Remembering Karis, by Valerie Kornfield Schalm, Pittsburgh

But God’s grace is wonderful

Acts 20:24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned my by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Valerie posted this reflection yesterday on her Facebook page.

Nine years ago, we said goodbye to Karis Joy.

With our family gathered today, we lit a candle, said a prayer, and remembered Karis with gratitude and longing (saudades)!

Among other things, we talked about…

…how delighted she would have been to welcome Dan to Pittsburgh, and how she would have loved his new house – with the big picture window, the deck in the back with a beautiful view, and the spacious kitchen…

…how Mom and Karis used to plan escapes from Montefiore Hospital during her free time and have great adventures, Mom pushing her wheelchair and IV pole up and down the Oakland streets, to the library (she had to be taken back to the hospital by the police), getting shut out of Montefiore in the maze of underground passageways connecting the various Oakland hospitals, popping up once in the psychiatric hospital and being taken as one of their patients, taking tunnels or going overland to the Children’s Hospital to visit patients there, to the Phipps Conservatory outdoor garden, even making it through upper Pitt campus all the way to the Franzen’s house once…

…how vibrant and strong and full of life she was, vivacious, passionate, excited about a million plans and projects and people, especially in times when illness did not limit her as much…

…how the struggle of her decline was a combination of losing physical and mental capacity…

…how she tried so many times to fix Abuelita’s (my Dad’s mom’s) old piano and took it with her from South Bend to each of her homes in Pittsburgh…

…how her dreams sometimes seemed too lofty, but sometimes found serendipity, like when she planned a fundraising website for a program serving underprivileged children near our home in São Paulo, and received a donation of $10,000…

…how she loved to create and enjoy art, and took several of us to local art shows and exhibits…

…how my work is connected to her life, both in the PICU and with wound and ostomy care. I hope to honor her and bless other patients and families as I connect with them in times of need…

Karis, we love you and miss you! Thank you for the ways you continue to walk with us. We look forward to the day when our eyes touch again! 

10 thoughts on “Remembering Karis, by Valerie Kornfield Schalm, Pittsburgh

  1. I will always remember Karis’ comment to me each time I said goodbye to her when I left your home. She would say to me “How can we pray for you?” Her joy was in always thinking of others and that became a lesson to me that I try to carry in my own life as I think of Karis. That’s what Jesus would have us all do. Love others first.

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  2. Beautifully expressed. It hardly seems like nine years but then it does seem long. I am reminded of the picture in Rev 6 of the saints gone before us praying how long O Lord, how long. Karis is right there praying and singing with the angels around the throne of God. We long for the day when we join her.

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  3. What magnificently expressed memories from Valerie. Please tell her THANK YOU! I read every word twice with tears brimming in my eyes. I love those photos that are included making the words even more personal and very warm! I am especially thankful to see you together now. We are praying for Dan each day as he gets settled. I loved the description of his new home and the insight by Valerie that Karis would have loved it!! May this new season with family so near be one of uniquely special and truly fresh expressions of God’s love and goodness to each of you.

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