A very dear person passed away over the weekend.
I met Karen when I worked with her at Sirona several years ago. We worked together via the telephone, so actually our voices met first! As many of you may know, you can tell a lot about someone by their voice. I liked her right away.
She was a supervisor, but she was every inch one of the gang as well. She was always a calm, reassuring, even loving presence at work. If Karen was on the job, I always felt better knowing that. When I was new in my role, of course I made some mistakes. When Karen was the person in charge and I needed to reach out for help, she was one hundred percent there for me. She somehow made me feel like she had made that exact same mistake dozens of times, just last week in fact. And hey, it was no big deal! Oh, and here’s how to fix it. And by the way, here’s how to do it better next time. You may have heard that “Nurses eat their young.” Well, Karen never got that memo. Karen nurtured her young.
There is little that is more comforting in nursing than knowing that your supervisor has your back.
I did get to meet her in person as well, in 2013. We were part of the Sirona Seedlings at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I was new to the company and didn’t know a lot of people yet. My daughter came with me, and we walked the track for a while, and we lit votives to honor my parents who had both died from cancer. My mother had the same cancer that Karen endured. Anyway, I was humbled by the grace of this woman who, just a short time after the event, sent out a heartfelt email message to thank each of us for coming, by name, and she included what it was that each of us had done to participate.
I still have this message. I still have my Sirona Seedlings T-shirt. And I still have Karen in my heart.
Farewell, Karen. Like so many, many others, I am better for having known you.