Sunday, September 07, 2008


Went through old yearbooks Thursday as part of my grieving process. Read all the messages, counted up all the "Don't changes," and "Stay just the sames."

Friday morning another 31-year friend, Megan, and I drove the two hours to Eugene to attend the funeral of one of the Class of '81's finest. We had so much to catch up on, we (me, of course) drove right past all the Eugene exits.

The funeral was beautiful - the priest gave a lovely homily about how most people have a "State Fair" mentality - blue ribbons, winners and losers. Then he shared about his time with the Juanican's, and how they farm with such a different mentality. Much time is spent helping their neighbors grow the best corn possible, knowing the wind will blow their neighbors' seeds in their fields, and they will benefit. Then the next year the wind will likely blow in the opposite direction, and their healthy seeds will blow into their neighbors' fields, and benefit them. Cooperation. No scarcity.

Then the priest said Kelly was like those Juanican farmers - always helping everyone to grow the best crop.

I believe the 650+ people crowded, standing room only, in that church, concurred.

At least 500 of those people gravitated afterwards to the reception. Again, standing room only. So the class of '81 did what we do best, we got a bunch of cold beers and stood in the hall and told stories. There were plenty of "I can't believe we did __________ and didn't all get killed," tales, then one of us would remember we were at a friend's funeral, and she did get killed, and suddenly that wasn't so funny. And then it was again. Line between tears of sadness and those of happiness blurring down our cheeks.

We picked on poor Joe - the shyest guy in the class, and as soon as we got him blushing and sweating we went in for the kill.

Megan and I came home yesterday, after too much eating, drinking, laughing and crying. We fell into a companionable silence and then she said, "You know how we always wrote in each other's yearbooks, 'Don't change?' I'm glad I changed!"

We all changed. And we stayed the same. And the things we loved about each other then are still there, but there is more there, too. Life. Life has happened to us all.

And we didn't change and we changed.

And we stayed the same and we didn't.

And Kelly would be proud.

(Pictured, with Joe Conklin, top to bottom: Margaret ("Sully") Sullivan, Mary Ficker, Ruth Schmidt, Paula DuChateau, Megan Light, Diza Hoglen, Karen Revis, and Mark Heidt)


Lola said...

So sorry for this loss.
She is rocking somewhere now though....

Michelle O'Neil said...

So beautiful Carrie. Beautiful words. Beautiful pictures. I like the last one of the guy kissing Joe.

Love it.

Thank you for sharing this precious woman with us as you process your grief.

Joanne said...

Time, and life, marches on, sometimes poignantly. It sounds like your friend was lucky to have you all as hers.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

What better tribute to a friend than to be able to laugh with friends at her funeral. How lucky you all are to have one another.

She said...

"Line between tears of sadness and those of happiness blurring down our cheeks."

That captures it all so well, doesn't it? When remembering someone, we do honor them with funny stories of our time with them. And then we remember we are mourning, too.

This was true when Kristine died, too.

Thinking of you during this time!


Go Mama said...

Wow that was beautiful. A celebration of the community you all created and shared. No scarcity.

drama mama said...

I love the energy of all the people pictured. Your friend must have been something - to elicit all of that joy and emotion.

I like Joe. You can tell he's a good egg.

How lucky you all are to have known her.

Kathryn said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I think you all processed well and gave Kelly such a wonderful celebration of her life.

Anonymous said...


Can you place names to the faces. Having been gone from the area for 20+ years, I don't recognize anyone (although everyone looks great for the mid-40s).


Carrie Wilson Link said...

Anon. - Good idea!

Special Needs Mama said...

Memorial services, or funerals, can be so healing. Thank you for posting this. Thinking of you every day.

Maddy said...

Does it make you wish that we [people] would get together at other times too, to celebrate lives whilst we're actually living them.

Best wishes

Eileen said...

Sorry for your loss. Glad you could share your grief (and celebrate her life) with such special people. Your words and pictures say it all.
Be gentle with yourself during your grieving process. I will be thinking of you.

deb said...

It sounds like she was a wonderful woman and friend. You were lucky to have known her. Her funeral sounded wonderful too, a celebration of her life.

Jess said...

Wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing this.