Saturday, May 31, 2008

4 years...

4 years ago today I lost my Mom to a hard fought battle with Ovarian Cancer. She battled for 5 years. She never complained and she continued to LOVE and SUPPORT her family until the day she died. She was my best friend. I miss her everyday. There will always be a feeling of void in my life. I honestly ache for her. It's amazing how life goes on. It actually seems like more than 4 years because so much has changed. (I'm a different person being a mother of 4!) I had a good time looking through pictures and remembering things about her that I don't get to everyday. It was perfect because Jason was out of town, Baylee was out with friends, Griffin went to Wyoming to herd cattle with a friend, and my kids were in bed so I had the night to myself. That NEVER happens. I actually think that it's the first time since my Mom's passed that I had a night to myself. I feel SO blessed to be her daughter. I didn't know it at the time, but she truly did prepare me to raise her children and mine. She was a wonderful example of selfless LOVE. I'll never forget her. Here are some pictures and memories that I cherish most... (sorry for the bad quality. My scanner didn't work so I took them with my camera but I still wanted to share even if they are blurry) Warning... some of my thoughts are kind of long, but it was therapeutic for me. I hope you enjoy getting to know my Mom better.

I think she was so beautiful.
My first birthday
Griffin, she loved babies especially her own. She couldn't wait for grandchildren!

Baylee... isn't this picture sweet? It was taken at her Mom's funeral.

This picture was taken when she came to visit me while I was in college. We ate lunch and I did her hair that day (in beauty school). I'll never forget when I had to move out. She came to help me move and when it was time for her to go we both cried and cried and cried and cried. (mind you I was only living 45 minutes away) My roommates thought we were crazy.

This picture was taken during her first treatment of chemo. By the time she passed she did every possible treatment she could do. I appreciate her fighting so long for us because I know it wasn't easy. I'll never forget the day I found out she had cancer. I was on a date (which was horrible). I didn't sleep at all that night. I stayed up all night crying and throwing up. I had a lot of faith during her 5 years of treatment. I guess Heavenly Father knows best. I wonder if it is really a coincidence that we get sick every Memorial Day weekend... we like to blame it on the state of Idaho but I ended up sick in bed on Thursday this year.

At my wedding. She hated her hair this short but I liked it. Jason and I were young when we got married but it worked out how it was supposed to. We had a few good years to ourselves before we got 3 kids at once and I love that Jason got to know my Mom and that she got to know him.

It's crazy to think that I lived away the last 4.5 years of her life but honestly I think we were closer because of it. One... It was good because it prepared us financially for all our responsibility. Two.. we cherished every minute that we spent together and we still managed to see each other a lot (thanks to Jason.) Three... we talked on the phone five times a day about everything and I really don't know if we would have if we lived closer and saw each other all the time. The best birthday present I ever received was one year Jason surprised me and flew her down. I'll never forget when she showed up at my work. I was sending a BIG fax and it got jammed and papers were going everywhere because I was so shocked to see her. I was totally shaking. This picture was taken that weekend. She didn't feel well at all. You'd never guess. She didn't want to miss out on a moment with her child. (and yes we are nerds in matching shirts. I worked at Toes On The Nose at the time and got them for free.)

I LOVE this picture for 2 reasons... the way she was looking at me and I'm pretty sure we were holding hands under the table. If we weren't holding hands she had her hand on my leg. There is nothing like a Mother's touch. I'll never forget her hands. That is actually one of the things that I can picture best about her. They were so tan and soft, with pretty, clean, strong fingernails. I know that sounds odd but Jason has soft skin like hers (when it's not rough from working) and that is one of the things that attracted me most to him. I had the oppurtunity to hold her hand as she passed. I saw the oxygen leave her body and I saw her skin change colors. It's a very vivid memory I have that I'll never forget. She was beautiful then... sick, with no hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, or oxygen. Sorry I didn't mean to go into that much detail. I wish this picture wasn't so blurry so you could see her face. That is the way she looked at all her children. I heard a speaker in church once say... "When your children walk in the room does your face light up?" I bawled because that is the other vivid memory I have of my Mom. When ever she saw me, her face lit up! I always replay in my mind her greeting me at the airport. She would literally run to me and hug me. She was always so HAPPY to see me as I was her.

