Although I read Kara’s last book months ago when the publisher sent it to me, Jason gave me a hard copy last week, and I admit that it’s totally different holding the finished product in my hands. It represents bittersweetness—the grace Kara encountered in her long goodbye.
Most of the deaths of people in my life, including my parents, have happened suddenly. The first death of someone I knew was a boy in my high school youth group who was shot as a result of road rage. A few years later, my beloved Grandpa was rushed to the hospital and died in surgery before I was able to even get to the hospital to say goodbye. And of course, when my parents died, we were glad it was sudden so that they didn’t suffer; yet, because it was mercifully immediate, none of us got to say goodbye.
So walking cancer with Kara, who was blessed with a long goodbye, was completely new for me. It was beautiful. If you have been reading her writings for any amount of time, you know well the picture of grace that her life was, the amount of love showered down on her in her illness and suffering. The joy she chose to choose rather than wallowing in self pity. The hope she preached to the very end. The love she lavished her family and community with. Her gratitude for a tender, passionate Father who was preparing a place for her.
Kara’s final book, And It Was Beautiful, is being released March 1. It is a compilation of her writings—a kind of best-of-the-best—telling her story of choosing joy, being met by grace, and finding hope in the midst of cancer and death. It will remind you of where our hope is and where we can find this grace that Kara spoke so delightedly of. It’s not to be missed.