Tuesday, March 24, 2009

For Me

Thanks, Laurie Erickson for this wonderful photo of Carolyn and Jack, who gave her so much love and laughter.

Just about one year ago, Carolyn called me up and said she didn't feel right. "Something just isn't right," she said.

Carolyn was the perennial picture of health. Always fit, trim, though she'd tell me she'd been 'eating like a hog' and had gained five pounds. I knew better. She loved DQ.

She was so well versed in things medical, but this had her puzzled and she went to the doctor. They didn't find anything, but tried some meds. They didn't help. Maybe they did, she said. Maybe a little.

I saw her at the American Whippet Club National in April. She looked great! She traveled from western Pennsylvania, and I travelled from western Kentucky and we gave each other an excited hug in Oregon. To my relief, Carolyn looked fine.

"You look great," I said.

"I'm feeling better," she said. But...

Days after we got home she called again. "Something is really wrong. I've been tripping. I fell down this morning. And have you seen how many typos are in my emails?" [We phoned and emailed every day. She was better at phoning than me.] "My hand doesn't do what I tell it."

I felt a chill. One of those deep, soul-stopping bad feelings. You need to go back to the doctor. Today. Tomorrow.

It was Carolyn, so she already had an appointment for the next morning.

And then there was the emergency CT scan and Greg was calling me from the hospital and she was having brain surgery to have the damned damned damned glioblastoma removed and I felt so useless and how on earth could this be?

Carolyn did everything in her power to recover.

Greg died in December. Carolyn was talking to me on the phone that morning. We talked about how Bea did at the show. When she went upstairs to wake him he was gone.

They were friends in kindergarten. Prom dates. Married after college. Greg was fifty-six.

I have worried every day about Carolyn for a year. I have felt so sad that she has had to face this. She loved this life. She loved all the birds at her feeders. The best fed birds in the world. She loved "Chipper" with his full cheeks. She loved Greg so deeply. She loved her dogs, God knows she loved those dogs. The first time I heard of the miracle of puppy breath was from Carolyn. She loved her little 94 year old mom, who stayed by her side. She loved Greg's dear sisters.

And she loved her fortunate friends. She loved her brother who fixed her computer. She loved her flowers and her vegetable garden. She loved to cook. She made the best salsa from her garden in the world. And Christmas cookies! She loved to laugh. How much we laughed! We would talk, sewing machines whirring in the background, one in Pennsylvania, one in Kentucky, and laugh until we had to put the phones down, get up from our sewing machines and go pee.

She loved to go and do. To watch dogs running in the yard. To watch Spice stalk a squirrel, so quiet and patient like a cat.

And this morning, she peacefully passed from this life into the next.

It occurred to me, when I hung up the phone from the 5:30 am phone call, that I am relieved of the sadness I have felt for Carolyn.

Now, I am left with my own.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear of Carolyn's passing. My sympathy is with you and all that knew and loved her.

  2. Oh, what a sad, sad day. I will carry you and so many that Carolyn loved in my heart.

    Gentle hugs,


  3. Francarrich from WWMarch 25, 2009 at 1:58 AM

    Friends like Carolyn leave a HUGE hole in our lives when they leave us but every day there will be something good to remember, you hear a voice in your mind, know exactly what she would have said in certain circumstances, so, while you will miss her physical presence, really she will always be with you.

    My sympathy & best wishes to you, Patience.

    Carol, Banjo & Aida.

  4. i am so sorry for the loss of your friend....what a beautiful tribute to her, and what a wonderful friend you were.....

  5. Oh Patience, that is so very sad and I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you *hugs*

  6. Dear Patience,

    How blessed you and Carolyn were to have that profound friendship. We can only imagine the deep hole her passing has left -- and just want to send you our love and many hugs to help in your sorrow.


  7. I am so sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful memorial to your dear friend.

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  8. I'm so sorry about your friend. This was such a wonderful tribute to her. Your in my snuggles & my Mommy's prayers.
    Hugs & Snugs
    Eduardo the Snuggle Puggle

  9. I'm so sorry, Patience. What a beautiful tribute you've written to honor her and your friendship. I'll be thinking of you.... xooxxomt

  10. Such a beautiful, bright soul. You made me feel like I too knew Carolyn. Sorry for the deeply felt loss of your dear friend, now an angel. many many xxxx's and ooo's

  11. Patience, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Your beautiful tribute brings tears to my eyes, and I know they are nothing compared to the sorrow in your heart today.

