You’d think the better you know someone, the easier it would be to talk about them. But, that’s not necessarily true. Take Kristen for instance. There are so many aspects of who she is and who she has been in my life that it’s hard to narrow them down or put them in an order that flows or makes sense. I hope I do her justice.
One of the first things I noticed about Kristen when we met many years ago was her genuine care for young people. She was one of the leaders over high school age kids at her church. Not only did she lead, she took them places, listened to and consoled them, and was the one they knew they could call when they needed help. She really got involved in their lives and they knew she loved them.
But as I got to know her, I saw that Kristen’s care and concern didn’t stop with the high schoolers. She was that way with everyone. She’s always trying to help someone or act as a champion for a person who’s going through tough times or doesn’t have a voice. Little did she know that one day, she would be that for her own child.
Throughout Jayden’s health issues, Kristen remains vigilant. She doesn’t accept one doctor’s opinion but exhausts every option available whether it’s driving from Showlow, AZ to Tucson (many times) or down some dusty desolate road to reach a naturopath she was referred to. I know, we expect that of a mother. That’s what we do, right? Yes. But then she goes the extra mile, and does what I’m not sure many of us would do after being exhausted mentally and emotionally with a child that’s ill. She and her husband make the 4+ hour drive round trip every Saturday to take her other son, Zachary, to play hockey. She wants to be sure her oldest boy doesn’t feel slighted by all the attention required during the illness of his little brother, and for him to be certain he’s valued, loved and supported.
As part of Sisters on Purpose, a few years back we created ‘Kindness on Purpose Day’ and encouraged others to join in by doing unexpected acts of kindness for others. Kristen and her family got involved. She even shared it with in a radio interview she did in her town. This past year, as we fizzled a little ourselves in this effort, she remained strong. Remember, this was during a time that her own family was experiencing difficulties, but that didn’t hinder the efforts. Kristen and her son Zachary organized an event through his school where they collected stuffed animals. And not just a few. They got tons! These animals were donated to their local police department to use in crisis situations involving children. The officers carry them in their squad cars to give to kids for comfort in scary times.
Kristen has had her share of trials, losing her precious dad was probably the toughest she’s experienced in her life. That heartwound hasn’t healed for her, even after all these years, and probably never will. But I’m sure he’s looking down with pride at the amazing daughter she is.
In spite of the pain and hardships she’s gone through, she remains hopeful. Not only does she maintain hope in your own life, but she provides it for many others, as well. Her light of hope has brightly shone into my life, for which I’m deeply grateful.
I love you, my sweet friend.