In Memory of Karen E. M. Johnston

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.” — Flavia Weedn

“Don’t cry,” Karen said to me, after she told me her doctor had given her two months to live. “I’m not afraid. I want to see my dad again.”

Funny that in this scenario, she should be the one comforting me. But it shouldn’t surprise me. Throughout the duration of her illness, this has been her refrain. “Don’t cry.” “Don’t cry.” “Don’t cry.”

And so I didn’t. For Karen’s sake, I swallowed my tears and I talked of my writing, about which she never failed to ask. I told her (and Stephanie and Sharon, with whom I often visited) how my…
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