Many of us lost a dear friend this past week. Carol Davis passed peacefully at 11:15 a.m. March 13, in the home she loved with her family, at the time predicted by her caregivers.
I wouldn’t be surprised for a second, that she chose the time and date to leave, giving all of us another a glimpse of a remarkable woman, full of surprises and the unexpected all her life. The gospel music she sang and loved accompanied her on her way.
We met in the sixties, running around Humboldt State as young women having no real idea who we were or what we were doing. We married, had some crazy stupid jobs, enjoyed marvelous opportunities and adventures, with and without our kids.
We gathered friends and memories that lasted all throughout her life and are still a part of mine. Arcatans will mourn her passing and miss her in the community more than most will realize. As she is remembered by those who loved her and by the huge extended family she created, cry a little, celebrate her, and laugh out loud.
Carol was part of the McKinleyville Senior Center in her last few years, riding what we called the Bingo Bus to a specialized exercise class to help keep us moving. She always greeted everyone as if she hadn’t seen you in years. Her goodbye was the same, too… “Peace and Love” followed by a familiar peace sign. I still remember when she dropped “Tie Dye.”
Loosing cherished friends is something most seniors don’t often talk about because our departure is expected as our time grows short. But as our dearest friends, along with chunks of our history go with them, it’s a different kind of grieving.
It is the natural order of things. But those of us who survive the everchanging, and expected loss of those friends we love, the memories have lived with us for a long, long time and expressing those feelings is almost impossible.
Partly because we have memories that fade and then pop up at unexpected moments. I know this happens to everyone experiencing loss of someone you’ve loved, but for seniors it’s just passed off as “senior moments.” Ever wonder why there’s always Kleenex and handkerchiefs in our purses and pockets? If you see someone of a certain age crying, sometimes nothing hurts, they’re just remembering a part of their life that they’d forgotten until that moment. Tears of joy and sadness mingle to honor those memories.
If there’s an older person in your life, in your family or neighborhood, please ask them about those memories and listen. Not only are you collecting stories that will make you laugh or astound you, but you’re also doing the one thing every aging person I’ve ever met craves… honoring their life in the simplest, easiest way by giving them the respect they’ve earned. Bring a tissue or a hankie, you’ll need it.
The McKinleyville Senior Center is working to reopen as soon as it’s safe for the population we serve. Lots of changes, cleaning, new COVID compliant furniture and excitement as vaccinations are making progress in controlling the COVID spread and hopefully to regain our lives soon.
Please get vaccinated. Everyone around you will sigh with relief. And, of course, we are still collecting and raising funds to keep operating. Thanks again for filling up our Spring Green jars all over town and your jars of coins! I feel so fortunate to have picked this generous community to call home.
Thank you to Kevin, Jack and Ted for your ongoing support for the senior community and giving us information and entertainment in print. Call Patti (707) 845-2817 if you want a visit from “the Coin Collector.” I’m grabbing a tissue to send you a wish for Peace and Love from me and my dear friend Carol.