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From a distance The world looks blue and green… The frustrating thing is how beautiful it all still looks. You sit out here on a beachfront cottage porch with the blue green tide rolling in on golden sand, sea birds winging, dolphins playing past on the near horizon and the golden sun sending a […]
Photo Credit: Carol Madigan I asked Carol to take pictures of the prepacked piles of supplies she had staged throughout the house for our upcoming three-day getaway to Crystal Cove State Park. She refused, so I can’t show you how well prepared we were both for our getaway and maybe just one pile short […]
Someone I’ve known since childhood thought it was hilarious to share with my mother some of the stunts I’d pulled back when I was a teenager. She did not want to hear any of it. She hated him for sharing the stories, telling me once to stop bringing him around because, “I’ve got enough […]
This past June marked fifty years since I first took off to see the world. I had 200 bucks and a copy of Arthur Fommer’s Europe on 5 Dollars a Day. That meant I had about 40 days of working capital. Somehow, I managed to stretch it into almost three years of vagabonding through […]
The other day Carol announced she was going out. Back in a time that is now lost to history, she would have said simply: “I have to run to the store.” But since running to the store nowadays is a call to arms for the warrior class, Carol’s announcement carried the weight of a loved one deploying to Iraq.
Mourning becomes memory, part 2
Carolyn Kay Marquardt
August 10, 1949 – May 23, 2017
If you asked those who knew Carolyn, they would tell you what they remembered most was her laugh. I remember it as a great full body dry heave of joy. They would also mention her hugs. “Huge sister hugs,” Marianne describes them.
That Carolyn exuded joy was something well remembered by her nephew Sean. “She was almost always smiles from cheek to cheek; this happiness tended to resonate with everyone around her, and aside from being a very fun and outgoing auntie, this was probably another of many reasons I always looked forward to her company.”
We had spent a solid morning seeing the sights of Verona – the main square called Piazza Bras, the Roman colosseum, even fake Juliet’s fake house and fake balcony (where we secured our first love lock as a couple), along with a walk along a few of the crooked, narrow streets and alleys spoking off from the main square. It was the kind of sightseeing that would last me for a week, if not a month. For Carol, of course, we were just getting started.
On May 23, 2017 at 1:07 p.m., I looked at the attending nurse and asked, “Is she gone?” The nurse nodded. At that moment I experienced an emptiness I had never experienced before. Today marks one year since that nurse nodded that Carolyn was dead. I still cry at a sudden memory of her, but as I have since the moment she died, the tears represent both sadness and gladness. Sadness for the years we would never have, and gladness for those precious five that we did. Only the percentages have shifted. Increasingly over this past year the tears have favored gladness, as memories of her are able to bring smiles to my face. Now, the tears that are sad center around thoughts of a life she was unable to live for herself. That’s a sadness I’ll be carrying with me for the rest of my days.
While I don’t go out of my way to meet people (in fact I go in the opposite direction) that does not hold true for children, especially from about two to about six. I sense they feel an instant kinship (“Hey, that grownup is just like us!”). Since that same comparison has been made by adults coercing me, I have to allow the kids may be onto something.
My decision to walk whenever and wherever I can on this trip is not a financial one. What I’m spending on my international data plan, chewing up minutes following GPS around town might equal what I’d be spending on uber. It’s not a health-driven one either. At the pace I saunter, it hardly qualifies as exercise. I walk because I can, and I love the liberating feeling of closing the door behind me and just taking off.