I don’t recall the exact instance this clarity of understanding occurred. I do, however, remember vividly the petite, glasses wearing elementary student. A permed brunette, lover of all things purple and unicorns-- and even better yet, purple unicorns, who at the age of 8 already exuded a fashion forward confidence and magnanimous personality. People have always been drawn to Carol and I was no exception.
I am able to mentally scan through the archives of my mind, sifting through the utilitarian filing cabinets, plastic-covered bins and crowded sock drawers overflowing with the moments she and I have spent with each other, the memories we created and I am grateful.
Grateful for so much laughter, buoyed up by the stolen moments wherein we opened our souls to each other under heart-covered comforters in our parent’s living rooms. Morose over the shenanigans we survived and overwhelmed by the purely, unadulterated love that I feel for her.
Photographs from over the many years of our friendship capture many of our moments in still. Looking through these photographs I am unsurprisingly struck by the continuing recurrence of Carol and I posing next to each other, most often holding onto each other, regardless of who else might be in the photograph. This is not surprising because it is how I always wanted to be and to find that this sentiment had been caught in print for me was genuinely pleasing. These captured images still hold some of my happiest memories to date.
You see, I have always been in awe of Carol, admired her in so many ways, looked up to her and desired to emulate her. The compassion and love she exudes, the fun, fly by the seat of your pants attitude she proudly dons. The tutelary friend she has always been, the devoted mother, the ardent wife. This is the type of person I would like to be. This is the person who's friendship I sincerely treasure.
As I have had the opportunity to sit at Carol’s hospital bed, resting my hand on her shoulder, soundlessly praying for her comfort, her character of strength and solicitude has never waned.
We have cried together, we have chatted like the high school girls we once were and we have sat in silence, comforted merely by the others' presence.
Carol has been asked to face challenges that would have fell Goliath sans pebble and she continues to do so with grace and determination.
We are now both in our 30’s, mothers of small children, busy with life and there have been times where the circle of perpetual schedules has come between our contact with each other and that is something I deeply regret.
Regardless of the frequency or lack there of or the distance in miles between us, I am eternally grateful and abundantly thankful that our lives paths crossed so many years ago. To me Carol has always been and will always be one of my dearest friends, someone who holds a very special place in my heart.
In the eye of this tragedy I have never been more aware than as I am now that I am not alone in my sentiments. There are so many who care deeply for Carol, for her family, for her well-being. What a wonderful testament to the outstanding person she is to witness the outpouring of love and support that has come from so many in these past few months.
I say “Thank you” to each of you because you have reaffirmed my belief in the compassion of strangers and loved ones alike.
“Thank you” because, selfishly, I needed to do something in this situation and this Auction became that and
“Thank you” because I know Carol would want nothing more than to say it to each of you herself.