Sorry if this picture is vulgar but I had to put it up because it shows her personality. She was hilarious! She was so fun to be around. I've laughed the hardest in my life with her. We brought out each others silliness because we were so comfortable with each other. You should have seen her dance. We don't have a talent for it but we would do it anyway. That is another good memory I replay in my mind... her dancing. Anyway, about the picture. This picture was taken another time when she was visiting in California. The weather was cold and cloudy and we wanted to get a tan. We loved laying out together... it was officially our favorite past time. Laying in the hot sun by each other and talking and talking and talking. I still can't lay in the sun til this day without thinking about her. Anyway... I keep getting side tracked. She had to go back to Utah with a tan so we went to a tanning salon. This particular salon you had to buy goggles and we didn't have any so they gave us these little stickers to put over our eyes to protect them. If you can't tell she put them on her breasts as a joke and we laughed hard.

I also posted this picture to show her personality... always up for having fun even when she didn't feel well. This picture was taken during one of our trips to Utah at an arcade. If you could see our faces close... we were having a blast. Like we did whenever we were together no matter what we were doing!

Another Cali trip. Again, we lived up every second when we were together. What I LOVE about this picture is the way she was leaning on Brady. As I was looking through old pictures I noticed (for the first time ever) that almost all of them had one thing in common... my Mom was always leaning towards one of her children, hugging them or just resting her head on our shoulders. I LOVE it because it shows how much she loved us!

These pictures were taken the day before she passed. You never would have guessed that she was going to die in the next day because she was so coherent. I'll always cherish these pictures. Notice my little baby bump? I was 5 months pregnant with Avaree. I rushed to town after I got the news that she wasn't doing well. I got there just a few days before. The cancer had spread to her lungs and that is what eventually killed her because she couldn't breathe and there was nothing else the doctors could do. She battled so well for so long and once it happened, it happened fast. Honestly, I should have been more prepared but I wasn't. Some memories from that weekend... was her being so EXCITED and alert to see the baby stuff I had gotten, and talking about baby names (we loved to do that and she was so excited that I named Avaree Karol after her), laying in the bed next to her talking and laughing as each of my siblings tried on her wigs, her trying to act healthy like nothing was wrong, talking about anything and everything, her telling me that one of the hardest lessons she had to learn in this life is that people have their own free agency to choose as they wish (hence some family members bad choices), reading scriptures with her when she could barely breath, giving her a bath, the hospice nurse gathering my siblings together at 3 a.m. to tell us she was passing. My brothers gave me some alone time with her where I read her a letter I had written and by the end of the letter she only had energy left to say, "thanks" which was one of her last words. It was hard to say good bye but I'll always remember the priesthood blessings my brothers and husband were able to give her especially the one when they told her it was okay to go.

It would be SO hard to leave your babies, especially with all of us being so young! One of the things that hit me the hardest just barely was looking back on pictures of Baylee and Griffin. They were so young to lose their Mom!! It doesn't seem fair but I know her test on this earth was done. She had done all she could do and she proved herself well. I have no doubt that she is better off. One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is Alma 40:12... And then it shall come to pass that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. That scripture has brought me a lot of comfort and peace knowing that she is in a state of peace, resting from all her wordly troubles! When I read that, I only feel selfish for wanting her alive. She deserves to be in paradise! I only pray that I can keep her legacy going in the path of righteousness. The speaker in sacrament meeting on Mother's Day paid me the ULTIMATE compliment when he pointed us out of the congregation and said, "You can tell these kids had a good Mother." My goal in life is to live so that people can know of her goodness without even knowing her.

I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have that Jesus Christ is our Savior and because of his atoning sacrifice we will be able to live again with our families forever!! I know we will be together again one day if we live righteously and I know that she is guiding us on the other side. As the sealer in the temple at Brady's wedding said... "he felt the presence of angels." I know she is our angel!! We love and miss you daily MOM!!


The Shupe Ohana said...

amazing! i don't even know what else to say, because i am just sitting here bauling! She truly was an amazing lady, and her legacy is living on through you! i feel so blessed to have had her live with us for so long, it was so fun to share the basement with her and to get ready in the mornings with her. She was so strong and immoveable! i always looked up to her. she was an amazing mom, and people will always know that because you are just as amazing. love you.

