Today, I would like to talk about my beautiful sister, Carol. We lost her to cancer on October 17, 2015. I think of her every day and feel the loss when I realize that I won’t be calling her in PA after walking the dogs, or texting her during Patriots games.
I refuse get all sappy and maudlin, because she would hate that. And I would hate doing that, spouting platitudes and meaningless accolades. I love and understand her too much for that.
I choose to celebrate her life, to marvel at the person she was, to believe (and I do) that she is still with us. A spirit like that can never be gone. Energy like that can never be destroyed. I know she still guides and inspires me daily. I know that like I know the sun rises in the East.
As she was the first born, I always called her #1, and she was – in every way. She called me Leezie (my middle name is Lee).
Carol didn’t judge. She had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of compassion and understanding, even when circumstances were beyond anything with which she had first-hand knowledge. She felt all should be forgiven and all given a second (or third or fourth) chance.
She had four sisters, five children, many grandchildren, and too many friends to count. She was a brilliant artist with her handwork, quilting, knitting, embroidery, rug braiding. She was a teacher, a coach, a reader, a cook, a walker, an animal rescuer. She maintained a zest for life, even in difficult times. Her interests and hobbies were many, but she always left her mind open to learning – always learning.
Faith means a great many things to a great many people, and she incorporated the Lord’s teachings into her life so totally. She worked hard at it, but she LIVED it. That’s the thing. She lived it. She didn’t talk AT you about it.
#1 was my loyal champion. She knew my faults and accepted that they were a part of me, but she recognized the good as well, and loved me for who I am. When she loved you, she never forsook you. It was a total embrace, flaws and all. We are all works in progress.
Carol inspires me on a daily basis. It was through her that I learned to just let a lot of things go, to experience the enormous freedom that happens when you let go of anger and hurt, the power of forgiveness. People are going to do what they want to do and think what they want to think. There is nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can change is how you react to them.
One of the best things she ever said was, “Don’t go where you are tolerated, Leezie, go where you are celebrated.” And I do.
She actually made the world a better place. How many people can say that?