    My thoughts are with you and all whom Carolyn loved.

  12. So sorry to hear about your friend, and what a great memorial to her.


  13. A heartbreaking experience; you have conveyed your feelings well. I am sorry for your loss.

  14. It's no wonder Heaven is such a wonderful place when you can one day meet up with such wonderful friends.

  15. What a wonderful tribute to Carolyn, Patience! Our hearts are aching for you! We are so very, very sorry.

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  16. How blessed you both were to share this wonderful friendship.

    With heartfelt sympathy,

    Jo and Stella

  17. We are so very sorry to hear about your good friend. We know how much you have had her on your mind and we know she fought for everyday. But now at least she is not fighting anymore. We are sending lots of hugs and love your way.

  18. There is so much love and admiration in this post. I know you are sad. I know that you do and will miss her and the closeness and laughter that yall shared. It sounds like she was happy up until the day she passed. Surely she missed her husband so much. I can't imagine having that kind of love for most of one's life. I am sorry for your loss but happy that she and her beloved Greg are once again reunited for eternity. It sounds like they had quite a love story.

    My best friend was tragically killed 2 years ago in a traffic accident. She was alive one minute and gone the next. I was the last one who talked to her. She had just been laid off and was planning a grand summer of trail rides and fun. We had so many plans. I miss her to this day.

    Life is so full of trials. We just never know when our time is coming.

    Take care my friend. And know that your dear friend held you so close to her heart.

  19. Dear Patience,
    I'm so sorry that Carolyn is no longer with us. From the birth of the Spice Litter and since, your writing about Carolyn has brought her to life for me and although I didn't have the privilege of meeting her I have followed her story through your writings on WW and on your Blog. What an extraordinary person Carolyn must have been! I mourn with all Whippetdom for her loss and especially with you, Patience, because your love for her is palpable. Please convey my condolences to her family and friends.
    Sheila & Lady

  20. Patience,
    We are so very sorry for the loss of your dear friend Carolyn. This is such a wonderful post for her. Sending hugs & prayers you way.
    Butchy, Snickers, Ruby, Sylvester, Scuby & Linda

  21. Thank you for giving us a little insight on what happened to Carolyn. I will always remember her, every time my whippets wear her coats. Her talent, frienship, love to all, will not be forgotten.
    Kim Norton

  22. We are very sorry to hear about your friend Carolyn. We feel we know her through your posts, and are sure that the love you shared will endure and flourish. Feed some birds, hug some hounds, and do it with her spirit in your heart.

    gussie, muzzer and Teka

  23. I am so very sorry for the loss of such an incredibly special friend. Carolyn touched so many in the whippet community, but yours was special. My heartfelt condolences go out to all who loved her.


  24. Oh, Patience, I am so very sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute to her...

  25. What a touching tribute.

    We are so very sad.

    Sending you big Hugs,

    Vee, Nearly, Buster and Skeezix

  26. Martha and P-DoggyMarch 25, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    Forever in our hearts :...( Forever grateful to have met her :D

  27. Thinking of you and sending you a loving hug.

  28. P... You are not alone you will always have memories...

    HJ & The Whippet Gang +1/2

  29. gordy and georgieMarch 25, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    It sounds like Carolyn gave tons of love, and also received lots of love too. Your tribute was very touching and the photo spoke a thousand words. How wonderful that you were good friends and you have so many great memories of her. My sympathies on your loss. Big hugs too.

  30. Oh Patience, I am so so sorry to hear of the loss of your best friend,your heart must be aching. We send you lots of hugs and strength to help you with this....A+A+PL2

  31. i amso very sorry to hear of your loss. you have my deepest sympathies and prayers for solace. thank you for sharing your lovely tribute to your great friend.

  32. What a great tribute. Hugs to you.


  33. i'm so sorry to hear about Carolyn. you wrote a beautiful tribute to her. she sounds like a wonderful person. we hope that you can find some comfort in all of your happy memories.

    sad sad woofs from peg and the 4Bs.

  34. We are so sad to hear of your friends passing. Allow yourself time to grieve. Remember that you are never alone. We are out here.

