Truth is Stranger than Fiction

October 10, 2011 | Karin's Blog | 12 comments

I have often said, if I wrote about half of the stuff that went on behind closed doors at my husband’s PD, no one would believe me. I still stand by that comment. And here’s why: In the last week and a half, I have been exposed to some interesting new characters and run the emotional gamut, some of them unbelievable. 

As many of you know, my nephew died tragically and very unexpectedly Friday, September 30th.  I’m still coming to terms with the reality that he is gone.  It seems surreal.  And wrong.  So very, very wrong on all accounts.  I flew out before sunrise less than 48 hours after my brother called me with the terrible news. There was no hesitation on my end. He needed me, I needed him and I was going to be with him and my family as soon as humanly possible.  The week was wrought with heartache, and bittersweet smiles.  My nephew was generous even in death.  I had the occasion during this terrible time to reconnect with my parents, my niece, and surviving nephew as well as make new friends.  The raw emotions of last week will forever be imprinted on my heart.  The gut-wrenching despair, the silver linings of the gifts my nephew bestowed on so many and the realization of who I am and what I am capable of has not only profoundly changed me, but will no doubt find a way into future heroes and heroines.

I rushed home from my east coast family in the wee hours of this past Friday morning back to the west coast, to prepare for my eldest daughter’s wedding the next day.  I was in a daze most of Friday and Friday night.  While I had been my family’s rock back east, I felt as if I did not have the closure there that I needed because I had to hurry back for my daughter’s wedding.


I woke Saturday morning crying. I drove around town Saturday running errands, crying.  I called my mom, crying. I realized as I cried and could not stop crying, that I had been so busy taking care of everyone else, I hadn’t had a chance to mourn my nephew.  So I allowed myself that. Even though it was my daughter’s wedding day, I cried tears of sorrow.  I knew I had to give myself whatever it was I needed so that when I saw my daughter later in the day, I could smile and cry happy tears for her.  If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would have done everything the same.  My brother needed me.  My sister-in-law needed me, my parents needed me. They all needed me to be strong for them.  I was glad and proud to be that person for them. Though I pray I never have to do it again for anyone in my family.  Loosing a child is the ultimate tragedy for a parent.  My heart aches every second of every minute for my brother and sil.

But life has a way of giving you happy tears when you need them most.


When I helped my daughter put on her wedding dress and she turned and smiled at me, I lost it.  When her dad walked in and beheld her and smiled proudly, I lost it.  As my eldest son walked me down the aisle and sat me in the front row, I cried.  And as my daughter glided, beautiful and beaming down the aisle on her father’s arm, I bawled like a baby.  Happy tears.  Big fat wet ones.  I’m smiling now as I type this.  It was a good day after a week filled with heartbreaking ones. 


It was also an interesting gathering of families.  I’m not going to go into detail but I am going to tell you this:  On my daughter’s wedding day, as we were gathering for a family photo, the Tabke’s were dubbed, ‘The glamorous it family.’ Now under most circumstances, one would smile and think, gee, thanks for the compliment, and while I am smirking in the corner, the label was not given with love and affection. It was cast by a small, jealous heart.

What can I say?  My fam rocked the house.  We looked good, we partied like rock stars and we thoroughly enjoyed each other and most everyone else.  The party poopers?  We ignored them.   Someone forgot to tell them the day wasn’t about them, but about two kids who have waited seven years for their day.                   

I had a few of the same realizations back east.  In fact, I’ve had a lot of realizations in the last ten days.  I always knew I was strong in will but knew I was a complete pile of mush when it came to emotions.  I discovered I am stronger emotionally than I gave myself credit for.  I discovered, that like me, my brother can’t kill anything, not even the cricket that was jumping around on his kitchen floor. I watched as he gently gathered the bug in a paper towel and let it go out front on the lawn.  I thought only I did that.  As an aside, we almost crashed a half a dozen times dodging suicidal squirrels.

