For Carolyn

(While I’m enjoying the holidays, I’m sharing some of my posts from my previous blog.  I hope you enjoy them.  This post is from February 2011.)

I didn’t know you very well, but you were always so funny and cheerful to be around.  You worked in reception at my rheumatologist’s office, and between you and Jan, the other receptionist, it was a real hoot and a holler to check in for an appointment.  As I’ve said before, you were the real-life version of Sister Myotis, and I’m pretty sure you weren’t from Austin originally.

You kept huge color photos of your grandchildren on your desk, so it looked more like a display for missing children than a tribute to them, but that’s how much you loved them.  I once overheard you explain to a patient that your daughters married a set of brothers, so all of your grandchildren were “double-related” and looked exactly alike.

When I was pregnant with James, you made me turn in a circle so you could “see my butt,” and you correctly guessed that I was having a boy.   You loved his eyes, and I would turn his stroller toward your desk so you could talk to him for a bit.  At Christmas, you told me to take him to see Santa, and that the funniest pictures were always the ones in which the baby cried.  You knew I was having another boy and you offered your sympathies.

I used to see you smoking near the Women’s Center as I went to my prenatal appointments, and you always greeted me with, “Hi, honey,” in your salty voice.  You filled out the customer satisfaction surveys yourself so you wouldn’t have to ask the patients to do it.  You wore press-on nails and hot-rolled your hair, like a woman from a small Texas town, and you laughed like crazy at your partner in crime sitting next to you.

You died in a car accident on July 1st, and I just found out today.  It was during one of those freak thunderstorms that filled the skies last summer in the days before my second son was born, and it happened instantaneously, the nurse told me.  You had everything in order and you said you just wanted to go when it was your time, so you did, and you made it easy on everyone.  Well, as easy as leaving could be, I guess.

The nurse said you called her “Little Bit” because of her height, and she has to make the coffee now in the mornings because you aren’t there to do it.  My doctor told me you once spilled something on your shirt, looked at him, and said, “With a mouth as big as mine, you’d think I could get it all inside.”  And Jan said she misses you every day.

You were the first and last person we saw when we entered the office, so even if we were scared, or in pain, or feeling down, you cheered us up and made us laugh.  And we are all better for having known you.

I know I am.

(Jan retired earlier this year, and I miss both ladies so much.  The office is not the same without them.)

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