Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Friday, January 6, 2012

Carole's birthday

My sister, Carole's, birthday is Monday, January 9th.  She would've been 62.  I have a lot of Christmas decorations that she made for me and I think of her this time of year when I take them down and pack them away.  Carole loved Christmas and she enjoyed making her gifts, decorations, and cookies.

I don't know what her vision score was, but when I look at some of her beautiful embroidery I wonder how she ever managed to see well enough to create such lovely art work.  She made this picture for me in 1979 and sometimes it is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning.  I wonder if the things Carole felt with her heart compensated for the things she could not see.

The Doctors in 1950 did not really know what Carole's diagnosis was.  I remember hearing the word, glaucoma.  It wasn't until she was a teenager and went to the Mayo Clinic that she received the correct diagnosis.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I was not always very kind to Carole as a child.  Perhaps I resented all the special attention she got, or felt that she was coddled by Mom and Dad.  Sometimes it irritated me that Mom insisted we pick her up in the later years so she wouldn't have to take the bus.  How childish!

Aunt Mary Reed was her godmother so her First Communion was celebrated with the the Reeds!

She was an incredible woman!  Never drove a car, never earned more than $10/hour, never owned a home, never had a date!  She never focused on what she didn't have or couldn't do--instead she devoted her life to others.  She made hundreds of meals for the patrons at the Knobby Inn and later cooked for the guys at a fraternity house.  She never sat idle, often spending hours cutting out fabric and sewing quilts together.  She entertained and cared for the Johnson boys and the Esser kids.  She helped Mom prepare banquet meals and made lots of desserts for funeral dinners.   The family recipe books are filled with her recipes and many, like the Chocolate Eclair Dessert, is a family favorite.  She seemed the happiest when she could create something and then present it as a gift to one of us.  She lived a life of service, generously giving to others!  

Carole's most courageous act was to face her death with dignity and grace.  She thoughtfully gave all her material possessions away.  I'll never forget seeing the Rosauer's bags lined up in her living room with a our names on sticky notes on each bag.  She inspired me by the way she accepted her cancer and impending death.  She was not afraid, only peaceful.   Henri Nouwen wrote, "Yes, there is such a thing as a good death.  We have to choose between clinging to life in such a way that death becomes nothing but a failure, or letting go of life in freedom so that we can be given to others as a source of hope.  If our deepest human desire is, indeed, to give ourselves to others, then we can make our death into a final gift."  Thank you, Carole, for that final gift!  I miss you.

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