Sara Decker said...

I didn't know your mom, but that was so sweet. I think any mother would be so honored to be talked about like that. You are so amazing and strong for what you have had to go through. Thank you for sharing so many sweet memories and thoughts, i'm thinking about you today!

Sunny said...

Wow - what an amazing tribute. Your mom was absolutely beautiful inside and out - that's how I always felt about her. Thank you for sharing your memories. She was much beloved by me!

Brooke said...

You look just like your mom- beautiful. That was an amazing tribute to your mom. She seems like a pretty amazing woman.

val said...

I can hardly see through my tears to type a comment. What a sweet tribute to your sweet mom. I remember being at your moms viewing and so heartbroken seeing Griffin and Baylee, so young and losing their mom. I cried to Janet asking her what they were going to do without their mom. She told me you would take care of them. And you have. I can see your family is happy and that you are all making the best out of your situation. You are so strong Karlin and so loving. You are the glue that keeps your family together and I can imagine that role isn't always easy. You are doing a great job filling in for your own mom and I know she is smiling down on you. Keep up the good work. And thanks for sharing such a special post with us.

janet said...

I am sobbing like a baby!! Seriously, my kids are really worried about me and keep getting me more tissues because I am uncontrollably crying right now. I had to stop reading two different times so I could go in the bathroom and calm myself down. It's been a long time since I've cried like this! I would call you, but I know Jason is just getting home and I probably won't make a lot of sense talking through my sobs!

Your mother was exceptional and what your tribute to her was perfect. She LOVED her kids so much and was so sweet with children. She was always so sweet to my boys and loved to talk with them when we visited. I know how much she would have ADORED your kids... (and of course, I know she still does!) She would be so proud of you and the mother that you are. I can still hear her soft spoken voice and the way she said your name.. and can picture her soft tiny hands and gorgeous fingernails!! My heart breaks for you and your family but I also know that you were being prepared for this long before you knew it. Your wedding (although a stressful time for her) was such a huge part of the plan. Jason has also been prepared to take care of ALL of you, but especially you. He understood from day one how important your relationship was with your mom and I love that. I love your scanned in pictures and your twinner shirts. You two were always holding hands and the picture of her leaning on Brady is priceless! She was incredibly beautiful, warm, soft spoken and such an angel.

I love her individual pictures of Baylee and Griffin. She LOVED those kids so much!! I have memories of spunky Baylee at age 2, bouncing around and making a roomful of people laugh. Your mom was crazy about her and would light up just talking about her spunky, friendly little girl. And Griffin was meant to come at the time he did. Those two helped her so much during the last few years of her life and she knew they were extra special children. Griffin has always been so sweet and loving and she loved him so much. She was okay with leaving them because she knew you (and your amazing husband) would be able to care for them.. and I don't believe she would have been able leave any other way.. She fought hard without any complaints and you allowed her to pass peacefully. I am SO proud of you and all that you have done. Your siblings are all lucky to have each other and there is NO doubt about it, you had an extraordinary mother. And it is a compliment to you when I say you are SO MUCH like her! And you are the very person to raise your siblings.. you are the closest thing they have to their sweet mom. You have all her best qualities!

Four years doesn't seem very long considering ALL that has happened! You have grown up so much since her death, but you are still the same caring, fun-loving and sentimental girl! Love you!!

Sorry this is the LONGEST comment EVER! How did you get through this post?! I am sure it was therapeutic to have quiet time alone and remember her.

ps. Ben just said to me "If you are still sad about Karlin's mom, you can come and lay down by me and we can cuddle." They can't understand why I am still crying! I will squeeze them a little tighter tonight in her memory.

janet said...

pps. I think you should make your blog open for a few days so more people can read about your sweet mother. This post is so touching and makes us all remember what is REALLY important in life.

Amelia said...

I was so touched, and the picture that got me the most was the one with Griffin. Such love. What a wonderful tribute. Thanks for helping me want to be a better mom today.

becks said...

I am a friend of Janet's and cried during her post and then I grabbed tissues before I read your tribute. it was beautiful. I am amazed by you and what you do for your family. and even though I don't know you, I can tell that you are grateful to be doing this for your mom. What an amazing daughter (and sister) you are!

