When I moved to the States almost 20 years ago, I knew no one except the Ball & Chain. Given the circle of friends I had in London, this was a huge adjustment for me. As any expat knows, when you have no friends and no work Visa, it can be lonely. Through a friend of his I met Carolyn, and although she had a large circle of friends and a frantic social life, she took me under her wing, showed me around Dallas and became one of my closest friends.
The one and only time I went to New Orleans was on a girlie weekend with Carolyn. I don't think I have ever packed so much into three days and let's just say, when we got off the plane and walked into the arrivals lounge back in Dallas, we were wearing sunglasses - and not merely to look good.
A year later the B&C and I moved to Chicago, and a few years after that Carolyn moved to Boston. We managed to visit each other at least twice each, chatted on the phone regularly, and e-mailed when that came along. If the B&C were ever to re-marry (what's it called - renewing wedding vows, but I'm not into that) Carolyn would be there as the pseudo Maid of Hono(u)r.
You know I'm not a bleeding heart on my blog, but Carolyn passed away on Saturday night after an eight year battle with brain tumours, and I feel the need to shout from the rooftops how great she was, how generous she was to me and how much I will miss her.
If you were reading my blog last February, you might remember that I didn't go skiing with my family even though it meant missing the Queenager's 16th brthday. I spent the week with Carolyn as she underwent yet another biopsy thinking that she could handle it all herself, yet clearly in no shape to do so. Even though she wasn't doing so well, I had no idea she'd be gone by the end of the year.
So - a drink to my FF (fabulous friend) Carolyn. (Swig)
And remember folks - treasure your friends!