Tuesday, July 26, 2011

True Friendship

I wrote this post in pieces during the time we were in the hospital. I never had enough time to finish it. Words cannot adequately express all of the love that has been surrounding us the entire time James was sick. These words are still true today, and I am so sorry that I have taken so long to put this up!

I have been scouring the internet, searching for a quote that would define the absolute true friendship that we have experienced over the last 3 weeks (EDITED: LAST 5, 6 WEEKS NOW). I have to be honest, none of the ones I have found have come close to explaining the blessing of friendship that has been bestowed upon us. I wish I had words to describe it. Although I really don't, I want to express to you all how incredibly, incredibly meaningful our family and friends have been.

For those of you who are always wondering how to help out someone in a similar situation- as I always am, because I typically have no clue- I thought that my friend's actions could serve as a sort of how to. A how-to lift up, encourage, bless, comfort, refresh and console a family in their greatest struggle primer.

When James was sick at home, and we thought it was only a bug, my friends from a playgroup continually stopped by bringing coffee, pedialyte, balloons, offering to get prescriptions, and just generally being the most caring human beings you could ever see. I am so lucky to count these 3 wonderful ladies as my friends. I know you guys will hate this- but Jean E., Toya, and Katie I am so grateful that you are my friends! We typically get together every week with our combined 5 kids and do something together. No matter what we do- we seem to have 2 requirements. We have a great time, and whatever we do, we do it for free!

Before we were admitted to the hospital, both Matthew and I's mothers were on their way to Dallas. They both had been trying to come earlier to help take care of James, but I had told them I could handle a sick baby. Clearly in retrospect I could have used the help! But they both made it to Dallas within hours of being admitted and slept in the PICU waiting room the first night just in case we needed something immediately.

Within 20 hours of being admitted to the hospital, several of my friends had made snack and care baskets for us. What a huge blessing they were! They put everything imaginable in these baskets. Everything from snacks and gatorades, magazines, shampoo, conditioner, toiletries (even hair ties!), fresh fruit, flip flops to wear in the shower, and other great products that I can't even remember now.

My friends went to my house to take care of my dogs. One of them, sweet Toya, took Winston and Maggie to her house for an extended week-long playdate so that our families could focus on being with us at the hospital. I think that she would still have the dogs if I hadn't insisted that she bring them back! My dogs are just plain rotten!

They also went to the house and got us clothes, including all the essential items. You become super close to someone when you explain to them which underwear you prefer! They coordinated outfits and even thought of the varying degree of coolness that exists in the hospital.

Our Sunday School rallied for us, and my dear friend Jean E. has been coordinating the troops ever since. She has been everything from my personal secretary to chef to chief listening agent. She is the personal liaison to our life! Our church, First United Methodist Dallas, has been our backbone. They are seriously the only reason why we are able to stand at this point. They have brought us dinner up to the hospital at least every other night. They would bring it every night if we would let them! I am so incredibly thankful to them. Sometimes when they come to bring dinner we get to sit and talk. Sometimes 8 million people are in the room and they understand we can't visit. I am so incredibly thankful for friends who are understanding! I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to drive all the way across town, bring dinner to some people, and then not even be able to visit.

More friends stocked our refrigerator and freezer when we thought we were going to be home for a week. They didn't want us to waste precious time at home with James, so they got everything we would need to be at home.

My sweet friends from college came and sat with me during James' craniotomy. They played with my hair and read People magazine to me. We looked up maxi dresses and debated which ones didn't look like mu-mu's. My friend Shelly, who lives in OKC, took off 2 days to work just to come sit with me at the hospital.

We've been sent flowers, gift cards, giant giraffes, little giraffes. There are stacks of cards and boxes at home that I haven't even touched yet.

And then more friends spent time knitting with me, bringing us dinner. They sat and held my hand in silence when I needed silence. They sat and held my hand and cried when I needed to cry.

