Karla Provided Hope To Many

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Karla Jean Bathon, Donor

Karla Provided Hope To Many

Posted January 7, 2014


Note: Karla Jean Bathon provided hope for countless people throughout her life. Born with a condition that caused paralysis of the legs, bone-formation abnormalities and respiratory ailments, Karla became the March of Dimes Poster Child as a three year old in 1968. Upon her death in December 2012, she continued to provide hope as a registered organ, eye and tissue donor. Below is the story her sister Christine shared at Karla’s funeral.

banthomKarla Jean Bathon

Here we are to say good-bye to someone who is no longer with us, and she is my little sister. Thank you all for coming and showing some love for my little sister. You know if you didn’t show up, Karla would have called you and asked you why you weren’t here. So thanks again for coming.

When Mom asked me 13 years ago to talk at Ronnie’s funeral, I didn’t think I’d be able to get through it, but I did it for Mom. Then, five years ago, I did it again for my Dad’s funeral, and somehow made it through. Now, here today, I’ll try again. But like everyone in the world, my heart this week was broken for all the little children taken from our lives way too early and then on Tuesday it happened. Karla was gone way too early. She was only 48, and like those little 6 year old kids that died just when their lives had just begun. Karla too never got to experience a lot of firsts in her life. She never had a first date, a first kiss, a first boyfriend, first time of love, a marriage or children of her own or time to grow old gracefully. But there was something that Karla did have that some kids never got to experience. That was a Mother and Father and a family that loved her very much. Both of my parents did anything and everything for Karla and never complained.

When Karla was born, my Mom would cry because she could not touch or hold her until she was two months old.

Karla finally got to come home from the hospital when she was two months old. She was so cute, and she had such a pretty smile.

She was like a little broken doll. Her legs didn’t work, but she was my sister and she never complained.

When we were kids, she would crawl to the front door and watch us playing outside. Then Mom and Dad got her one of those big wheels that you got in and rolled with your arms. We would put Karla in that thing, cross her legs, and she would fly up and down the street with the biggest smile on her face. She had so much fun in that thing. She had three of them.

She watched her sisters and brothers grow up, move out, get married, and have kids of their own. She was happy for us, but wanted it too. She loved our kids and was a great Aunt to them.

Over time, Karla did not smile as much, but she never complained. Her body just would not cooperate with her any more. I can’t imagine being locked in a body that does not do what its supposed to do, but I’m sure it had to feel like being locked in a prison, but she never complained. I think she just got tired of watching through the window.

When our Dad died, a part of Karla died too. She loved and missed him very much like we all did, but she never complained.

Karla loved the color red, the Cardinals, Bingo, and playing cards with family and friends.

But she didn’t like losing at any of them, especially the Cardinals. I’m so glad we got to watch them win together; it made her so happy. My cousin, Donnie, told his brother, Bobby, that she was in heaven playing cards with Ronnie and Dad. I’m sure if she is playing cards, she will make up the rules and tell them to deal for her, because she hated to deal.

You can’t talk about Karla without talking about my Mom. What this woman has done and given up in her life for her daughter is, in itself, a miracle. She is my rock, and I have so much respect for her and for what she did and does for Karla and her children. She will know this, but she is my hero. Karla told Linda that she had to die before Mom because no one could take care of her the way my Mom has. That was so true. My Mom was her right arm and Karla was the left. They did everything together, and we are going to miss her very much.

Karla told Keith and I on Sunday that we weren’t having a Christmas party without her, and she was right again. Today was supposed to be our Christmas party. She’s here, and look at how many people came to her party.

She loved parties and dancing at weddings with her Uncles and cousins.

Our luncheon after mass today was a party for Karla. When you all get together with your family and friends for Christmas, I hope you will think about Karla and her smile and say, “Thank you, Jesus” because her entire family was with her.

The morning she died, I called her name. I told her to give Dad a big kiss, and she opened her eyes one last time. She is now walking with Jesus with a big smile and running to her Daddy for the first time to dance The Tennessee waltz with him.

We love you, we’ll miss you, and with time, we will see you again. My little sister, Karla Jean. She is not broken any more.


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