Karen and Covid
Karen didn’t get Covid and it didn’t really affect the last part of her life but it totally changed the Funeral she had carefully planned.
My wife Gemma worked with Karen for a few years in Scarborough and they had a great working relationship. They both put patient centered care First, at all times. Karen was hugely respected by everyone I have spoken to. Professional, dynamic, dedicated and hard working. She led a team of people at Horizon’s in Scarborough and influenced many more.
Karen was diagnosed with Cancer and this diagnosis also revealed she was at the advanced stage 4. I had met Karen a couple of times prior to her diagnosis but didn’t really know her that well. As her condition worsened she and Gemma became closer and Gemma supported her whenever she could.
Karen’s family rallied and wedding plans were arranged with her daughters and son. 3 weddings happened. Karen attended all these weddings, beautifully dressed, wig in place and always put in the maximum effort.
When visited she didn’t complain or moan about anything, she just got on with the treatment and did as much as she could. No tears, no self pity.
This theme of her behavior and attitude continued and really struck a deep chord with me. Her attitude was simply incredible.
As time went on the issue of planning her funeral was raised. I honestly found this a bit of a struggle despite the fact I hadn’t known her long. I absolutely wanted to help and be there when the time came but discussing it face to face with the positive, lovely, living Karen was a challenge. I really had to prepare myself mentally for the first visit and discussion. I coped ok’ish with the meeting but as usual Karen coped better; she was matter of fact, to the point and practical as ever.
She wanted all her friends and family to attend the Funeral at Hackness Grange followed by a committal at Woodlands Crematorium with family only. She was adamant she wanted a great Send-Off with all her family and friends there to remember her and more importantly all be there for each other. Karen didn’t want anything ostentatious or ‘showy-offy’ but it did have to be right and she really wanted everyone there. The wake was also to be at Hackness Grange but Karen referred to it as a big Party. She had even planned organizing a bus or two from West Yorkshire for family and friends.
Karen and Gemma kept in regular contact and visited right up until the last couple of weeks. Karen sent text messages for as long as she could. Her family stayed with her at home as she slowly succumbed to the multiple tumors.
During this last chapter of her life Covid started to loom and it became clear that it was probably going to drastically change the funeral she had planned. It did.
I knew the call was coming but that didn’t make it any easier.
Karen died on Friday 24th April aged 59.
Pete and I went to collect her. This absolutely isn’t about me or how I felt, the upset or grief isn’t even on the register compared to what her family had been through… but it was upsetting nonetheless and I found it hard. There was no way I wasn’t going to be there however.
Gemma helped Haley clean, dress and prepare Karen. Haley did her usual outstanding job. Karen looked lovely.
Even in death Karen still managed to shine and have a presence! She had many visits and she just kept on looking amazing.
It was a massive privilege to have her in our safekeeping at Special Send-Offs.
The funeral plans had changed completely now. No buses of people. No big party, No big sound system to play her favourite songs. We were slap bang in the middle of the Covid Lockdown.
No Hugs either. That would have been in big issue for Karen.
What we did have however was Karen & David’s VW camper van. This was to be Karen’s hearse. Karen’s son and daughters liked the idea of having a drive along the North Bay of Scarborough and we stopped on Royal Albert Drive to hold the first part of her service. Colin Nolan led the service with about 20+ people around the VW van. Jo Purdy had done a lovely job of placing bouquets and decorating the VW campervan. Karen had chosen a beach themed picture coffin.
The Police kindly allowed us to continue with the service on the seafront before we moved up to Woodlands Crematorium for Karen’s Committal.
Sadly, I only really got to know Karen through her illness but I will never forget her incredible attitude though. Truly inspirational.
So as stated above, Karen didn’t get Covid and it didn’t really affect the last part of her life but it totally changed the Funeral she had carefully planned. I was honoured to help David and Karen’s son and daughters work around this as best we could.
In memory of Karen Jordan x