(Written today below)
When you go through something like this you can either see the overwhelming despair that a death brings. Or you can see the hope, light, and goodness of people. And I have been shown just how incredibly kind the world is. I know there are some of you who might be cynical and sarcastic- and I can definitely be that. But the truth is that I have never felt so very loved in my entire life. Although I have been through the worst month of my life- I have been incredibly blessed by friends and family. I think I said this in the beginning, but I don't know how I got so lucky to be Jamesie's mom. And I really don't know how I got so lucky to have such an amazing support system, to be blessed to be around the most wonderful people I have ever met.

Thank you all for loving me- those who know me in real life, and those of you who only know me through this blog. Thank you for continuing to lift me up in prayer. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a true friend. Thank you for showing me what it means to be the Body of Christ at work. Because you all have truly been an inspiration to me about what selfless, loving friendship is.


  1. This made me cry. I am so glad you were surrounded by love and encouragement from your friends and family. I pray that I find good girlfriends like yours.

  2. I am at total awe the faith you have in God and your amazing friends & family. I find that so amazing!! My heart just aches for you, your husband and James and I have sent all my strength and love to you guys to help you even more. I, too, pray that I am able to find such strength and friendships that you have been gifted with.

    Hugs from Michigan!!

  3. I can't wait to get my jamesie necklace! What a great, comprehensive list of ways to love on people going through a tough time. Great practical ideas. I'm so thankful you have a wide and caring support system, and of course, our Father who loves you and cares for you so very much. Praying for you in Tennessee.

  4. I have been so worried about you since you haven't posted in a few days, but I am glad to hear how everyone around you has lifted you up and helped carry the load for you and Matt. James is watching over you all the time! I have shared your sweet boy with my family and they are all praying for you. Everyone of them love his hair and big blue eyes. I hope you keep posting and continue to share more of James' legacy with us. God Bless you and your family

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this post. What a wonderful reminder of the many ways we can be Christ to each other.

  6. I'm so happy to read that you had a great support system. God bless you, your family and wonderful friends.

  7. Thank you for writing, Kara.

    May God continue to pour out his abundant grace and provide his strength and courage to you and to Matt.

    Here is a link to a beautifully written blog about Maddie, a baby girl who was taken to heaven after a brief respiratory illness.


    Continuing to pray for you and your families.

  8. Thank you so much for the new post. I have been checking back here several times daily wanting you to post something so that we would know that you were "okay". Not that anything in the world would make the situation that you are in okay, it's just the best word I can think of. I pray for you and Matt when I wake up in the morning, several times throughout the day and before I go to sleep at night. I DO NOT know why your sons death has affected me as much as it has. I'm so glad that I got to meet him through your blog and would have loved to have seen his sweet smiling face in life.

    I am thankful that you have many friends that are helping you through this difficult time. I live 2 hours away and wanted to drive to Denton the day of the funeral/memorial service just to give you a hug! But I knew that there would be plenty of people there to do just that!

    I'm keeping this bible verse marked in my bible in memory of James and I look at it often. I saw it on one of our churches marquees the day after he earned his angel wings and it calmed my heart:
    Psalm 147 3-5: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

    God bless you and your friends who have helped take such good care of you! Will continue to keep you in my prayers.

    In Christian love,
    Kristie Lee

  9. Kara, your strength continues to amaze me! Love you, girl.

  10. So thankful for all of the support you have. I, too, have been worried about not seeing you here. I still say prayers for you everyday and hope peace is finding its way into your hearts. Much love!!

  11. I'm very much in awe of you and you and James continue to inspire.

  12. Thank you for the update, I'm SO happy you have had so much support! My family and I have been thinking about you and your family. I hope the continued support you receive will help you find peace. Your still in our prayers!!

  13. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you and your husband. You both are able to share from the heart genuinely. And what you have shared is the essence of Love....in all of its forms. The love between the two of you, for your son, for your heavenly father, for others period. And their love for you. I know we often try and find purpose in the things we have to go through in life. I know one benefit that has definitely occurred....Love has grown and multiplied in ways you will never know. You have shared your love for your son, and it has gone out into the world and become even more. Thank you.

  14. You are an amazing wonderful person. I wish I could know you IRL. I continue to pray for you.