Thanks for sharing and making me realize how much we need to show our children love-- especially through touch. I hope to be more affectionate with my kids and appreciate what a gift it is to be a mom!

terica said...

What a sweet entry. I am a friend of Janet's. I remember a few months ago she had posted a blog about the the two of you and I commented on how much you look like my friend Joy, well when I read her blog today about your blog I had to read. It was very touching and so sincere and sweet. Thanks so much for making these thoughts public for the time being. They really mean a lot. You are truly a hero in so many peoples lives and without even knowing you I can see your mother is so pleased with who you are.

Tracy said...

That was beautiful Karlin. Thankyou for writing it and sharing it with us.

Heather said...

Thanks for letting me get to know a little bit about your mom. She makes me want to be a better person but so do you. You're amazing and I'm sure you got that from your mom. Bailey and Griff will be amazing because of you.

Heather said...

Baylee, sorry I spelt your name wrong :)

Janessa said...

Thanks for sharing all those thoughts with everyone. It is really amazing to see how you have grown from all that you have had to deal with so young. Your mom was amazing and you are too. I remember her viewing as if it were just the other day.

kimelison said...

That is a really beautiful tribute to your mom. I remember her being such a wonderful person. She always had a smile on her face. Thanks for sharing.

Valerie said...

I'm a friend of Janet's. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. It makes me want to be that kind of mother to my girls, that your mother was to you :)

Winder Love said...

Karlin. You are an absolute sweetheart. I didn't even know your mom and I am sitting here with Greg with weepy eyes and completly touched by your tribute. Thank you for sharing this. It is amazing. You truly are caring on your mom's spirit in all that you do.

Anonymous said...


This blog post made me cry. I love you so much and understand what a wonderful Mother your Mom was, and I'm positive that is where you get your skills as a mother. I look up to you so much. I have stayed up this late (when I have to teach 4 year olds at 8:30 am) reading all your blogs I've missed!

All your blogs make me want to move to Utah SO badly! Is there room for me at yours and Jason's house??
I miss you all. My Mom, my little brother, my big brother, you and my beautiful niece and nephew!

It is because of your family I want to be more active and righteous in the church, and I want to move to Utah!

I miss my family...


Anonymous said...


It is awesome to see that picture of you and your Mom was taken at my old house in San Clemente! Hehe. I love it!!!


Jamie Taylor said...

Karlin, I just have to tell you that I honestly look at your blog often and today I am reading about your mom and I am bawling. Good thing I have a tissue box here on my desk. Reading your thoughts and cherished memories touch my heart so much. It really helps me to put things into perspective and reminds me of the importance of letting people know how much that you love, appreciate and cherish them.

I still remember when I moved in with my dad in West Jordan and your mom was one of our young womens leaders. I LOVED her. She made me feel so welcome. So did you. That was such a difficult time of life for me and you both were answers to prayer. I thank heaven for both of you.

Karlin, I haven't seen you in forever, but would love to get together. You are a wonderful mother and I just want you to know that I love you.


karlin said...

Hey, I just wanted to thank everyone for their NICE comments and overwhelming support. It was so great to hear from so many people that I don't usually get too and I love to hear how many people were touched by my Mom. Thanks everyone. It really means a lot.

Josie... move to Utah. We'd love it. We miss you too!!

Cathy said...

Karlin, you are an amazing person just like your Mom! Thank you for sharing this and reminding us what is really important.

RaeLynn said...

Wow. I don't really know what to say. It won't really express what I want to articulate anyway, but honestly--I can say that I totally felt the Spirit while reading this post. Your mother was stunning. That first picture looks so much like you. Thank you for inspiring me today to get over my selfishness and realize that there is a higher calling in life than that of ANY other, and that is being a Mother. A kind, loving, charitable, fun and sensitive Mother. Your mother was obviously a good woman. And as they say "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". You are wonderful Karlin!

Angie said...

