"I am playing with myself,
I am playing with the world's soul,
I am the dialogue between myself and el espiritu del mundo.
I change myself, I change the world."

Gloria AnzaldĂșa

03 July, 2008

My Friend, Carolyn

My friend Carolyn died this morning. She was --I don't know--79? 78?

Carolyn was an amazing woman. She had polio as a young girl and in her later life developed what they call "post polio syndrome." All the time I knew her, she was on those crutches you see beside her. Carolyn was a social worker, an English teacher, a civil servant, and I don't know what else. She lived in Turkey for several years, developing many life-long friends.

I met her in 1992 when I had just moved back to Texas. She and my friend Jane went with me to see Romeo and Juliet in the park.

Like my mother, Carolyn was a volunteer at CASA (Child Advocates San Antonio), where she met with children who were in the family court system and acted as a go between for all of the different services and the court. She also volunteered at the San Antonio Public Library and the San Antonio Zoo.

Carolyn was a world traveler. Besides her life in Turkey, Carolyn took trips to Europe, Alaska, South America, Greece, and anywhere the winds took her. While she often traveled with friends, she also did a great deal of that travel alone. On crutches.

Shoot, I can barely drive to Austin by myself without whining.

Carolyn had many dear, dear friends and a few loves, but she never decided to settle down with anyone. On her 75th birthday, Carolyn rented a barge and took 20(ish) of her dearest friends on the San Antonio River complete with fajitas and pitchers of margaritas. I was honored to be among that crowd. It was a great party. Indeed, I hope to do the same thing on my 50th birthday later this year.

Carolyn had three cats at the time of her death. I'm going to take the oldest one, Chatty (20 years old) to the vet this afternoon, so she can join Carolyn. At her age, and in her present state of health, it is the kindest thing. The other cats will go to the Animal Defense League.

I loved Carolyn and I will miss her. Here is a picture of Carolyn, our friend Jane (still with us, thank goodness), and my mother. I like to think of Carolyn and Mom having some wine and Indian food right about now.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It sounds like she had a wonderful life.

Mrs. G. said...

I'm sorry to hear this, PJ. It's been a tough few months for you, hasn't it. That last picture is a stitch.

Claire B. said...

Oh, I'm sorry, Prof. J. She looks so lovely.

Someone I know died yesterday (my age, with 3 teenage kids) and two other people I knew died in June. It's been a bummer of a summer.

Be well. Thank you for sharing her story. Makes me wonder what they'll say about me. World traveler is a good one. So is volunteer, child advocate and "she had three cats".

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I am sorry for your loss Professor J. Love and warm thoughts are coming your way.

Mary Alice said...

I am sorry to hear of the loss. She sounds like she made a wonderful difference in many lives. The kitty thing has to be hard...I wish you strength my friend whne you have to take her cat to the vet. You are a dear friend to take that on.

Scout said...

This is a beautiful tribute. She sounds like an amazing person—she was lucky to have you as a friend to remember her so warmly.

Mark A. said...

Good lord, '08 is turning out to be a fucked up year. I'm starting to get numb.

Melanie said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Karen. She was lovely. Loss is in the air lately, I think.

Sojourner said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Karen. She does sound like a lovely person. I understand the loss of a dear friend. It hurts a lot. And truly you are a good, good friend to take on the task of sending her kitty to be with her! Hope you are doing ok. I am back in Omaha, so give me a call if you need to talk.

Starshine said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and for you kind comments. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend Carolyn, and your mom, too. It is comforting to think of your loved ones reuniting in Heaven, isn't it? :)

Your plans for your 50th birthday sound like fun! I grew up in San Antonio and know the trill of the river barges.