  35. While our hearts are aching, I know that Carolyn and Greg are smiling down at us. I feel so fortunate to have known them both. r

  36. While our hearts are aching, I know that Carolyn and Greg are smiling down at us. I feel so fortunate to have known them both. r

  37. I'm so sorry Patience, what a lovely woman Carolyn was.
    I have owned whippets for 27 years
    and followed the Whippet Annuals all these years. Many times I saw Carolyn and her lovely dogs. She had a special glow about her you could not miss. (So do you!)
    What a wonderful friendship. I hope you will find comfort in your memories.
    Bless you,

  38. My very deepest sympathy on the loss of such a great friend. Thank you for sharing so much about her, for giving us a chance to bask in this tiny spark of a spirit that was, indeed, a bonfire.

  39. Written memories and your warm thoughts will always keep your dear friend, Carolyn, close to you and those that loved her. You will hear her laughter and her voice like she is beside you.

    That is a great photo of her and her dog.

    Brain tumours are nasty. Research
    is the powerful tool.
    The one thing I have learned and so respect is how determined,gracious and loving friends and family are during a crisis. Enclosed below is a link for a wonderful young man who passed one year ago March 21st.
    I have never seen such strength in family and community. It makes ME want to do better.


    I also read Life with Dogs
    Take care, I know it's tough right now.
    martha in Toronto Canada
    (no pups right now and boy do i miesss them)!!!

  40. Oh Patience, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Carolyn sounds like a wonderful person and she was very lucky to have such a wonderful friend.

    wally (& his mom)

  41. What a lovely tribute to a friend. Such a sad time for you. It is a gift to find comfort in words. Hugs to you.

  42. A very touching tribute to Carolyn and life in general. What a great friend she was for you to have, and for her to have in you.

  43. We are so sorry to hear about you losing your friend. My mom and I send hugs and beagle howls in tribute to a wonderful human being.

    River & mom, Stephanie

  44. Oh Patience...we are so sorry...where in Western Pa was she from? Oh...I wish we could give you a big hug...and Patience...who took her dogs?

    We're sure that someone is loving them dearly.

    Our prayers are with you and for Carolyn and her family. It is hard to be left behind, isn't it?

    Lotsa love,

    Mumsie et al...

  45. We've only just met, though I've known of you for over a year. My sister gave me a poem that you had written, about an aging dog, shortly before I lost my wire fox terrier, Molly. My sister (Judith) has a whippet... I think that is how she met you. And now, today, I am new to blogspot and I found you on someone's terrier blog list. And I found you on twitter. All things happen for a reason. I think the reason was that I wanted, needed to read your post about Carolyn. To be reminded of the precious things we call life, love and friendship. She was blessed to know you... I can tell. And you were blessed to know her. Thank you for making my life a bit richer and fuller today. I needed that.

    Sally (Jake and Fergi's mom)

  46. Patience we hope you are feeling a little better. We know it won't be easy for quite awhile. We are here if you need us.

  47. What a beautiful tribute to a special person and a wonderful friend. Thank you for sharing. She sounds like a VERY special person/friend to many people.
    Ernie, Sasha, & Barb

  48. I keep coming back here, to read and cry and re-read your bittersweet but wonderful story about Carolyn. People have written such lovely comments too, but it seemed I just had no words. I feel my own huge loss at losing them both but I didn't know Carolyn or Greg as well as you did, Patience. Your deep heartfelt words really have said it all.... thank you...
    hugs to you,

  49. Many thoughts of feeling sorry for your loss, but at the ame time, you are so rich in having had a friend like she was to you. The memories of her will never fade, only the pain you feel right now. wish you much strength for the coming months.

  50. i am so so sorry for your loss. you have written a wonderful tribute to your friend. hugs.

  51. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Life is so hard sometimes. We haven't been around much-lost my mom 3/11. Condolences. Friends are special.
    sunny, scooter and jamie

  52. We are so sad for you- the loss of your dear friend. Your words have expressed it all. What a tribute.
    All we can do is say we care and for you to believe.
    sendiing love
    tweedles and moms

  53. Patience, thank you so much for this beautiful tribute to Carolyn and Greg. I have had whippets for the past 25 years and I used to show with Carolyn. I've not had a show whippet for quite some time but I was reading the results from the Midwest Specialty and I saw references to Carolyn and Greg 'looking down' and I knew that the worst had happened. I saw Carolyn at the Midwest last year and I could see that she was dealing with cancer but, as a former cancer patient myself, I did not ask her about it and just talked about the dogs. I had no idea that she had such a serious brain cancer. I feel so sad knowing that both Greg and Carolyn died within the year. Wonderful, sweet people who cared so much about their dogs. I had fun showing with Carolyn. She was truly such a special person.


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