March 6, 2010

My friend Carole

This is my girlfriend Carole. We met through work. She worked for an art printing company in Syacuse, NY. I worked in a Graphics department for a company in NJ. She became our top vendor because their work was so good, and surpassed all our expectations.
Carole and I found out we had alot in common in the world of art. Both of us loved visiting art museums, and we had about the same amount of art history background. It was great for me to finally find someone with a passion for art museums and galleries. My other friends were not as empassioned about it as I was. We also shared a love for bike riding, although she also liked the rough and tumble through the woods type of biking . She saved that kind for her bike club in Syracuse.
When she was in NJ on business, we lunched together. There were many times when after her business was done with other companies, she'd meet me at a park, where we would take a healthy walk, and then settle down for a picnic of sandwiches, salads and champagne. There was always good champagne that came from the wine region in the finger lakes of New York state. It was Glenora Brut from Seneca Lake to be precise. We enjoyed the food, champagne, our friendship, and the beautiful park surroundings. It was all great.
Carole introduced me to the Seneca Lake Jazz Festival held every summer. Again, a picnic lunch, champagne and some of the best jazz music I ever heard, all in the in front of the wine vineyards with the lake in the backdrop. Just beautiful. I brought some of my other friends, who fell in love with Carole as I did, and a famous time was had by all.

The photo above was taken at the Clarke Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. It's a beautiful museum, small by the standards of the NYC museums, but not lacking in famous Artists and Sculptors. We'd picnic outside with other art history admirers, and then step inside to what was a heavenly visit to the art world. My favorite visit was a John Singer Sargeant exhibit. Oh, and then there also was the Degas exhibit as well. It was all great!

It was around that time that Carole showed me a scar on her upper back right shoulder, whereby she had surgery. It was skin cancer. She did all the things her Oncologist suggested, and we thought she licked it.
Nothing stopped Carole from being a weekend exercise warrior. In the winter she was an avid cross country skier, and in the summer she was a hiker and a woodsy bicycle rider. They, along with her husband was her passion. Let me rephrase that: her husband was her first passion. Craig supported her endeavors 100%. They also had a couple of dogs who she absolutely loved, Patty and Susie. And let's not forget a cat name Ann.

Time passed on. I left the company I worked for, and Carole lost some business in NJ due to companies bringing graphic arts in-house as opposed to using an outside vendor for business. We still kept in touch, visited NY museums, but the visits were fewer. As I became ill, Carole was also facing her cancer again, only this time with a vengence. The melanoma showed up on her abdomen, and it was a short while later it was in her brain and kidneys.

This was a woman who although she played in the sun, never laid in the sun. I would watch her slather on the sun screen, don a hat and wore cotton long sleeve t-shirts long before her diagnosis. Who would ever think that insidious melanoma would latch on to Carole. But it did.

The doctors gave her three months, and she lived a year and a half longer. I was suffering from an illness, and our communication thinned out abit, while we were both struggling with our health. How I wish I had gone to NY state to see her, although her husband told me she did not want any friends to come and see her. She wanted us to remember her in her heyday. Craig took care of Carole at home; she refused a hospital bed. She died with dignity and grace, although her husband did not have to reveal the pain and suffering she was in. I'm sure morphine was present, but nonetheless...

It is very difficult for me to accept my friend has died. I miss her voice and beautiful smiling face. Did I mention we not only went to museums in NYC and MA, but we were travelling art exhibit buddies? We travelled to Chicago a couple of times to the Art Institute and of course to take in the great sites of that city. We would take weekend passes to Philadelphia to the Art Institute for a wonderful Cezanne exhibit. She always had a bag packed and was ready to go. Her husband always supported her passions, and they also had a wonderful passion that a fortunate husband and wife could share. They were married for alittle over thirty years.

Carole was fifty seven when she passed, with still so much life in front of her. If this computer screen was paper, it would be drenched by now. I am having alot of difficulty with her passing. I miss my friend. And my heart breaks for her when I think of how she suffered before she was laid to rest. She had so much to live for. Idle time was not in Carole's vocabulary. She lived with passion.

What breaks my heart is that I lived through my illness, and she didn't. You have no idea how much I wish that skin cancer had stopped at her shoulder, and not spread. I'm sorry if my writing is very sad; it is because I am. She is probably in a better place. She let go of her pained body, and I know her spirit is around. I can feel it.


