My phone rang at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. It was one of those rainy weekends that make releasing the bedcovers difficult. But I was grateful for the serendipitous wake-up call since I had been up way too late the night before and was on the verge of oversleeping. My friend Karen was on the other end; we spoke briefly, and less than 2 hours later, she was gone.
I met Karen a little over three years ago when she came to my office at COTS to apply for a 2-year position. She was among the first of a dynamic team of twelve who would be instrumental in helping hundreds of families facing homelessness. Some of us soon realized that a portion of Karen’s zeal came out of her own experience with homelessness. At some point prior to her job interview with me, Karen and her son were living and sleeping in her car. Thankfully, by the time we met, both she and her son were residents of Peggy’s Place, one of COTS’s temporary housing facilities, and Karen had earned the reputation among much of the staff as a diligent volunteer and helper.
Any one will tell you that Karen was the linchpin for our team and one who all of us came to appreciate and admire. She became a friend to each of us individually and a loyal supporter and friend of COTS.
Though I am not privy to all of the details and circumstances that landed Karen on the doorstep of COTS as a client, I am glad to have known the person that she had become when our paths converged. I have no doubt that it was meant to be, that we were each divinely ordained to extend grace to the other. But I received the better part.
I will miss you terribly Karen. Our long talks, your scrappy strong spirit, your kindness, your quirkiness, your friendship.
Karen was a Thrive Detroit contributor and a passionate believer in our mission to provide earning opportunities for those experiencing poverty and homelessness.