged,
it is for your encouragement,
which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Our hope for you is firm,
for we know that as you share in the sufferings,
you also share in the encouragement."- 2 Corinthians 1


Jenna said...

We've never met in person, and so I hope you don't mind me following your blog Karen. But, I just want to say thanks for it: every time I read it I find inspiration, comfort, and a really unique way of living and looking at the world the encompasses peace, compassion, faith, understanding, artistry, nature, and light. God has gifted you with unique gifts and I want to encourage you that it is really evident to me from reading your words that you live your life in a way that uses your God given talents to bless others.

Thanks for your inspirational words. Know that God has a great purpose and plan for each of our lives and that he has gifted you with your unique set of talents and way of viewing the world as part of his plan.

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, Karen, I can't WAIT to see the finished quilt!! What a wonderful remembrance of Katie this will be!

Thank you for all the kind emails of love and support you've sent recently. I cherish every word.


Anonymous said...

I too cannot wait to see it. Very brave of you.
Much love,

Daisy said...

Wow, she sounds like a wonderful person; glad you met her.
As ever, you inspire and encourage me, Karen.

Polly @ Helping Little Hands said...

I can't wait to see how it turns out.

kell said...

Love this Karen. Can so understand your feelings and why you waited. Dorothy sounds lovely, what a beautiful gift for you. Hope you're well, take care xx