By Carly Pete
A dear friend, Carolyn, passed away a few days ago; I learned about it on Facebook. We lost touch last year after she and I had a couple of spats. Now, I feel she intentionally created that distance, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Carolyn and I met in 2003 at Martin Luther King Jr. rec center here in town. We took aerobics classes together twice a week until I began classes at Salem College in the fall of 2009. We were among the more highly motivated women in our class who attended religiously; I’d been diagnosed with diabetes in 2001, Carolyn was a breast cancer survivor.
Carolyn’s my best new friend since childhood. Her constant encouragement reminded me of how my life might have been had my mother lived to raise me, although Carolyn was only a year older and didn’t look her age. She complimented everything about me: my hair, the way I thought, talked, dressed, my cooking, singing…on and on; it was almost embarrassing. She loved me. I can’t remember ever in my life being so unabashedly celebrated by another human being (not related to me) as by Carolyn. Her acceptance was validating, personal, and startlingly real. Whenever I sang somewhere, or hosted a jam session at my home…and spectacularly when I graduated from college in 2013; Carolyn was there, cheering wildly as I crossed the stage.
Best of all, Carolyn is the keepsake of our birth name; I relinquished Carolyn to her safekeeping when I became the singer and college student Carly to newer friends, plus it reduced confusion when she and I were in the same spaces, which we often were, until last year.
I’m certain she knew how much I loved her and how hard losing her would be on me. I only pray that she passed peacefully away without much physical pain.
Touch the sky, fly girl. Say hi to our mamas. Always know I love ya!
God rest your souls, easy, dear family of our loved one. Take comfort in beautiful Carolyn memories and let your hearts be strengthened by the everlasting joy of Christmas. We send condolences and our love.