Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Timothy!

Our little Timothy turned TWO last week.  We had a birthday party at our house to celebrate with family and friends.  Timmy loved it!  His PawPaw made him a cake that resembled "Jack" from "Jack's Big Music Show" on NickJr.


Earlier in the week, we had kept Timothy for the day, and he had such fun playing on our stairs.  We've only recently let him climb up and down them, and this is now his favorite pasttime - besides watching "Jack's Big Music Show" on NickJr.  While he was on the stairs, an episode of "Jack" was playing, and Timmy could hear the music.  He decided to sing along.  This was the result...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Remembering My Cousin, Carla Lou

Four weeks ago tonight, Greg and I were having dinner when I received a phone call from my friend, Scott Westerman, who is also a classmate and dear friend of my cousin, Carla Lou Huson.  Scott was frantically telling me "urgent news" about Carla, some guy named Mark, a brain bleed, and Baptist Hospital in Little Rock.  I could not put it all together. 

My cousin Carla Lou moved to Columbus, Ohio, almost 15 years ago.  Eight years younger than I, we grew close in adulthood and remained so until a number of years ago.  Carla's mother, Luella, was my dad's first cousin. Luella suffered a stroke in the 1990s that left her unable to speak more than a word or two... and in 2004, she died. Carla's grandmother, Bessie, and my Mam-ma Polly were sisters.  Carla's paternal grandmother, Ethel, was a sister to my great-grandmother Myrtle.  So Carla's dad and my maternal grandmother were first cousins.  We referred to ourselves as "double cousins."

But back to Palm Sunday.  Scott was finally able to make me understand that Carla was in Little Rock attending a 25th reunion of her college class from Hendrix.  While sitting and visiting with classmates and friends on the patio of a friend with whom she was staying, Carla became incoherent and collapsed.  Her friends quickly rushed her to Baptist Medical Center, where doctors decided she had experienced a brain bleed... and it did not look good.  As the night progressed, the diagnosis changed to aneurysm. Carla was on a vent and unresponsive.  Her friends held vigil at the hospital. 

Carla's fiance, David, flew to Little Rock on a chartered plane to be at her bedside.  He was able to speak to her and spend some time with her before she died around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, April 18th.

A graveside memorial service was held for Carla on Wednesday, April 20th, followed by another memorial service that evening on the Hendrix College campus.  I did not attend the Hendrix memorial, but I hear it was a great evening of remembering Carla with stories, music, and more.  Dozens of her friends, including many college classmates, came for the service at the cemetery.  It was bittersweet to meet so many nice friends of Carla's... but not until she was gone.

Carla and I had not spoken in about 7 years.  I had suggested she do something she didn't want to do, and that was that.  As I talked with friends of Carla's at the cemetery, several shared their experiences with Carla and "the time when she didn't speak to me for xyz years!"  That was Carla... when you crossed her, she cut you out of her life for awhile... but rarely forever.  Given enough time, I am sure that we would have reconciled... and I know she knew I loved her.  I had sent her birthday wishes via Facebook on February 27th - her 46th birthday.  Though she never responded to my Facebook posts, she had accepted my friend request, so I know she saw at least some of them.

Carla was a brilliant, beautiful woman.  She followed in a few of my footsteps and finished high school early, moving on to Hendrix after her junior year.  She became an elementary school teacher, then a reading specialist, and when she passed, she was a behavioral specialist for the Columbus Public Schools.  I'm sure she was great at what she did.

Carla loved books and often read a book a week, or more.  She was one of only a few women I know personally who truly loved football and longed for an entire Sunday of football games to watch on TV.  And Carla loved pink.  Some of the guys from her class wore pink ties to the memorial service in honor of her memory.  Carla had her dad's quick - and sometimes sharp - wit... and her mother's tall, dark-haired beauty.  Carla missed her mother terribly - and one of our last visits was spent sharing recipes and household hints and tips - things she said "I wish my mother could tell me, but she can't."

I know that Carla is so thrilled to be with her mom and her "Nonnie" (grandmother Bessie) and other loved ones once again.  I'm sure they have not hushed since she got there.  I'm going to miss Carla so much.  I know her friends will truly miss her - and David will have a huge hole in his life with her gone.  But I will remember the fun times we shared - the trip to the flea market in Canton, Texas... secrets shared...and family ties.  I will remember Carla often, with love... and smiles.

Most of the photos published here were taken during the 25th class reunion held the weekend Carla died... and posted by her classmates on Facebook.  I am forever grateful to them for sharing these photos and allowing us to see Carla happy, beautiful, and having such a wonderful time.  Carla loved her friends dearly, and after meeting many of them... I can see why.  

R.I.P. Carla Lou Huson - February 27, 1965 - April 18, 2011