Weeping!!! Thank you so much for sharing these tender memories. I will never forget the time I was able to spend with your mom. I will treasure it always. I remeber her showing me her baby blankets that she was crocheting around for you. She was so excited to be a grandma and was so proud of you! Her children brought her joy that's for sure!
Thanks also for the sweet reminder of the kind of mom i hope to be!
You are an amazing girl, jason is a gift. Give Baylee, Griffen, Avaree and Weston all hugs from Me
Your little family will be blessed for all that you are doing!
We love you
Angie Wagstaff

Brandy-Blue said...

wow... you don't know me, (i clicked on a link from janet's blog) but i just wanted to say thanks for letting me read this tribute to your mom. what an amazing family you are... what an amazing mom you have... i don't really know what else i can say. i was really touched as i read your comments about your mom and looked at the pictures. life can be so hard, but look at how strong you have been for your family... i'm sure your mom is so proud.
brandy palmer

Kim (Finlayson) Alexanders Mom said...

I got to your Blog thru my daughters Blog..I don't know u but I feel so touched by your tribute to your mom.I'm sitting here crying like everybody else.I'm so glad that u had each other for the time u did.She sounds like a wonderful mother that was loved so much.And u also sound so special and also your husband Jason...May God be with all of you.Us that r Moms know the deep love we feel for our children....Just remember that was how your mom felt about all of u

Anonymous said...


Thanks for allowing me to read your tribute to your mom and see the beautiful photos of your family.

You are such an inspiration to me. I want you to know how much I love you and your family! You are doing a wonderul job with the kids and they are so lucky to have you and Jason.

I am lucky to know and learn from you!

Love, Melanie

Brittany said...

I hope you don't mind this is your long, lost friend Brittany Romano-Johnson, I just had to leave a comment. My Dad got a text from Trevor about this post so we all wanted to send you our love, my whole family read this post and we all just loved your Mom we all remember that she was truly one of the most genuine and sweet people we have ever met. This is probably the most beautiful and touching thing I have ever read in my life, thank you for sharing. You are such a wonderful example to all those around you because you had to go through the hardest time in your life in losing your beautiful Mom then turn your life upside down and take on 3 kid's all at once, I hope you know that you are one strong and amazing person who is doing your Mom very proud. We have always thought the whole world of you and your siblings and of course your Mom. We love you and wish you nothing but complete happiness!

Kristen said...


I don't know if you remember me from high school but I came across your blog and this post through Janet's blog. What a touching tribute to your mom. You really are amazing to take on the task of raising your siblings while starting your own little family.

It's fun to see a little bit of what you've been doing since high school. What an incredible, beautiful family you have! Thanks for sharing this post - a great reminder today.

Kristen (Epson) Bowler

Di said...

I'll leave a comment now that I'm not crying. I too appreciate your heartfelt post. It was so sweet and so inspiring! What good examples you are!

JaNae said...

I linked over from Janet's blog. She warned that I'd need kleenex, but I didn't think I would since I don't know you or your mom. I was wrong. Thank you so much. This is beautiful. The last picture is wonderful. Thank you. It is rare to have a relationship like you had with your mom. What a great blessing to both of you. You are remarkable.

Shannon said...

I read this the other day and wanted to comment, but didn't really know what to say. I have just been so touched! I didn't know you that well in High School, but today I am honored to read your blog because you seem so amazing! What a blessing you are to your family! Your mom seemed like she was a wonderful person! Thank you for letting us all see that!

Anonymous said...

Karlin...I loved reading the memories of your mom. You described her perfectly!!! It made me cry & laugh ... & gave me a mixture of happiness & sorrow. What a wonderful lady. You've carried on her legacy so well. Reading about her reminded me a lot of Grandma Hatch...they were quite similar in a lot of ways! Amazing women!!! Love you! Sarali

Errin said...


I am now just reading your beautiful post, and I am truly sorry for your loss. It sounds like your mom was amazing and very missed. You are a great example of strengh and courage. Thank you for your post. It has made me appreicate and remember how precious life is.

Kevin Kim Cade Ellie said...

You are so amazing! What a great example you are to so many people. I look-up to you in so many ways, and have for years. Thank you for sharing your memories. I cried reading through the whole thing. I am sure your mom is so proud of you.
Much Love,
Kim Alexander

lynnie said...

Karlin, I just read your tribute to your mom, it confirms to me what I have always thought about you.....You are just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside!!!

