About a year after the transplant, life was looking up again. John made a full recovery and was back at work. Kara still worked at the country club and 6-year-old Tre was pursuing his interest in acting.
One evening as she was preparing dinner, Kara, 37, collapsed in the kitchen due to an undiagnosed heart condition called cardiac tamponade. She died almost instantly. John’s friends and family immediately swarmed him with support. He needed it. “The day after Kara died, I went to dress Tre, but realized I had no idea where any of his clothes were,” he recalls. “Kara took care of all of that.”
Among the condolence calls John received was one from Helen Rodriguez-Burton, his insurance agent. A year earlier, Helen had met Kara at a workshop she conducted for employees of the country club. Watching her husband battle his liver disease made Kara worry about what would happen to her family if she died suddenly. So she purchased a term life insurance policy from Helen.
“Kara’s life insurance was an absolute gift from God,” John says. “If we didn’t have it, Tre and I would be in much worse shape now.” John has become more comfortable in his role as a single parent. Tre, too, is adjusting. He went on to have a role in a production of “The Music Man” at the Amarillo Little Theatre and was recently cast in a commercial.
“Kara gave birth to our wonderful son, she nurtured me through my illness,” John says. “She was my guardian angel.”