Remembering Kara

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My sister, Kara Danielle Lucas, died yesterday.

We weren’t especially close but we definitely loved each other.  I was two and a half years old on September 18th, 1978 when she made her entrance into the world. I don’t know what kind of big brother I was early on but I know I wasn’t always the best.

One time I dropped a very heavy bag of cat food on my foot. It hurt.  She laughed at me and I picked her up and threw her at the door breaking her collarbone.  I didn’t mean to, I promise.  I remember fighting with her over the front seat, having a dividing line in the backseat of the car on the way to Florida, arguing over who had to do what chores, and other typical sibling arguments that kids have.

We used to physically wrestle and while you’d think with my overpowering size and strength it was an unfair match I can tell you that often she got the best of me.  She fought dirty; the way she kicked my legs would have probably gotten her in the UFC today.

kara christmas 2009 retouchedShe married Nick Lucas on March 24, 2001.  Her daughter, Kamryn Nicole Lucas, was born on December 1, 2003.  Kamryn, 11, is in the 6th grade and is by far the smartest person in our family.  She’s going to do amazing things with her life and will make her mother extraordinarily proud.

10559706_908191942530960_2888799318165799645_nKara was always sort of unlucky.  She broke her arm in the 2nd grade (a boy pushed her down, I think, and I remember thinking I should beat him up but was far too shy then to actually do it).  She had a seemingly endless number of car accidents, health problems, and other issues.  She struggled and I have always felt some guilt that she had the monopoly on those issues.

For example, we had a cat named Biscuit who had four kittens.  Thomas belonged to our step-father and Melissa was my mom’s.  Melissa was the whiniest, but most beautiful cat you’d ever seen – we ended up banishing her outside because she never stopped meowing. Bagel was the orange and white tiger-striped guy I claimed (I’d had one named Muffin years ago).  Katie was Kara’s kitten and I think she always wished her own name was Katie (she even combined her initials, Kara Danielle, into K.D. as a nickname).  Anyway, one morning Katie met her untimely demise by running out in front of a car . . . on Kara’s birthday.  These sorts of random untimely mini-tragedies always seemed to find her.

557475_521492221200936_1456777912_nWe didn’t have much in common.  She was a tomboy. She hated to read.  She was drawn to parties, adventure, and people.  I suspect she took after our father, who died when she was only 4 years old.

Kara, at EPCOT, gritting her teeth through a smile since we arrived early in the rain
Kara, at EPCOT, gritting her teeth through a forced smile.

Also, she was usually late.

In December of 2009, we celebrated Kamryn’s 6th birthday at Disney World.  Being the chronically early-arriver that I am, decided the smart thing was to tell Kara to arrive an hour early – and that way she’d be on time.  Well, this particular day she was shockingly on time.  She called my bluff, putting us at EPCOT before it opened, in the rain.  She was not very happy with me.

The last time I saw her was a few weeks ago when I was home for the Richwood Fair.  She had been having trouble with her lungs for a while and the steroids had caused her to swell pretty badly.  Her breathing was labored and she was exhausted.

But in spite of her health problems, she was still sarcastic and had that zest for life that had always been present.  Never one to shy away from sharing her opinion (like most of my family), she also was one of the most generous and giving people I knew.

She was exceptionally talented at restaurant work; customers loved her.  She was an amazing house cleaner (she got ALL of that skill from our Mom and I none) and a fiercely loyal friend.  She loved her daughter, she loved her husband;  she just loved people.

I expect that her visiting hours will be packed with folks stopping by to pay their respects.

340640_10150402415626878_1911061931_oYesterday was rough. She had developed pancreatitis last week and the fluids they gave her to fix that issue settled around her already damaged heart.  She was trying but her body just wasn’t strong enough to function on its own.  They were going to put her on a ventilator but she began to crash and after a few hours of that, with multiple codes, and a very hardworking hospital staff, she succumbed to it.  She was 37.

I have a lot of feelings today.  I have some guilt that I didn’t make more time to see her.  I have some anger that she didn’t always make the best choices, some of which contributed to her health problems.  Mostly I am just sad.  Sad for Kamryn, sad for Nick, sad for my mother, sad for her friends who I didn’t even know, and yes, sad for me.

But I’m also relieved for her.  She had so many struggles during her time on earth and now she is completely healed.  She is with our father, Daniel Sheppard, whom she always missed so much.  She’s with Aunt Beckie and Grandma Miller.  And she’s with Jesus.

Her “religious views” section on Facebook simply said, “Jesus loves me.”  This I know.

And Kara . . .I love you too.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Sara says:

    Kirk, I can’t imagine losing my brother. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know. So sorry.

  2. Jessica Ingram says:

    Kirk,
    This is absolutely amazing and spot on! Kara was one of my best and truest friends in the world. We met when I was 17 she was18 and she has been a presence in my life ever since. I feel alot of the same feelings you do, the guilt, and anger, but most of all sadness. Sadness for her family, but most of all Nick and your amazing niece Kamryn.
    Prayer and love to everyone who ever had the privilege to know Kara.

    Jessica

  3. Joyce says:

    So sorry for your lost she was a caring person prayers for you and your family

  4. Raquel says:

    Kirk, this is beautiful, and so true. Kara was always to help me. Kara and I became good friends after our girls stared pre-k, my Sam and Kym are only 5 days apart on birthday, Kym been the oldest. I am heart broken…

  5. Rizwan says:

    so sorry to hear the sad news
    Wishing you and family and Nick and Kamryn the best

  6. Dannette Lucas says:

    Beautifully written Kirk!

  7. Jean Wedding says:

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, Kirk. You’ve written a lovely, touching tribute to your sister.

  8. cheryl adams says:

    beautiful words for your sister.. my heart goes out to you and your family. especially her husband and daughter.. I will continue to keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers as it will be a very difficult time for your family.

  9. Patty Stofcheck says:

    Written straight from the heart Kirk~I too have been emotional thinking back to when Kara started babysitting for us when our girls were little! She was our #1 sitter for so long because anytime I called her to see if she was available she would always answer “yes, Patty, you know me I have no life” ~ I knew she had a “life” and had lots of friends and to our advantage didn’t really start acquiring boyfriends till her Junior/Senior year , therefore she had a lot of spare time on her hands and always loved coming over and watching Madison and Reagan! We took her on vacation with us once to Myrtle Beach when we went with friends and there was about 5 kids that she helped entertain and watch so we could have some adult time! Like I said, she was a constant at our home for a lot of years and then I even had her come out and help me clean our new home when she was trying to get a business off the ground doing what she did best ~Cleaning and organizing! After she married Nick and had Kamryn they moved around the corner from us and I would take hand me down clothes over to her for Kamryn and she was always so appreciative! I am so happy to have had so many wonderful memories with Kara, and I am so sad that she was taken from us so young. My heart goes out to all of the family! We love you all!

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