Mom went away. In these words I want to recognise what she was through an subjective perspective and what she brought to us.
Carol was an extremely intuitive and creative woman, had the kind of emotional intelligence that is often tagged as deeply « feminine ».
She was an artist. She was free.
She painted all her life, she designed her homes, she cooked for the persons she loved. One of her paintings – a portrait of herself – pictures a blue woman lost in dreams and trapped in a cloudy world, a world from which there is a deep will to escape and a powerful appeal to do so. And so after years of duties to her children and family she managed to reclaim her own space and obtain some freedom for herself, to live what she wanted.
I have often heard « why did she go to Cyprus? ? ».
She did her chores as a mother, and I can only bring up pictures of birthday parties, colourful cakes and wonderfully wrapped presents, the way she encouraged each of her daughters to pursue their passions, wether violin, horse riding, reading or art. We can only bring back now her incredible faculty to bring people together around a freshly cooked meal stemming from all the different cultures she was curious about and sharing them together in a very generous way, never counting money or time, with a sense of a welcoming ritual and a perpetuation of tradition around Xmas. We are all grateful that she could give us these privileged moments, emblematic of a woman who had an extremely developed emotional and intuitive intelligence, the faculty to have everyone feeling at ease and welcome, the power to unite even through difficult times and to remind us of what is colourful, enjoyable in our lives.
She was a doer. And pretty efficient too.
After years y of working in a challenging environment, where she was able to organise, manage and proof read initiatives for the economic developping countries at UNCTAD, where her capacities were appreciated and used, she went off to manage voting stations in Cambodia, also becoming involved in the changes in ex Yougoslavia, and Afghanistan. It was incredible that she took the freedom to develop her professional path in that way, challenging the gender normative around the work tagged socially as« secretary ».
Then she left for Cyprus.
And I am happy she offered us this example of reclaiming some freedom to live her life as a woman and enjoy, against all odds.
She called me three years ago asking « Am I a bad mother? » I remember telling her how deeply emotionally intelligent she was which coming from me surprised her. And telling her she offered me, as a woman and mother, a precious exemple, a concrete example, an exemple that one is able to follow : cook, travel and connect. Dont be afraid of what people say or think, and reclaim « I did it my way ».
I imagine her, as she said, in Cyprus, walking bare foot on the beach, playing bridge, cooking for her beloved friends and it soothes me to know that she was happy there. I want us to accept this as an art of courage and freedom she offered the women of this family, a right to reclaim some space to live, create art, enjoy and be free.
She was a dreamer and a romantic.
I learned two years ago from her sister Susan that she loved a song as a teenager, and used to play it very loudly on her record player and sing very loudly, causing some complaints among neighbours. I remember Carole’s smile two years ago on her face when we looked up for the song on YouTube and we all listened to it. I love the idea of this young beautiful teenager full of expectation about love and life listening to this song that I now want to share with you because it was her favourite song at the time.
Tell Laura I Love her, Ray Peterson