Permission to Live–and Die — 38 Comments

    • Thank you, Glenda, for sharing my grief. You loved him too, I know. He was a good friend to many.

  1. Oh, Karen, my heart is going out to you over the miles right now. My prayers are with you as you walk this journey without Charles now. The love letter is both beautiful and heart-wrenching.

    It was a blessing knowing your dear husband, and he will be missed by so many. Know that you are being lifted up in prayer for many weeks to come.


    • Thank you, Kristi. I cherish your gift of prayers for strength in the coming days and months.

  2. Karen, Sending my deepest sympathy to you in the loss of your husband.
    I know you miss him deeply. Thank you for sharing on your post.
    what a wonderful Blessing to receive his letter.
    with heartfelt love and prayers from one recent widow to another.

    • Jackie, thanks for letting me know that you and I are walking side by side as widows. May each of us be filled with strength and peace and comfort from the Comforter–the Holy Spirit. I share your grief.

  3. Karen, such a beautiful letter – one you will treasure always as you have treasured your wonderful husband. I liked what you said about him being the perfect man for you. I felt the same way about Norm.

    Your memories will make you strong.

    • Marie, you have always been a source of comfort, strength, and encouragement to me. Thank you for cheering me on.

  4. My heartfelt sympathy and love. I think it is so wonderful that the Lord granted that wish to be together at home when he passed. I had the same experience and have always been grateful for it. I know the Lord will direct you steps and you begin this new stage of your life.
    He is faithful to all his promises! Love to you and thank you for sharing that sweet note. He was no doubt a very special man.

    • Thank you, Etta Mae. I know that you have walked the widow’s path for many years. You’re a wonderful model of how to do it well. I appreciate your tender care.

  5. Oh, dear Karen, I can’t believe you were even able to post on your blog today. I don’t know if you saw my note on Facebook, but I was so saddened to learn that Charles is gone from us. You have been much in my thoughts and prayers.

    I keep thinking about the wonderful hymn-singing trip to England that you and Charles enjoyed together and how glad I am that you have those precious memories among so many more.

    This line wrenched my heart: We had prepared for this event for over a year as he declined in health but somehow when it actually occurred I didn’t feel prepared at all. Oh, so true. How can we prepare for an unknown so vast in its loss? It’s in that gaping hole you’re feeling that I am praying God will fill with the fullness of himself. And I’m so grateful your beloved left you such a lovely letter…what a precious gift.

    Love you. Sending hugs across the miles….

    • Thank you, Judy. So many sweet words in your note have blessed me. I did see your comment on FB. Still catching up with all the wonderful people who have reached out to me.

  6. Dearest Karen,
    The ‘dreaded’ words have come and I have no words to express how I feel. I just know that Charles is in a beautiful place and one day we will meet again. A few days before my son was killed in an auto accident( in 1987-35 years old) the verse of scripture from Isiah 26:3 came to my mind and I had no idea why. When we were on our way to W.Va. for his funeral this scripture came to me. ” Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because thou trusteth in Him” This verse did not take away my grief nor my tears. It did not remove my heart ache but I felt a peace that I simply could not understand. It continues to give me peace. I pray that you will feel this peace that only God can give even when your tears will flow and you are lonesome! You KNOW I will keep you in my heart and my prayers. My heart “hurts” !> Thank you for sharing the sweet love letter Charles wrote to you ! Imagine- he wrote it almost seven years ago! What a wonderful love you two have shared.
    I love you. Margaret

    • Margaret, thank you. I lost my husband and you lost a friend in Charles, but what a glad day it will be when we all unite in heaven. Thanks for sharing your experience after the death of your son and the beautiful verse the Lord gave you to hang onto. I love you too.

  7. Dear Karen, My heart is heavy for you … for your loss of your dearest Charles … Thank you for being my role model of strength yet again at such difficult times … blogging to let us know … quoting Jesus’ love from the Bible … and most touchingly, sharing with us the beautiful loving and romantic letter to you from Charles … Dear Karen, for your special loving heart for others, God has rewarded you with special blessings … My prayers are with you for God’s grace always to be with you as always … Jing

    • Thank you, Jing. You always express your deepest thoughts and they bring me hope and strength.