I once again was reminded never to judge a book by its cover, and that still waters run very deep.  It was driven home to me in the chain of events that occurred last week as well as during observations and conversations during my daughter’s wedding. Human nature is strange but oh so predictable.  Life is a soap opera. Mad people stay mad.  Grumpy unhappy people stay grumpy and unhappy and those who hold decade’s long grudges never get to move past them. 

Life is too short to point fingers and throw stones.  Life is a blessing that we must all rejoice in.  We are precious gifts to each other with one certainty in life: death.  Does that mean embrace the nasties, the untrustworthy and those who find it easier to scowl and be miserable?  Absolutely not.  If anything, these past ten days have reminded me that those unfortunates have no place in my life.  My life is not perfect. It is filled with imperfect people, but the one thing those whom I chose to surround myself with are, are true to me, even if some of them may not be true to themselves.

I can’t cast demons from a man’s heart or fill a waspish woman’s with sunshine but I can be true to myself and in so doing be true to those who matter the most to me.

How about you? What has touched you so deep it has made you look at the world a little different?


  1. Karin Tabke

    The first pic is me and my girls!
    Second pic is my two girls and the third is daddy and his little girl.

  2. Edie Ramer

    Both your girls are gorgeous, and so are you. As for what touched me, this blog touched me and made me look at the world a little different. Your strength and your capacity to live your life to your fullest. A mutual friend of ours who refuses to gives in to the rat-bastard cancer touches me. Steve Jobs touches me. My 19 year old beagle who’s still eager to go for walks touches me. She’s got arthritis and limps, but that doesn’t stop her. She’s a great dog.

  3. Karin* aka Harlow!

    Edie, I heart you so much! I wish I was there to have a beer with you and our brave friend! xoxoxoxoxo

  4. Bonnie

    When I read about the people that were blessed by the organs your nephew was able to donate, I cried. If ANYTHING good could come out of such an incredible tragedy, that was it.
    Harry Moseley has made me look at my world in a different way. And I can NEVER AGAIN sit back and not do SOMETHING to make this world a better place. That little boy showed, overwhelmingly, the power of ONE.
    God Bless Timmy, and Harry – who are now at peace in a beautiful place – no more sorrow, no more pain, no more death. Godspeed to two wonderful people xoxo

  5. Edie Ramer

    Karin, I heart you back!

  6. Virna DePaul

    You love and are loved so fabulously, Karin. Hugs! V

  7. Jerri

    First, I’m so sorry for the loss of your nephew, Karin.

    Congratulations on your daughters nuptials!

    To answer your question–that would have to be holding my granddaughter for the first time. Quite the humbling experience.

  8. Karin* aka Harlow!

    Indeed, Bonnie, Godspeed to those two amazing boys.

    I love and miss you.

  9. Karin* aka Harlow!

    ah, Jerri, I am so with you on the amazement of holding a granddaughter for the first time. I cried such happy tears. It is truly a blessing. We are lucky ladies.


    Wow. This is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt posts I’ve ever read, anywhere. I’ve always loved your writing, K-Tab. You slice a vein and put it on a page. And the blood is real.

    Always in awe of my gal,

    xx J

  11. Robyn

    I picked up your book in the anthology Men Out Of Uniform then immediately went out and bought whatever I could get my hands on. Except what was I thinking to start with Blood Law because the next two don’t come out till next year? Had to mention it because I was reading Wanted when I got the phone call that told me a friend had died instantly in a car accident. I’d had brekky with her less than 12hrs beore. That was 5 weeks ago. Again with the displacement thing; I went to her funeral in the morning, then went home and changed and went to a kitchen tea for another friend’s wedding which was a week later. My 29 year old son, my only child whom I would swear recognises nothing unless it relates to him turned up the night after the funeral and the kitchen tea, walks into the house and wraps his arms around me. He pats me on the back, gives me a big hug and kisses me on the forehead. That’s it. No platitudes or sorry’s or how was your day? So my defining moment? The people who care and love you are always there.
    PS. And the wedding was a wonderful celebration.

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