Misty said...

Karlin - We have never met but I came across your blog some how and am in awe of you. This entry made me cry more than I have this entire year. You truly are an inspiration and an amazing woman. I can see where you have picked up your mothers legacy and she would be so very proud. What an honor to be able to read your memories.

Thank you for reminding me of what is important in life.

Liz said...


What a beautiful post. You are an amazing mother! You are setting such an incredible example for me. I will always be grateful that I met you in Cali.

You are inspirational!


Anonymous said...

I will never forget your mom's funeral. I loved hearing all of her children share memories of her. It was one of the most powerful moments when I have felt Heavenly Father's spirit.

I remember at the funeral there were about four 6-8 year old girls sitting next to each other on the stand. They were all laughing and joking when the spirit came over one of the girls and she started crying. After a minute of crying she ran over to her dad, sat on his lap and asked, "Why does my heart hurt so bad." I don't know what her father told her, but he was crying too and just held her.

I know she felt the sweet spirit we all felt that day, and i will never forget it.


Gina said...

Thanks for sharing. I now know why you're so great! I love moms!

Francine said...

I think I told you that I saw you had posted this tribute to your mom when I logged on to show my parents the pictures of Avaree as a zebra. I wanted to read it right then but knew I needed a quiet moment and lots of tissue. I'm embarrassed that it's almost a week later, but it's a hard thing to decide that you are ready to bawl like a baby. As I sit here surrounded by all my snotty balled up tissues, I think I'm done crying and then I keep looking at that first picture of your mom, and I start crying all over again. She is so beautiful and I really miss her for you. You absolutely are her daughter but I see so much of her in Avaree. I'm glad Janet mentioned her sweet voice and the way she said your name, I can totally hear her. I'm glad too that you talked about her hands and that you were able to hold her hand as she passed. You gave such a perfect description of her beautiful hands.

My favorite thing about this post and about your mom is how much she loved her children and still loves all of you. It's easy to see even in the blurry pictures. You can see it in her face, in her eyes, how happy she really was to be with her children.

Your mom really makes me want to be a better mother. I'm so glad you shared some your memories of her as a reminder of what's truly important in life. I think your mom knew what that was. I love her and I love you, Karlin!

Tristie or Dax said...

neat post, karlin. all the memories you shared are so dear. thanks for sharing so openly.

Shaundee said...

Karlin, I know you have so many comments on this post, but I can't not leave my comment and tell you how amazing this post is. I remember going to your mom's funeral and thinking what strong Kids you and your siblings were. Your mother was amazing to have raised you like they did. And I see you becoming just like her in how you are raising your kids and your siblings. What an amazing tribute to her. I pray that i have the kind of relationship with my children that you had with your mom. Thank you for sharing all of these memories with us. I don't think I have cried that hard in weeks. Love you,

melissa e. said...

Karlin, thanks for sharing these memories with us all. It must have been a difficult thing to do. I loved reading this post about your Mother and I look up to you for your example.

Bethany C. said...


Hi! I'm Janet's cousin, Bethany. She told me about you months ago and I loved reading your blog entry. You have an amazing story, and I feel like I relate even more because I too have lost a parent. My Dad was killed in a bike accident 10 years ago. One minute he was riding his bike to work. 45 minutes later, the police were at my mom's door saying he had been hit and killed instantly. There are 10 kids in our family, 6 were still at home. 10 years later, the youngest has just graduated and has been raised by all his older siblings, though not really the way you have rull responsibility for your siblings!!

Anyway, I am very touched by your story. Maybe Janet has told you, but my husband and I are starting a website called 'The Family Soup.' Its a place for people to write articles about real family challenges. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for you to write something. You are such a unique family and many, many people would benefit from hearing your experience. Please email me at if you are interested. Or maybe your siblings would like to write something. Let me know! Thank you! You are an inspiration and example and I applaud you (and your dear husband) for being there for your siblings. I too am grateful I was one of the older ones. :) I've got lots of good memories.

Ok. I think this comment is as lons as Janets. :)

Kelly N. said...

What an awesome lady! I was glad that I was able to get to know a little bit about her through this post. I can't imagine losing my mother at such a young age. I bet she is so thankful and proud of you for raising your brother and sister.