Sunday, December 14, 2014

Strangers and Friends

I have a special design team project over at 3 Girl JAM today.  Here I'll tell you a sad, but feel-good, story behind these special-to-my-heart cards.

The father of my children (ex-husband) was diagnosed with liver cancer about 3 years ago.  He fought the valiant fight against this horrible disease.  About a week ago on a Friday night, we were told he probably had a matter of days left.  My youngest is in the U.S. Army stationed in Oklahoma and needed to come home.

I started by calling the Army Chaplain.  He got me connected with the Red Cross.  The Red Cross needed medical verification.  Try to get medical verification on a Friday night.  It's not easy.  I spent hours calling anyone I could think of.  Somewhere in the middle of these very stressful phone calls, I got ahold of a random on-call physician with our medical group.  She had never spoken to my ex or my children before.  I had met her once a couple years ago.  She told me that she did not know what she could do.  I accepted that and continued to make calls.  Around 9:30 that night, I ran out of ideas of who to call.  I SO afraid that I would not get the appropriate verification until Monday (when it might be too late).  The on-call physician's nurse called me about 10 p.m. to get the Red Cross information....20 minutes later, the Army had what they needed to grant the hardship leave.  This physician had spent over an hour of her Friday night to help my son.  I don't know how she did it, but I am grateful.  This card, featuring incredibly beautiful 3 Girl JAM Simply White Lace and Crinkle Ribbon in Daffodil is going to her.

During these incredible hours of stress, my son was in his Army barracks, over a thousand miles away, alone and sad, scared that he would not make in time.  I know, in my head, he is an adult, a warrior soldier....but in my heart, he will always be my baby.  At some point in the conversation, one of his commanding officers called me.  She told me, as soon as the Red Cross called, everything else was in order to grant the leave.  She asked me what else she could do to help me or my son.  I told her that I didn't know and began to cry and expressed to her how I was hurting for my son and just wanted to go to him.  I said, "He's alone and sad, and I can't be with him."  She told me that he would not be alone and that I should no longer worry about that.  Within just a few minutes, the troops were deployed, and my son was surrounded by caring brothers and sisters (in arms) all the way until he got on a plane to come home.  Hooah to the U.S. Army.  I am proud to be an Army Strong Momma.  When I called her at 10:30p California time (after midnight her time) and woke her up to ask if everything was in order, she was still gracious.  This card is going to this beautiful soul who made a difference to me.  It features the lace and 3 Girl JAM Diagonal Stripe Ribbon in Bright Blue.

My son made it home on Sunday and got those last few days with his dad while his dad was still able to communicate and hug him before he passed Friday evening surrounded by his beautiful children, family and friends.  My heart still aches for both of my sons and my step-daughter that they have lost their father at such a young age (they are 20 and 21; she is 30), but it also soars with gratitude for the random strangers who helped me to make sure that my youngest could come, be with his brother and sister, and have those last days with his dad.

The stamp is a Phyllis Harris image from Unity Stamp Company.  I have to tell you that it is simply perfect as are all of her images.  The paper on the first card is Heartfelt Creations Classic Sunflower, and on the second card, it's Basic Grey Clippings.  The images are colored with Tim Holtz distress markers.  Coloring these images and crafting these cards gave me comfort.

Thank you for hanging with me through this long post.  It was incredibly cathartic to get it out of my head and my heart.  And if you have a chance, say a prayer for strength for my boys and my step-daughter as they deal with the loss of their dad.

Craftily yours,



  1. Your story brings such a mix of emotions to me. I hurt for your children and you, but am so thankful they were all together with their father. This story also gives me hope. There are still plenty of caring, giving, kind people in this world. We forget that sometimes. Thanks for reminding me that it is a good world that we live in. And, lastly, your cards are perfectly beautiful.

  2. Your story brought tears to my eyes, sadness for your family and happiness for the kindness of strangers. There are lots of good people in the world, you Karen are one of them. My thoughts and prayers to you and your sons as you all cope with this loss. Your creativity is an outlet and its wonderful that you shared this with us. Many hugs from your East Coast friend.

  3. Oh my goodness. I am so honored to be a part of this incredible story with my stamp art. This is one of the BIG reasons I love what I do. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story. You and all of the family are in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

  4. Beautiful story; thank you for sharing. It is so encouraging to know the lengths people go to to help others.

  5. Beautiful cards and so glad that so many people were able to help you and your children. My heart goes out to them I know it must be a hard time for them