It was 1997. Late that summer I had relocated from Seattle, where I had been attending grad school in business, to Dallas Texas, and it wasn’t an easy adjustment. I had moved for a job, a great job, but I had no real friends in the area. As my birthday approached in December, my boss took me aside.
“I want to give you a special, kind of unusual, gift for your birthday,” she said. “I have a friend, Karen Gresham Nickel, who does intuitive readings for people and she is extremely talented. Perhaps she can help you with a new perspective and give you some insight towards where the next year may be headed.”
“Wow,” I thought. This was new. My boss was looking out for me in this very personal way. Never would I have imagined that my relationship with Karen would span the next two decades.
That December, on a sunny warm winter day, I went to see Karen. Her office at that time was in the front room of her apartment on Lover’s Lane, a very nice neighborhood near central Dallas. Karen had me sit at her beautiful desk. She pulled out a deck of playing cards with odd aliens on the back and started laying them on the table.
I had been to a couple of psychics before, but none of them were like Karen. She asked me almost nothing, but told me so much. Karen had an uncanny ability to know what was going on with me and the people in my life. In that meeting for my birthday, Karen was assuring and positive and helped me regain a sense of peace and calm that this move to Dallas would work out fine. I just needed to be patient.
As a 30 year-young woman, single, ambitious, attractive and adventurous, I had a lot on my mind. Was I in the right job? How long would I be in Texas? Would I get married and have a family? Over the next two years I met with Karen a few times, and every time she both inspired and calmed me and assured me my life would come together in a beautiful way.
I left Texas two years later to return to California, and shortly after that I married Bruce. Bruce and I had met at work in Dallas (we had the same boss, but that’s another story). Bruce had also relocated to California and was head over heels in love with me. Bruce had seen Karen too, and was also blown away by her manner, insight, and tremendous gift.
In California I worked with Karen remotely a few times a year, and as it happened Bruce and I moved back to Texas in 2005. Bruce had been out of work for a few years and unable to find work in his field in California. At that time, we had custody of my step-son and our toddler, Noah, who was the apple of my eye. We moved to Texas in the hopes Bruce could get back to work. Karen agreed it was a big step that would be good for us, and we were off.
Bruce and I found jobs in Texas, and started settling in to our new place in the suburbs of Dallas. However, a year later, tragedy struck. Bruce came down with a life-threatening infection and then had a stroke while hospitalized in the ICU. Karen, while she was a great seer, had not said anything about this. Perhaps Karen didn’t see it coming, or perhaps she did and it would have been too hard to hear and so she said nothing. In any case, Karen was there to help me, and my family, in the wake of this personal crisis.
My loving, devoted husband lost his ability to walk, physically care for himself, and work. He could still think - and beat me at blackjack - but he could not form complete sentences. Bruce needed a wheelchair and could not use his dominant right hand. Furthermore, my step-son had turned to a life of petty theft and drugs, and we needed to distance ourselves from him completely. I was trying to work a full time job, take care of my three year-old son, manage my husband’s care needs and rehabilitation, all while living in Dallas, far from family and friends in my home state of California. I had some friends from work, and a few family friends, but a completely inadequate support system for the degree of challenges I was facing.
Karen was an angel to me and my family during that very difficult year after Bruce’s stroke. She came to the hospital and prayed with me. Seven months after the stroke, Bruce was released to return home and live with me. Karen saw me for counseling almost weekly at that time. As I had no babysitter for my son, Karen’s husband Robert took charge of my three year-old and they watched train videos while Karen helped me to process this most difficult change of events.
I learned so much from Karen. Karen gave me hope when my life was in tatters. Karen taught me how to be thankful for what I did have, and helped me release my anger, fear and tears that came with this awful situation. She was not only my therapist, but my teacher, showing me the connectedness of the Universe and the power of love.
About a year after Bruce’s stroke, we were able to move back to California. With the help of Bruce’s family, I was able to find care facilities for Bruce to live close to me and my son. His care needs were too extreme for me to manage while working and raising a son, and I am thankful that things worked out so that he had lovely people helping him in the last years of his life.
Karen helped me again when Bruce passed in 2011, assuring me that his spirit was now free of his broken body. With her deep love and spiritual guidance, I made my way through the grief from Bruce’s death and kept going.
A few years after Bruce died I met the man of my dreams, Scott. Karen could see what a good fit he was for me, and was very happy for me. In hindsight now, I can see that Karen was gently trying to let me know that she did not see a long life for Scott. I did not want to see or hear that my time with Scott might be short, and didn’t pick up her signals.
I lost both Karen and Scott last year, in 2021. I know in my heart I haven’t completely lost them, because they are now a part of me, but their physical presence is not here on earth anymore and I am heartbroken. Karen is not here physically to help me with the loss of Scott, and while I have found other people to help me grieve, I miss her deeply.
Karen always told me I had a future speaking to people and helping people and companies to change. She was strongly supportive of my training as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. I think she wondered why it took me so long to depart from my previous career to do something new.
In 2021 I wrote a book called “An Alignment of Spirit: Finding Work You Love.” My book integrates lessons from Karen and merges them with my personal story and my study of the mind. I wish she was here to share it with me physically, but sadly, she has passed. I am fortunate that through knowing Karen, I was able to meet Carolyn Oakley, a wonderful publisher who published my book and has been extremely helpful to me on this new path. Carolyn has recently shared with me she is confident that Karen was speaking of me when she said she had a client who was going to write a book. That’s our Karen.
Never could I have imagined that back in 1997 when my boss gifted me a reading with Karen for my 30th birthday that Karen would become so important in my life. With her soft Texas accent, her frequent disconnection with reality, and her deep love for humanity, Karen was a gem. For me, Karen was a gift that kept giving until the end of her earth life.
We are remembering Karen in a Zoom call on August 14, 2022 at 5 pm Central Time. Please join us. Click here to register.