Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In memoriam, Karen Roel (1946 - 2012)

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland

Karen Roel, was the 5th and only girl in a family of 6. She was born of César Roel, a successful Mexican lawyer, and Josephine Schreurs, and accomplished violinist.

Being a child of a violin player, she grew up surrounded by music and creativity. Two of her older brother were rock stars in the late 50's and 60's. 

She recorded her own albums, but she made a career on composing music for commercials and movies. Along with her younger brother, Eduardo, she won an "Ariel" (the Mexican equivalent to an Oscar) for the score of "Rojo Amanecer", a movie portraying the tragic events occurred on Tlaltelolco on October 2, 1968. Her work since then, had been nominated for several awards.

Her pride and joy were her two daughters: Amanda and Sabina. Her best gift in life, her beautiful grandson León, with whom she shared birthday.

Her husband died of a massive heart attack 27+ years ago, so she had to face being a single mother since her girls were 8 and 5 years old.

Four years ago, she was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She fought hard to continue living. She didn't want to loose a day with her daughters and grandson.

After her second round of chemotherapy, she was declared in remission. At the beginning of April, she was rushed to the hospital due to complications to her liver and kidneys.

As the fighter she was, she put all she had to get well. Sadly, will is not what she needed to recover as her body began to shut down.

She died peacefully at 10:20am on Tuesday, April 17, in the arms of her beloved daughters and in the presence of one of her sister-in-law, her younger nephew, two of her nieces and a dear friend of her girl's.

I was honored to be chosen -by life, by her and by God- to be present at that powerful, life-changing moment, once again witnessing the greatness of love, as it conquers death.

As her oldest niece, I can say that she was a loving aunt. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was always nice and caring.

I saw her frustrated, annoyed, happy, sad, worried... but never angry. Maybe I was lucky, but I don't think so.

I consider myself lucky to have spent many days of my youth at her house, listening to her play her piano. 

She was gracious enough to help us with our school projects when they involved music, I remember many happy hours at her recording studio.

When my grandma died, I spent many hours with her, cleaning the house and reading letters and papers and stuff. Those moments, alone with my aunt, at grandma's house, are treasured memories I will always hold close to my heart, as we were able to share many family stories among us.

Dear aunt Karen, thank you so much for being an important part of my life. Please know that you will be always loved and MISSed...

... Until we meet again,