~~Tribute to Carolyn Brown, by Lynne Matheny
Carolyn Brown died Saturday, February 25, 2006, at her home in Santa Rosa, with her large and loving family around her. She was 70. She left this life much as she lived it, with grace and style. Everyone who knew her liked and admired her. She was a wonderful friend, fun to be with, and I learned a great deal from her. I will miss her.
In the past two years, Carolyn had achieved her goal of living in her own home once again, after living in three different convalescent hospitals. She had her own apartment, with live-in care givers. Every time one moved on, she had to find another, always a difficult task, but one she managed. She was close to her family, and they were very attentive to her. She has a daughter in Santa Rosa and one in Ukiah, a brother and sister-in law in Cotati, a sister in the East Bay and one in Sonoma County. Her son lives in the Carolinas but visits often. She has four granddaughters and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. That’s the good news.
Her health was steadily deteriorating. She was diabetic, had heart problems, poor enough vision so that she didn’t drive and was eligible for recorded books for the visually impaired. Infections abounded and eventually her body refused to respond to one medication after the other. She would have long periods of doing pretty well, then a session in the hospital with one bodily malfunction or the other. Last summer she told me she was not going to go to the hospital any more to be prodded and tested. She had made arrangements with hospice to come to her home when the time came, and she would die quietly there. Last week, the time came. She made a very graceful exit, her daughter told me.
I have seen her regularly for the past several years, and Keith and I have been “adopted” into her family and even learned to play pinochle, which is sort of a requirement for being a part of the group. I bet you didn’t know Carolyn played pinochle. She was quite competitive and usually won. We have joined them for parties and for campouts at MacKerricher. Carolyn always attended, staying in a motel in Fort Bragg. She loved the ocean, and MacKerricher has those wonderful boardwalks she could enjoy. Her family is planning to have a memorial service for her at MacKerricher at their annual July campout, July 21-23, 2006. Instead of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Carolyn Brown Memorial Scholarship at Mendocino College. (Give checks marked specifically for that scholarship to Bette Davis.)
Carolyn once told me she often wondered why she had lived so long after the accident. I think she was here for us. She also told me that when she dreamed, she was usually walking. I like to think she’s walking now.