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A Fond Farewell

October 1, 2009

Jason is hijacking my blog tonight.  As I mentioned yesterday, we lost a friend on Sunday, unexpectedly, surprisingly, shockingly.  She was one of those people who instantly became your friend – no matter whether you had just met her or known her for years, she showed you the same warmth and welcome.  She was so smart and accomplished.  Unfortunately, circumstances surrounding her death have brought out the worst in her story, instead of highlighting everything that she was.  We’re so saddened by all of this, and I think that Jason wanted an opportunity to set the story straight – to tell everyone what an amazing woman she was and what she meant to those around her.

Dear Carrie,

I have been hearing a lot about you these past few days. Unfortunately, the stories being told aren’t about all your scholarly achievements or volunteer work. They’re not about the warm, sweet person with incredible intelligence and amazing potential to achieve anything.

Your research is often referenced in these stories, but rarely is it to show how accomplished you were. Everyone should know how you published numerous papers in journals that are read widely throughout our research field. They should also know how you got to travel the globe presenting your innovative work and how you received several awards and accolades for this work.

The stories don’t include the volunteer work you did in your community and the scientific field. A neighbor discussed how you participated in several neighborhood programs. I would like to add how you participated in welcoming new graduate students into our program, teaching youth about brain research, and leading the brain bee at your school.

Most importantly, the stories don’t talk about my amazing close friend and how it hurts so much not to have you in my life anymore – and I know I am not the only person that feels this way.

JT Grad School_0005

I wish they would talk about how we would eat lunch after molecular biology every Tuesday and Thursday of our first year. It was just so easy to get along with you and after that semester, our classes were a little less constricting on our lunch schedule, but we still made sure to find each other and keep having lunch throughout my four years there. All it took was an e-mail “Lunch?” and we were off to any of a number of places. You knew what I would order before we walked in the door. These lunches were often one-sided – me discussing my so overwhelmingly insignificant problems. You, though, listened intently, offered advice, and kept having lunch with me despite how annoying I must have been. You were so unselfish. This is more poignant when during one of these lunches you noticed how one manager was treating an employee with a handicap. You noticed this again on our next visit and you spoke up so that this person would be treated with respect.

You were so unselfish that during what had to be an incredibly stressful time in your graduate career, you adopted a puppy, Roxie, that had been abandoned and left for dead. I know we weren’t making much money at all, but you made sure that puppy got feed everyday, properly trained, and received the best veterinarian care.

Just as quickly and easily that you welcomed Roxie, you often welcomed and made friends with anybody. We still talk about the night you and Jen were at the same conference and although you’d only met Jen a handful of times, you invited her to join you and your friends. Jen had a little too much fun with you, but was happy to have not had to spend the night in her hotel room alone.

You were such a good friend that even though I left school in 2004 and our communications had been sporadic, you still made the trip out to Milwaukee for our wedding in 2008. Four years without seeing each other and it was like we hadn’t missed a beat. I remember seeing you standing outside the hotel with your fiance and immediately we were talking like our days in school. You were telling me how much you loved Baltimore and I was relaying all my old stomping grounds from college. You filled me in on how they changed, but it was clear that our relationship hadn’t. We had so much fun with you that weekend and it meant so much to us to have you two there.

DSCF1063

That will have been a year ago this weekend, but luckily we got to see you again that November. We were all attending the same conference and were not about to pass up the chance to get together. After wandering around DC for a little too long, we ended up at a poor-man’s Friendly’s and you were more than willing to indulge Jen’s desire to get up, leave, and go to a different restaurant. In the end, it was a good decision, we then proceeded to spend the next 4 hours closing down that restaurant. It was like our days of going to lunch, except this time we were adding on two people who meant the world to us and who obviously cared deeply about us. It was such a good time and I’m glad that we got to spend such an awesome night together, but I wish that had not been the last night I saw you.

We were going to see each other again in 3 weeks from now and had planned on having another night like that. The e-mails had already been exchanged last week and the plan was in place to sit down to some pizza and a few beers Sunday night. We left ourselves open to hangout at any time because we knew how much fun it would be. You had decided to keep the e-mails short because “you had a fear of the send button” and wanted to make sure we had a plan in place. Even though the e-mails were short, they relayed how excited and happy you were to have Clint in Baltimore. You even said, “I can’t wait to do coupley-type things with him, like plan a wedding.” Jen and I were so excited for that wedding and couldn’t wait to discuss all that and everything else with you in just a couple weeks.

Sadly, we won’t have that discussion. Instead, we’re shedding tears and discussing things we wish we didn’t have to. Luckily, though, you had so many friends that cared about you that there’s a great support system to deal with this pain and to remember the great times we all had together with you. We have so many memories, but we miss you.

This is the person I will remember – a warm, selfless, fun, kind, caring friend.

Harder, though, is how much I’ll miss you.

Love,

JT

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. mom permalink
    October 1, 2009 11:41 pm

    Dear Jason,

    I am so sorry to hear about this. I do remember meeting them during the wedding weekend and in fact, they helped us carry things out at the end of the evening! They were a very friendly, upbeat couple and it breaks my heart to hear it end so painfully. My prayers are with Clint and her family as well as you and your friends who, as I can see from your words, will miss her greatly.

  2. Sara Jane permalink
    October 2, 2009 9:21 am

    Jason, Thank you so much for the beautiful words, it is so perfect. And thank you as well for talking about Clint and putting in pictures of them together. He is still with us and needs our love. I look forward to seeing you guys at Thanksgiving and holding you extra tight.

  3. October 2, 2009 4:44 pm

    So sorry for your loss.

    Hugs and prayers.

  4. aunt tami permalink
    October 3, 2009 9:03 am

    Jason and Jen,
    So sorry to hear about Carrie. The loss of a friend leaves such a hole in your heart. Thoughts and prayers for you and her family. Take care.

  5. October 3, 2009 12:12 pm

    Hi – Jen & Jason – sorry I haven’t written this when you first posted it but I have been out of town. I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss, and that both are in my prayers today – and have been since I read this.

    It’s hard to always know the right thing to say – {atleast for me it is} but know that I am sending a hug to you.

  6. Jennifer Kerrigan permalink
    October 3, 2009 9:12 pm

    Thank you Jason! I just found out today through the article in the WS Journal. I am shocked and saddened, but even more so angry about how the news media is portraying her! I am horrified that they could take such a wonderful and caring person and tear her apart like that. Thank you for the amazing blog entry. My thoughts are with you and her family.

  7. Sharon permalink
    October 3, 2009 9:30 pm

    Jason,
    Your tribute brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing such personal memories and including those great photos. I am the person who wrote the letter “Neighbor: The other side of Carrie John”. Although you and I are strangers, we can still grieve together over such a terrible, terrible loss. Carrie left behind a lot of people who thought the world of her.

  8. Marianne permalink
    October 4, 2009 12:34 pm

    Thank you for a lovely tribute to my beautiful daughter. This also brought me to tears. I pray that in spite of this tragedy we continue to remember the good, the gracious, and amazing woman that she was.

    Clint was her soulmate and I thank you for putting pictures of them together.

    Carrie’s mama xoxo

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