Missing Carolyn

By Rev. Lady Diannia Baty

My first cousin Carolyn is not on the earth physically any longer.  I remember a crisp fall day walking in the woods together talking about life and how much we loved each other.  That was the day she told me about her breast cancer diagnosis. We were six months apart in age and I would take regular trips to North Carolina to visit her.

I finally ended up moving here just over five miles away from her and I am so glad I did that. I loved being with her. She was my best friend in every way that word can be said. She was always there for me and never judged me…she just loved me and I loved her.

On this particular day I fried chicken and cooked all the trimmings for a Sunday dinner complete with mashed potatoes. Carolyn loved my cooking and I was only too happy to cook for her. It was a great southern meal with all the trimmings. I have so many memories of her. We loved to go on road trips together and sing, talk and listen to music and basically act like two teenagers together. Thrift store shopping and garage sales were adventures to find the ultimate buy of the day. Most of all we just loved being together and we talked on the phone every single day with few exceptions.

The bottom line is cancer took her away from us and she suffered terribly. I miss her laughter and her funny sneezes. I miss our conversations and her hugs. I miss all of it with a fierceness that takes my breath away sometimes. She has been gone for a few years now and I bring her back in my memories frequently. She had a very hard life and a hard death and now her suffering is over. I told her often how much I loved her and I wonder if she knew just how much I did? She was a fine person, honest and sweet and very giving…too giving sometimes but that was just the way she was.

When she knew that she was not going to be the victor in the cancer battle she asked me why God did this to her and I told her God did not do this. I reminded her that God was always there and told her about the light and how beautiful it would be where she was going. It seemed to bring her some peace.

I can feel her very close today. I wish she was here so I could cook some of her favorite things for her and hear her laugh again but for now I will have to listen with my heart.

The one thing that brings me more peace than anything is knowing that only her physical body is gone but she isn’t and never will be.

I am reminded that to love is to risk loss. I ask myself the question if I would have passed up loving anyone I have lost in this life so I could bypass the pain of loss and the answer is a firm NO. Each time I have loved and lost, it was totally worth it no matter the circumstances.

Dying is the easy part. Living is the hard part. We have it backwards when we think that dying is hard and living is easy. Carolyn was a person to admire and had more friends then she even knew she had. She impacted so many people an she never had a clue. She downplayed everything she did by saying that she was just doing what was right and centered in God.

I know she lives on in spirit and someday I will be with her where she is today and I am always with her in my heart. I will not defile her memory by remaining sad and full of grief. I will honor her in every way I can by being happy and joyful. And by doing what is right and staying centered in God. This is just something to think about.

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