Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I want people to know what a great person Kari was...

I received this very heartfelt, beautiful email from a friend of Kari's today. With permission, I want to share some of it with you. It, among other memories shared here, helps paint the portrait of the precious life of Kari:


I have been reading your blog for a while and have wanted to write you many times but it never felt like the right time. I have known Matt and Kari since the spring of 98. At that time Matt was preaching at the church I had attended on and off. The first time I met Kari I feel in love with her. Her personality, the way she carried herself, of love of life just attracted me to her.

Yes, I had a relationship with both of them but the real relationship came from Kari. She was the "big sister" I never had. No matter what she was going through, she always had time for me. She never treated me as this little kid but as a person she cared for. After Kassidy died our youth minister left before we were suppose to go to camp. Without even hesitating Kari agreed to become our youth minister and take us to camp in Glorieta New Mexico. That trip with her, I will never forget. I really saw Kari's love for what God wanted her to do. Not many people could have put up with 15 kids, 13 of the junior high. I teach JH right now and there is no way I could have done what she did. I really got to know Kari during that trip. We talked alot about life, friends, family, and Kassidy. She knew that she would miss Kassidy always because a part of her was gone, but she understood that the Lord had a reason. She said it took her a while to come to that but she would look at Kensi and knew that she needed to take care of the precious angel she had left.

Then when she found out she was pregnant... that was funny. She came out to my car as I was getting to church and she told me she had some big news for me. She told me she was pregnant. I just looked at her because I wasn't sure if she would be happy about that or not because she said she didn't want a baby. She told me that at first she was really scared about having another child but she said it was meant to be. She told me from day one that she would call her "Grace" if it was a girl because it was by the grace of God that she was pregnant. She loved her girls oh so much. She would call me and tell me any crazy thing they did, and with Grace there was always a funny moment. She was so proud of them.

True, Kari was a hard person to crack. She, like myself, put up a wall to protect herself. We talked about this from time to time and we realized in our minds that we did this to see how bad people really wanted to get in. If you didn't care enough to try to break through the wall then maybe you didn't deserve to get inside her. Anyone who broke through and got to know Kari was never the same. I know I haven't been.

Even through our relationship started out as "preacher wife/youth" it was never just that. She became my best friend. She welcomed me into her family, trusted me with her kids, gave me a couch to lay on and vent, and a shoulder to cry on. She always wanted what was best for anyone she knew and she would do whatever she could to help that person. I had her as a youth minister and a college professor. She taught me more than she would ever know and stuff that I am just now realizing. She was my rock and I regret not telling her everything she meant to me.

When Kari died part of me died. Then when the allegations against Matt came about after I saw things with my own eyes, more of me died. I was so depressed that I almost didn't graduate college. I missed her so much. I tried to talk to someone but how could they understand what I was going through. The knock on my door the morning she died forever changed my life.

I want people to know what a great person Kari was. I want people to know that this world was such a better place with her in it. I want people to know that Kensi and Grace have so much of their mom in them. I have no doubt in my mind that they will do great things when they grow up because of their mom and what she gave them in just a short time. See Kari may be gone, but she lives everyday in those girls. Her DNA is in them and for that I know they will be ok. I want the world to know that no matter what may happen in the courts, Kari lived her life to the fullest. Understanding that life is short and don't ever regret what you could have done something about. Kari left impression on my life and I am forever grateful. I want people to know that we can make sure Kari still leaves an impact on this world by passing on what she gave us. I want people to know that Kari Lynn Baker was not only my friend, my youth minister, my teacher, but she was always so much more. She showed everyday how God used her. She lived her life for him and there couldn't have been a better person to display his great gifts to us then her. What a special angel we have in Heaven watching over us!


Thank you, Jenny!


Linda said...

Oh, Jenny, thank you for this beautiful picture of Kari...and so close to Mother's Day. God layed this on your heart for my Mother's Day gift :)...

Kari was an incredible woman...daughter....mother...sister...friend...teacher....etc. I will save this and share it with Kensi and Grace one day when they are FREE to love their mother without feeling guilty. Kari loved Kensi and Grace more than anything. The week before her death, Kari talked at length with me about spending
"mother-daughter alone" time with Kensi so that that her oldest would know just how special she was.

And Kari loved you very much, Jenny. Jim and I love you very much, too....you are part of our family....always will be :). Thank you for loving my daughter and granddaughters.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this for some time now. I am sorry for the loss you expireanced. Kari is truely a beautiful person, the lives she continues to touch now, even after her death. I personaly want to thank you for sharing this letter. It is a wonderful tribute to a beautiful life, one that we should inspire to be like.

Andrew Nelson

Julie said...

Although it is bittersweet, it's so wonderful to read what a special woman Kari was. I knew her when she was a little girl (babysat for her occasionally)and she was just as precious then as everyone says she was as an adult. Linda, I will be thinking of you this Mother's Day and praying for you and your wonderful family.

Love to you all,
Julie from Ark.

Anonymous said...

I know this is about Kari but I wanted to say something to Linda.

Thank you so much Linda for being such a great Mom to Kari and grandmother to her girls. Thank you for showing us that the bonds between a mother and a child are not bound by life or death. Thank you for showing us that even a broken heart can still love with abandon, mother your child, and seek what is right and just despite all obstacles. You have become one of my heros. You are a pillar of love and grace that stands firmly planted in God's love and shines His light through the darkness of this evil storm. You have given so much and asked for so little. Your faith in God and his love for you beam from your face even when it twisted in pain and tear stained. Thank you for not letting this grief outshine the blessing that Kari was and is. You are the perfect balance of grace and grit. I hope with all my heart that God will give you an extra measure of his peace this Mother's Day and that He will grant the wishes your heart holds for all of your children. Happy Mothers Day sweet Linda!

Ryann said...

Kari was such an incredible and beautiful person. Jenny couldn't have written it better. She inspired so many people throughout her life. Because of Kari, I am a better person. I had always hoped I could be half the mother she was was. I wanted my girls to love me as much as her girls loved her. And they did. Kensi and Grace love their mother so much. Kari was the rock in her family! And with Kari gone, the girls have crumbled. But when we are able to bring them back to our family, they will know how much they are loved and just how much their mother loved them!

Kari, on this Mother's Day, I miss you and love you so much! I wish you were here to celebrate this day with all of us!


Anonymous said...

I saw the Dulins with Kensi and Grace this weekend. They were at church on Mother's Day. How big the girls have gotten, and how much of Kari I saw in them both. I saw so much love from Jim and Linda toward the girls. No matter what they are being taught from their father, I saw that kari's girls had love for their grandparents. I praised God for this.