Ms. Karen Alexander Stacey, 57, of Lascassas, Tennessee was called home on Saturday, December 9, 2023. She came into this world on Monday, August 8, 1966 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. John and Mary welcomed their bundle of joy, and it didn't take long for them to realize they had someone special.
Karen didn't have to grow into anyone's shoes because she came with big shoes of her own. She was a fighter to her core with a sensitive side as calming and beautiful as her favorite color, teal. So, we would like to share her story through the meaning of teal as it encompasses her life and her personality.
Teal is said to promote clarity, and the Alexander family made the clear decision to raise their children in church. They didn't want their vision to be skewed to the impurities of this world, so they made sure they were well immersed in the purity of Christ. Shiloh Baptist Church was their church home when Karen was little, and then, they moved to Bradley Creek Baptist Church, where they remained while the kids were growing up.
And growing up is where Karen really showed off the creativity and unique refinement associated with teal. A mischievous mind, Karen tackled problems in unorthodox ways. While the rest of the siblings were off to school, she and Sam decided they were cold. A fire sounds like a fairly reasonable answer on how to take the edge off the chill, except Karen decided outside was too cold for that. Instead, she and Sam built their fire in the middle of the floor, leaving quite the surprise for John and Mary to find.
As for the unique refinement, Karen was in the mindset of constant improvement, and in order to accomplish that, she renovated herself throughout her life. The period that stuck out to her siblings the most involved her attire. Tina remembers them wearing old sloppy clothes, but Connie was quick to add that Punky Brewster might more accurately describe her sisters' style. Karen and Tina would wear their polka dots and stripes with mismatched socks creating a hodgepodge outfit that somehow worked for them.
Obviously, those outfits didn't stick around forever, but there were core traits that did. Karen's creativity never faded in her life. Getting inspired by music, she could come up with a dance on the spot, and she was content with her family's smiles as spotlights and their laughter as applause. And if her feet weren't grooving, her hands were moving. Karen enjoyed writing poems, doing crafts, and coloring. Yet, creativity and uniqueness weren't Karen's only overlaps with teal. In fact, the symbolism of teal is actually where Karen's likeness shines most.
Karen believed in showing love and decency to others. Her heart of gold extended to anyone, and she would have willingly given the shirt off her back to a stranger in need. This paired well with her career in housekeeping at Rutherford County Hospital. Karen didn't mind doing the necessary underappreciated work that kept everything running smoothly. Her compassion for others must have stemmed from her raising in the church because Karen had the spiritual gift of being a sacrificial giver. There was no expectation of reciprocity, and she wasn't going to take anything in return. That mentality went double whenever it was family.
Growing up in a close-knit family, there was no question that Karen loved her siblings and that they loved her. Karen was known to say "I love you always" whenever her siblings would leave after a visit, and it was that love and Karen's determination to be a fully renovated person that kept her fighting. While yes, there were many laughs shared and happy times, Karen also fought with the darkness of this world.
There is no argument as to who Karen loved most on this earth. Her sons, Eric "Bigen" and Brian "Worm," were undoubtedly the top of her list. Having children is like wearing your heart on your sleeve, and losing both of them cut into Karen's very being. This is where teal comes back into play. It is known to be calming and even beneficial for emotional healing, so there is something about Karen's affinity to it that shows her fighting spirit and her inward cry.
Losing Bigen and Worm caused Karen to begin a new mission in life, and she dedicated her life to caring even more for others. When her cousin, Diane, was sick, Karen stepped in to be a caregiver. Turning her darkness into light for others, she became involved with groups of parents against drug addiction and was a fierce advocate. It wasn't until her health issues became too heavy of a load to bear alone that she slowed down.
Through it all, Karen believed "the Man up there" would carry her through and continued participating in church from home, watching the sermons of World Outreach Church. She saw the blessing of the family He had given her. She saw the blessing of the friendships that He had placed in her path, especially her close friend, Janet. She saw the blessing of her 145 lb. baby Pitt bull, Caesar, as a cuddle buddy and companion. Even in the darkness, Karen could always see the one true light.
While Karen's passing has brought a new darkness to the lives of those who loved her, it would be her hope that the darkness had a hint of teal. That there would be clarity in their lives, calm in where she has gone, continued decency to others and one another, and creativity in finding ways to continue serving others. Karen officially achieved her goal of becoming a fully renovated person. If she could give advice to people, we believe it would be the quote, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” And if she could leave her family with anything, it would be "I love you always. I had to go. My heart was calling me home."
Greeting her on the other side are her parents, John Allen and Mary Helen Roden Alexander; sons, Eric Lee "Bigen" Stacey and Brian Ray "Worm" Alexander; and brother, Johnny Roden. Cherishing her memory until they join her are her brothers, Sam (Nancy) Alexander, Marty (Kathy) Alexander, and Frank (Angela) Alexander; sisters, Connie (Jim) Bradley, Tina (Mike) Adcock, and Kryslynn Standley; grandchildren, Kobe Alexander and Gregory Livingston; special friend, Janet Hearn; her baby, Caesar; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Sunday, December 17, 2023 from 10 am - 2 pm. Memorial services will follow on Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 2 pm in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel. Bro. James Wade will officiate.
Share memories and condolences at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story