My mom’s name was Maurine. She got the “Maur” from her dad “Maurice” (yes, I just thought of Steve Miller’s song too), and she got the “ine” from her her mom “Adeline.” She always had to correct people who wanted to spell her name the usual way – “Maureen.”
Their last name was Sanders. That’s my middle name – Joel Sanders Gillespie. I am so proud of that middle name.
Carolyn always called my mom “Sissy.” I guess that’s what she called her when they were we teeny kids and it stuck. “Sissy” is my mom’s name on that side of the family. It’s strange. My mom (who died in 2001) and Carolyn are survived by their older brother Karl. I think most folks wouldn’t have thought it would have worked out that way. Karl and his wife and young daughter were hit by a train 40 some odd years ago and it really messed up Karl’s back. But he is doing pretty well these days. It must be really hard losing your two younger sisters.
Carolyn and my mom and Karl all had four children. Odd how that worked out. All the children are still living.
People who know me and my siblings know that we have a rather dark sense of humor, a dry wit, and a tendency to see humor in the dark moments of life. We got that from my mother’s side. Carolyn was a master. She was actually pretty quiet and shy. But she would throw out a crack in her slow Texan drawl that would leave you in stitches. She was very smart, and very kind. And very witty.
When their mom died they got closer, talking every week on the phone, my mom in Columbia, Carolyn outside of Dallas. A couple of years after my mom died Uncle Philip and Aunt Carolyn came out with their daughter Deanna, and were met by their daughter Patricia and her husband and children, and joined all us Gillespies for Thanksgiving. It was a great time together that I will always remember.
This summer my daughter Laurel and I went out to spend a week with Philip and Carolyn, and also to see Uncle Karl and Aunt Edie, and various of their children. It was a great visit. Carolyn was already quite weak from the effects of the multiple myeloma, but she was herself more often than not. I will never forget that time, and that big hug goodbye. I love you Carolyn. I love you Joe.
Yeah, when I was little they all called me “Joe.”
I love Carolyn and Philip for who they are. But I know deep down I also love Carolyn a little for my mother in her. She was a real and vital link to my mom which is gone, so, the grief for Carolyn is like a grief for my mom all over again.
I really miss her, my mom. And I miss Carolyn already. I know people talk about death as part of life. Death is part of the ordinary fallenness and brokenness of this world. But it is the antithesis of life. Death is the enemy. “The last enemy to be defeated is death.” I hate death. I long for the day when death will be swallowed up in victory – no more goodbyes, no more separations, no more losses, no more loved ones gone.
Some days I get tired of missing people I love. But I must keep on loving people. I suppose a day will come when some of them will miss me when I go. Or maybe they won't have to. Maybe Jesus will come back first. Come Lord Jesus.
I Love you Carolyn.
I love you Joe.