To know Carol is to love her. She was boisterous, outgoing, loud, kind, sensitive, creative, infinitely loving, thoughtful, compassionate and fun loving. When she walked into a room, you knew it. When she left a room, you knew it. She and my dad both had the gift of gab, and I mean loud gab. They spoke loudly, used their hands to talk, made crazy gestures, silly faces and kooky noises. When speaking with them, you just had to brace yourself and go along for the ride. No matter the topic, she brought you in and was immeasurably relatable. She was a rebel at heart, always moving along to her own beat. She believed in daring to be different, she believed in being authentic and unique and I identified with her because I always felt so much like a rebel and an outsider all at the same time. She was a doting and loving mother, but also believed in the idea of being your children’s best friends. There wasn’t anything her children couldn’t tell her and didn’t. She wanted amazing futures for both of them and she believed in them whole heartedly. I have no doubt she will be pushing them along from the heavens.
She struggled like my dad as well. She believed in sobriety and practiced it in heart and soul, but often times she would fall and it wasn’t easy for any of her loved ones around her. The last time I saw her was at our annual summer concert. Since my dad passed, my aunts, sisters and cousin decided we would gather and celebrate my dad on three separate occasions: his birthday, the day he passed and in summer doing something that brought us close and kept his memory alive. So far it’s manifested in concerts: 1 Ringo and 2 Paul. At the Paul concert in late June we sat next to each other this time. We talked like we hadn’t talked before. She was clear to me like she hadn’t been before. I felt excited for her, I felt happy for her, I felt relief for her because I thought to myself, she has finally gotten this sobriety thing down. After the concert we talked even further. She told me her ex-husband was the love of her life and she was determined to get her family back together. I believed her this time. In the past, I hadn’t always believed her, but I felt in my heart this time it’s going to work. I left that concert and told my counselor about our interactions. I told her how proud I was of Carol and how I felt like she truly was a role model to people like you and I who struggle every day in one way or another.
Never did I think those moments would be our last time together. Never did I think when I told her and her daughter I love you when I left would I think it would be the last I love you and never did I think the last text I would receive from her was thanking me for organizing the concert and calling me “her beautiful girl.” When i think of the quote “the trouble is you think you have time” it couldn’t ring truer. I can’t imagine Christmas eve without her energy and laugh, I can’t imagine my dad’s birthday visiting his gravesite without her struggling through the snow and laughing along with me, I can’t imagine being with her on his anniversary and not having her wipe away my tears and there is certainly going to be an empty spot for her at the next concert.
The only thing I know for sure right now is that our group of girls that has now shrunk immensely will now incorporate even more dates: June 2 for her birthday and August 2 for her passing.
Tomorrow I face my dad’s gravesite again but for a very different reason this time, to watch my dear, sweet aunt join him for eternity right by his side like she has always been.
She was as beautiful as abstract art
As complex as a story without a start
As strong as lighting flashing at night
As colorful as autumn leaves during fall's first sight
She was wild at heart and now she's finally free