Karena (Kari) Cage went to heaven on July 25th at the way too young age of 52. After she was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, Kari quit her 28 year nursing career, a role she was absolutely great at, and passionate about, to spend time with family and take full advantage of being Mimi to Lyla and Lennon, the newest lights of her life.
These past two years were a roller coaster of ups and downs. There were months where we had to call 911 almost weekly because, out of the blue, for no apparent reason at all, she'd be unable to breathe. We later discovered that it was the very meds that were supposed to be helping her fight the awful disease that were causing the breathing problems. She quit taking them and went on hospice for the remainder of the year or so she had left.
What a journey it was. Kari was a fighter until the very end. Doctors and nurses alike said they'd never seen anyone keep coming back for more; and her more was one more day at the water park, one more story, one more trip to the 99 cent store, one more dance, one more song, one more snuggle, one more time to do funny filters with her granddaughters. And the "one" mores, ended up dozens more, because she wouldn't give up and she wouldn't give in. And out of those times, precious memories were made.
Lyla, her three year old granddaughter, and Kari shared a very special bond. Some of us believe that her mommy, Lindsay, had that child as a gift to Kari! They lived with her since the day Lyla came home from the hospital until Kari had to move in with her mom and dad after breaking her back, having surgery on it, and through that being told about the cancer. But the bond between Lyla and Mimi continued to grow and though she didn't have time to develop as deep of a bond with Lennon, she loved her just as much. Kari could be bedridden for days, but if she knew they were coming over she would drag herself out of bed, get dressed, put makeup on, do her hair, and meet them at the car the moment they drove into the driveway! Even as the cancer worsened, nothing could keep her down. Last October , after days in bed, Halloween (her favorite holiday) had arrived. She'd slept all day, had a lot of pain, yet as the day started to fade, she was up and donning her "Poppy" costume and pink wig to join her grandchildren, "Woody" and "Jesse" and daughter, "Buzz Light Year" for trick or treating. She only made it a block and a half, but that was plenty for the one and two year olds and quite the memory for all of us about their Mimi's last Halloween.
Kari couldn't resist giving what money she had to anyone on the corner with a sign and befriended people everywhere she went. Compliments literally flew out of her mouth to complete strangers. Hopefully her generosity and kind heart made up for her temper and all the hand signals she spewed on any driver that happened to make her mad, especially when she was behind the wheel of her very loud and loved Dodge Durango.
Besides her two granddaughters, Kari adored, and is leaving behind four of her own children, Tiffany, Lindsay, and Brittany Cage and Gabriel (Gabe) Sepeda-Cage. Tiffany and Brittany are yoga instructors and travel buddies, Lindsay is a busy mommy who also works as a CNA and is going to nursing school, and Gabe just graduated from Sunrise Mountain High with honors and will be attending NAU. Kari is also survived by her brothers, Shawn and Josh Cage, best friend, Sara Cage, nieces Megan and Morgan Cage, and nephews Dillon and Noah Cage, parents Barbara and John (Randy) Cage, plus a loud, loving, fun bunch of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and some wonderful and very special friends.
After her grandchildren and children, Kari's love and devotion was to nursing and her patients. She loved the variety that a nursing career offered and though the majority of her time was caring for preemies and newborns, she also loved working in the ER, the Burn Unit at Maricopa County Hospital, Southwest Ambulance with her buddy Donnie and NICU at Good Samaritan and Los Ninos. Kari's faith was key in her life and in her work. She often prayed over her patients and one time she and two other nurses were working on a non responsive newborn and Kari prayed "Lord you say that when two or more are gathered together you will answer their prayer, and Lord here we are together asking you to save this baby!" and the baby coughed and began breathing!
So we thank the Lord for giving us this remarkable woman, who was feisty and funny, sometimes quick to anger, and also quick to forgive. She had a marvelous sense of humor and a generous heart. May she not rest in peace, but instead enjoy every moment of eternity. Services will be held August 13th at 11:00 a.m., at Dream City Church, 21000 N. 75th Ave., Glendale, AZ. Reception to follow. Please wear pink, purple or band tee. In lieu of flowers please donate to www.givesendgo.com/cage.