September 18, 2021

CAROL: A FRIEND FOR ALL SEASONS

We met in Columbia when Heather and Patrick were little and I was adjusting to life as a single mom.  Carol was getting a master’s degree in nursing and rented an apartment from my friend Nancy, who introduced us.  She was divorced and had no children.  She always enjoyed Heather and Patrick so much, and over the years, extended her love to their children also.

Spending time together over meals, over a glass of wine, we shared our life stories.  She was such an encourager—the type of caring, nurturing person nurses so often are. Her home was Asheville and how she loved her mountains!

After she left Columbia, we continued our friendship through phone calls and occasional visits.  Some years later she married Tom Parker, a wonderful man who brought her much happiness.  In this photo, she had come to visit me in Columbia during the time my mother lived with me and was growing weaker.  Mother also loved Carol, and once she came down to care for her so I could take a weekend trip with another friend.  

When Patrick and Julia bought a home in Swannanoa, I was surprised when Carol commented she would have thought they could choose a better location.  The first time I went to visit them there, I gave her their street address and she came for a Saturday afternoon visit.  When she drove up, she just stood beside her car.  I went out on the porch to see why she wasn’t coming in and she was sobbing!  

When she drove up, she realized their house was the very house her aunt had once owned.  When Carol and her sister were very young, they and their mother had lived there with her aunt so the mother could work at the Beacon Blanket factory down the road.  Carol’s father was a World War II veteran and he and his son stayed home to keep their farm going. Memories of that hard time for her family were why she’d resisted Swannanoa. Soon she was inside and enjoying showing Julia and Patrick where she had slept and what had been altered or added on to the house since then.  In this photo she’s on the front porch of that sweet little house with Sam and Eli.

I love this photo from a few years later.  Carol, Julia and I took the three boys on a picnic at the Montreat park.  Sam and Eli had great fun on the playground but by the time we made this picture, they were hot and tired.  All three boys look miserable—Sam with his red cheeks, Eli staring up without a smile, and Ezra crying away in Carol’s arms. Carol was the friend for all seasons—loving and encouraging everyone even when they were miserable.  

Her body gave out—but her spirit remained full of love, faith and hope.  I miss her terribly.

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