  1. Kathleen~ This could be the same story of my Dear Mom's passing of melanoma. Diagnosed and eight weeks later she was gone. It is a horrible, fast growing cancer.
    You and Carole shared some pretty fantastic adventures. Your mutual love of art and music brought the two of your together. Friendships like this don't come along every day. We have friends that fill certain needs for us and we for them- certainly this was a friendship of many interests and the time spent together was treasured. I would say the you have both been blessed with something very dear. This is a beautiful tribute to two very special women. Sending you healing blessings dear.

  2. Kathleen-
    You are not alone. I feel the loss of your friendship. How wonderful for you to treasure her and the love of art and life you both were able to share. Live in that memory and hold fast to it. Girlfriends, near and far are so wonderful.
    Wishing you strength on this journey of life and loss.

  3. Hi, my name is Carol without the e. I just finished reading your post and wish we could go to a park, open a bottle of NY champagne and cry together. I am so sorry. Take care, I care.
    Carol with no e.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to an obviously beautiful woman. I think she would be pleased. Thank you for sharing Carole with all of us. God bless.

  5. I am so touched by this loving tribute to your friend. Rare to have such a dear friend - with whom you can share your love of art with. I have yet to find an art history loving/museum friend like you did- someone who loves it like I do. She sounds like such a lovely person. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  6. nice post..sometimes i think it is helpful to just get it all out on is always hardest for those left behind , but the beautiful times are in our hearts and minds forever..memories live.

  7. I love the statement, "She lived with passion." I can only hope someone will remember me as articulately and lovingly as you have remembered Carol.

  8. kathleen ~
    i am so very very sorry for your loss ... what beautiful friends ... what great gifts to each other ... there really aren't words right now ... just do your best to hold your warm memories close ... i am praying for you ... and sending hugs for your heart ...
    to carole ~ to your friendship,
    prairiegirl xo

  9. Kathy,

    My tears this morning are sad because of the passing of your sweet friend and happy ones because you had such a wonderful friend, that touched and filled your heart. Carole sounds like she was the perfect friend she shared so many of your loves and loved life and all that it has to offered.
    Many cyber hugs my friend. xo

  10. What a beautiful tribute for a wonderful friend. I, too lost my best friend to cancer at age doesn't make sense. The only thing I cling to is knowing she is free of pain and in a much better place.
    Sending lots of hugs, prayers, and love,

  11. Kathleen,

    I am touched by your love for your beautiful friend. I am sorry for your loss and the grief you now feel. Remember my post: love is forever and life is eternal and death is nothing but a horizon. And a horizon is nothing more than the limit of our eyesight.
    You are in my prayers,


  12. Hey kiddo... I'm thinking of you. I often think of our old days together and smile. I hope your smile returns to you soon. Maybe Carole will give you a sign and a reason soon.

  13. I'm so sorry for you and your friend. My heart is with you.

  14. My heart hurts for you. I am so sorry. What a lovely tribute to her this post is.

    Two days ago, I lost a friend to cancer as well. She was 53. These days it seems that I spend more time crying over the beautiful souls of friends lost than rejoicing over friends made.

  15. As a 4-year cancer survivor, I found your post just amazing. Even though you are sad you provided a beautiful tribute to your friend. Her spirit and zest for life lives in your post. I think that if we have to leave this world too early all we ask is to have made a difference in someone's life. It sounds to me like you both made a difference in each other's lives and I am positive that all that you did was enough. Please do not feel guilty... continue to celebrate life and think of her on those excursions that she would have shared with you. She will always be there with you because it sounds like she left an indelible mark on your life! And that makes joy in your sadness. Thank you for such a beloved post to her!

  16. Dear Kathy,

    My heart leapt to my throat when I read what you wrote. We are both crying for love. Hope that you feel better soon my dear as we know, they are not suffering now.

    Love you. Peace, x

  17. Dearest Kathy,

    You were blessed to have had a dear friend as Carole. Durring lifes journey true friends are hard to come by. I felt your sadness as I read your post this morning. Hold onto your fond memories and rejoice that her pain is gone and there is no more suffering. May you find peace and laughter as you think of all the fun times you had shared together. Sending hugs your way.

  18. This is such an honest and beautiful post, Kathy. I'm sorry to read of your friend Carole and this loss in your life. She sounds like a terrific friend and a kindred individual. You remind me of what is really important in life and to get in touch with the people I have lost touch with and wish I hadn't.
    I'm very happy that your survived your illness but your story is a reminder that we shouldn't take anything for granted.

    ~ Amy

  19. She sounds like a wonderful friend and a beautiful spirit. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.

    (I tried to email you this evening, but for some reason the email wouldn't send to your address. Will you send me a note at sometime so I can figure out your correct address? Thanks!)


Thanks for visiting.
~ Kathleen ~