Karen Ann Sydow was born on December 9, 1959, and at the start of September this year, she passed away. Her brother took it upon himself to pen a few words for her. She had cerebral palsy and only ever said three words: “Mom,” “Donalds,” and “piano.”
In her obituary, her brother Eric managed to pay tribute to her in a few simple words. He spoke of her great love of McDonald’s and her affection for music. She was 61 years old when she passed, and Eric told of their last day together.
In the obituary, titled “A Special Sister,” he said that he took a bike ride with Karen during their final visit. When they stopped, she said, “Mom, mom, mom.” He hugged her and informed her that their mother had passed away in May of this year.
Eric shared that his sister understood their loss, and he watched a tear run down her face. His sister, whom he described as someone with no “wants or misgivings,” passed away two weeks later. He believes she wanted to be with their mom.
A day later, I was still floored by Erik Sydow’s obituary for his sister Karen. And I was moved by the response here. I wondered if he’d seen it. So, I called him — and he was stunned by the support. More than anything, he wanted to tell me about Karen: https://t.co/6mGrAkuuSA
— Daniel Miller (@DanielNMiller) September 21, 2021
The final sentence of the obituary addressed Karen directly. Eric told her that he wished he was able to make her laugh one last time. He expressed: “I needed you too.” The love he had for his sister was evident, and it touched hearts.
Eric never anticipated that his tribute would go viral, but it did. Since the obituary was posted on Twitter, thousands of netizens have commented and reshared it. Users called the message beautiful, and many offered Eric their condolences.
This brought tears to my eyes. You could feel the love and sense if loss in it.
— sliston (@sliston3) September 19, 2021
One person wrote: “Stunning how a few words fully formed Karen in my mind. RIP, dear one. Thank you for sharing this.” Another shared this sentiment and added that it was a “privilege” to read her story.
People also shared their own experiences with death. One user said: “I’m dealing with a dying parent. This is so beautiful.” Many thanked Eric for sharing the love he had for his sister with the world.
If the point of an obituary is to make you feel you knew the person and to share their loss then the fact her brother did so in so few words is astounding. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing your sister with us Erik. I’m so sorry for your loss.
— Mosatch8 (@Mosatch8) September 19, 2021
SPEAKING WITH ERIC ABOUT THE ONLINE REACTION
A netizen expressed: “Thank you for sharing a snippet of a beautiful soul and a loving brother and family. I really really needed this beauty today.” People also inquired about Eric’s details because they wanted to send him “messages” and “gifts.”
Daniel Miller, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, shared that he had called Eric to speak about his tribute’s impact online. Miller said: “More than anything, he wanted to tell me about Karen.”