  8. Dear Karen,

    What a sweet, lovely post and tribute to your wonderful Charles. I grieve with you. You have been on my heart and will continue to be as I remember the beautiful words you have shared and the obvious love in your eyes every time you have spoken of Charles. Even the not perfect parts! May God’s peace, comfort and strength surround you at this time of such a great loss. Sending my love and hugs.

    • Laura, your words are a balm. Thank you for sharing my sadness but bringing me strength at the same time.

  9. Dear Karen,

    I know you through ICL, though we’ve never met in person. Your Charles sounds like quite a man and I’m saddened by your loss. How wonderfully romantic that he hid a love letter for you to find–something to hold close to your heart when you could no longer hold him. I hope the many wonderful memories you made and shared with Charles bring you comfort in the difficult days.

    Hugs, Bobi Martin

    • Bobi, thanks for reminding me that we know one another through ICL. A nice memory of my years of teaching there. I really appreciate your taking time to comment and encourage me.

  10. I am so sorry Karen for the loss of Charles. The love letter was such a sweet gesture; from him- to you-his Love!!! Later you will write a book about your bitter sweet journey through this portion of your life. Love % prayers, Mary

  11. Karen, what a beautiful tribute to your Charles. He has been a very dear friend to Don and me and we will miss him tremendously too. And no matter how much we know the farewell is coming, we are never fully prepared. But the God who led you and Charles together, who gave you thirty-five precious years together, who took Charles’ hands and welcomed him Home, will continue to uphold and strengthen you too, Karen, for every day of your own new journey. We love you so much.

    • Thank you, dearest Carol. You are such a fountain of love and support and strength for me. I treasure you and Don.

  12. Oh my precious, Karen, I, too, am in tears again, reading of Charles’s passing, knowing how much you both adored each other, knowing that death and illness were never meant to be, knowing there is such pain in the parting, even in knowing, unlike some, that you will be reunited, never to be separated again. Death still hurts terribly. Charles knew that, and in his tender thoughtfulness, in his gracious care of you, he wanted a way to ease your grief, with a tangible reminder of his love. And he did his in such a loving way. Had you known about the letter, it would have been wonderful, but likely would not have had the same specialness that it does to you know. It’s the last of grace from a man who loved you more than life itself. He told you in a way you can treasure. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be, but may it comfort you to know that Charles still lives. Oh, he lives. I think that the separation, the veil between heaven and earth must be very, very thin. May the Lord embrace you and hold you close in the days ahead.
    I love you,

    • Lynni, in your usual poetic way you have lifted my heart and filled it with encouragement, hope, and love. You are my ‘heartner,’ for sure.

  13. Thank you for sharing the brilliant light that is Charles, and his love for you.
    A loving soul somehow keeps on shining. His light will now embrace many.
    May you celebrate his memory always.

  14. Karen, No words could be said that will comfort you. Just know that my heart goes out to you and that I’m praying for your continued strength. We are lucky to have the Lord during these times. Rest in Him. But if there is anything I can do, please holler. Your friend and colleague – Jim

    • Jim, you’re always there for me with your kind and supportive words. Thanks so much.

  15. Dear sweet Karen: My heart aches for you! You and Charles have been one of those darling couples I imagine in my mind’s eye when I think of God’s granting true soul mates. What role models you have been for sharing joy and love at any age — truly palpable to all of us fortunate enough to have been in the presence of the special couple I think of as “Karen and Charles.” I feel so blessed to have known him and seen his twinkling eyes. I will hold you in my prayers, dear friend, as you walk this path.

    Sending love, Carolyn

    • Thank you, Carolyn. How good to hear from you, especially with words of love and support and encouragement. I’m happy to know you remember Charles with such fondness.

  16. Karen, I am sending you prayers, and strength to walk through your grief fully. What a lovely tribute to Charles, telling us your shared story. And what a beautiful act, to leave you a love note. It speaks to how deeply his love has been for you. Blessings to you.

    • Thank you, Lynn. I appreciate hearing from you with kind words and loving prayers. I’m thriving on the prayers of good friends and family.

  17. Karen, you do not know me, but I know you through ICL and will be praying for the repose of your dear husband’s soul and for strength and courage and peace at this time for you. What a loving and lovely marriage you’ve had and it is a privilege for me to see it. God bless you.

  18. Dear Karen,

    I pray you feel the loving arms of our Lord surrounding you. You and Charles have touched my life even though we have never met in person. My heart is with you.

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