This past week was a week filled with new beginnings and special endings. Of dreaming of the future and being fearful of what may come. Of catching up with family and saying goodbye to a dear friend.
A few days ago Hurricane Matthew skirted along the Florida coast; causing turmoil and disruption to the lives of everyone in it’s path. Much of my extended family live in New Smyrna Beach, where the eye of Matthew came a mere 17 miles to the coast and bombarded the town with 120 m/hr winds. People were fearing the worst there as the storm approached. Thankfully everyone in my family seems to have faired pretty well. They have minor damage to their homes and cars and have lots of cleanup to do. My parents are still without power, but as my mother says “it could have been worse”. Their neighbor’s house did not fair as well when a large oak tree fell to the storm and landed on their home. Smashing the roof and walls on their cars; which were in the garage. I’ve caught myself thinking several times “I’m glad it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”. Then I feel guilty because I think the people of Haiti would disagree.
I Think She was Smiling
This past week we lost a dear friend, Kaaren Engel. Kaaren was one of those special people that just loved people and loved life. I’m struck by all of the positive and uplifting emotion that is coming from everyone that knew her. Whether you knew her casually or intimately you were a better person for it.
“This season of life won’t necessarily afford me the pleasure of indulging in my wildest dreams.” (http://emilypfreeman.com/the-email-ill-never-forget/)
I read this quote this morning and immediately thought of Kaaren. Kaaren left a successful career as a corporate lawyer many years ago to pursue her love of being an artist. She knew that being a lawyer wasn’t what truly brought her happiness and was willing to make the big decision to leave it behind. Today she is an icon of the Nashville art scene and leaves a legacy of leadership to so many of those in the local art scene.
We met Kaaren 10 years ago and she selflessly started mentoring Carrie in her art almost immediately. Kaaren has been very influential in Carrie’s art, gently nudging her when she needed it. It was Kaaren that convinced her to start showing more. It was Kaaren that encourage to start working bigger and in three dimensions. Both of which have been the hallmarks of the last several of Carrie’s shows.
I am grateful for the love and support that Kaaren provided to us the last several years. She has always been huge support to Carrie in finding her voice. But the thing that I will most respect her for was her dedication to life. She found her passion and she lived life the way she wanted to live it. She reminds me that there is no better time to fulfill your dreams than the present and to live life to the fullest.
We last saw her while she was at rest in her home. She looked peaceful in bed and I’m pretty sure she was smiling. And why wouldn’t she be? She lived well and left the world better than she found it.