My friend, Carol, passed away yesterday morning.
I met Carol in NYC. We were neighbours on West 107th Street. This is no exaggeration: my life was enhanced tremendously when she entered into it. I feel so honoured to have known her.
It isn’t just me. Everyone loved her because she had an open heart and genuine kindness that put everyone instantly at ease.
The kids in the neighbourhood knew her and loved her. Some of them she babysat… some of them she helped raise! She introduced them to Wallace and Grommit and shared all kinds of stories and rituals from her southern childhood that they still hold dear today. I know this because one of those neighbourhood boys wrote her a letter last month and told her. They were crazy about her and she loved those kids. Here they are today, all grown up:
They’re fantastic young men and they all came out to visit their Carol to tell her how much they loved her. She was so happy that day. Don’t you just love her Wonder Woman pyjamas? So appropriate.
Carol had three dogs when I met her. We used to walk them together and drink coffee in Riverside Park while the dogs played in the dog run.
She was crazy about her pooches and used to wear a T-shirt that said, “DOG is my Co-Pilot” and it always cracked me up because back then there was a popular bumper sticker that said, “God is my co-pilot.” So — Yeah.
She volunteered for a dog rescue organisation and she helped me with all of my anxieties of new dog ownership when I adopted Pickles. She said I was so funny with my frantic emails. (OK — adopting a puppy is a lot like adopting a baby and I needed Carol’s advice.)
When Carol went through chemo, she lost some of her teeth because chemo destroys your teeth, BTW. Coincidentally, her little nephew had just lost his two front teeth and so they posed for this photo together, which is just so like Carol and really captures her pure and open heart and her wonderful sense of humour. Oh we cracked up when we saw this photo.
She spent her last weeks of life with her beloved family. They are a very close and loving family and when I lived in NY, I was often invited out to spend a holiday or a Saturday afternoon with the whole crew. When you meet the Barnette-Waldeck clan you get big hugs and lots of crazy fun conversations. I just love them all.
How lucky am I to have know her and to count her among my friends?
I am very lucky, indeed.
Bless you, Edith Carol Barnette.
You are going to be missed. So much.