WTF Wednesday 26:
 Celebrating Caroline Coady

My friend Caroline is thoughtful, smart and generous. She’s fun, she’s firm and fiercely determined. Caroline’s words are soft and scrupulously chosen. Her laugh is hearty and hair-triggered. She’s a courageous hostess and a lavishing guest. She’s soothing, strong and wise.

She’s a writer, an editor, an entrepreneur, a swimmer, a skier, a scrabbler and a sedulous survivor. She’s a disciplined, self-taught anti-cancer guru. She’s a tender, tireless mother of three.

And when it comes to Arrested Development quotes…
she’s very good.

In The Beginning

Caroline and I met in autumn 1999 as we scooted, stretched and strengthened our new-mom bodies — behind our strollered newborns along the Rideau Canal. The strollercise was good for us. The post-jog coffee chats were sanity-savers. My friendship with Caroline was a big-time long-term gain.

Time passed. Our families grew.

Back at work and parenting three and two youngsters each, we’d catch glimpses of each other at the Great Glebe Garage sale or through our now-mutual friend Jay. And I’d fire her the odd emergency flare as my telco employer gasped and lurched.

Then, in early 2009, a tip from Caroline freed me from Nortel. Becoming co-workers, we reconnected. Just in time to be there for each others’ wellness swerves.

Epic Then

In our strollercising days, Caroline and I jogged, caffeinated and swapped newborn parenting tales and tips. We enjoyed playdates and parties as our clans sprouted and spread. And we met for wine and munchies to talk discipline and kids books.

As co-workers, of sorts, we met to plan and scribe for charity.

And when cancer pounced, our friendship transformed. With a four month head start on that unnerving path, Caroline was a wealth of experience, resources, advice, optimism and calm. Still deep in her own journey, Caroline offered to escort me to info sessions, appointments and treatments. She bestowed upon me healing books and practices. She kept in close contact, online, and graced my doorstep with drive-by pastry and armadillo deliveries.

And when I reached the edge of the edge, Caroline got me help.

Caroline’s advice and offers were specific and practical. And each communication bravely radiated connection and love.

As that difficult winter finally thawed, we enjoyed frequent long walks to the hospital and back. We revelled in our good news. We shared our fears and challenges. We did a weekend meditation retreat. We even traveled together — to Upper Canada Village for family fun, to Toronto for inspiration.


Epic Now

These days, Caroline and I catch up occasionally over tea or dog walks. And every so often, a little more:

  • Collaging our hopes into annual Vision Boards.
  • Guinea pig yoga.
  • Big Lebowski-ing
  • Celebrating life.

University of Caroline

On October 6, 2009, by phone between meetings at work, I received my cancer diagnosis. I excused myself immediately and walked home to find voice mail and email from Caroline already waiting: calm, concern, optimism, understanding, advice and offers of help.

Caroline’s care for me began right then. It buoyed and guided me through treatment and into my rebuilt life beyond.

Caroline gave me what no one else could. She was the very best of company in a strange new world. She too was living with pokes, prodding, suspense, uncertainty, side-effects, pain, mood-swings, nausea and loss. And more than just giving, Caroline was living her advice.

She was determined. She was positive.
She was uprooting, evaluating, discarding, selecting and visualizing. Consciously creating a better life.

Caroline faced all possibilities with dignity.
She never gave up.

And when the dust started settling, Caroline’s example encouraged me into the forgotten world of futures. Stepping bravely into imaginings beyond the present moment, fragility and preoccupation with health, Caroline showed me the way back to life.

Caroline continues to inspire me with her determination, strength and humour. Looking squarely at uncertainty and using it to fuel her healthy new path, she continues to brighten and soften my own.

I am immensely grateful.

Fantasy Fabulosity

Believe it or not, if I could magically conjure a next adventure with Caroline I’d pick working as a writer under Caroline’s expert direction.

We’d both be healthy and working for pure pleasure (though the pay would be fabulous). Hugely empowered and motivated, we’d pool our creative talents toward a miraculously successful and fulfilling goal. The hours would be flexible, invigorating and worked from home.

I’d learn a tonne from Caroline.
We’d have loads of laughs.

It would be so worth the bonbon-eating time it would cost me.

Related Links:

 

 

WhatI’m Thankful For.
Why They’re Fab.
What Terrific Folk.
Why The Face?
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