Happy Birthday, Precious Friend!

Aug 17, 2017 by

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Today (August 17) is my dear friend Carolyn’s birthday. I still have a message on my voice mail from when she called on May 1 and sang her traditional “Happy Happy, HAPPY Birthday” song to me. That night, we talked for almost an hour and planned to get together for coffee to celebrate sometime over the summer.

Unfortunately, I can’t call Carolyn to wish her a Happy Birthday. We won’t celebrate mine late with coffee or lunch as planned, or hers. On Monday, she was placed on Hospice care after a four-year battle with multiple myeloma cancer. I posted a Happy Birthday message on her Facebook wall, but that didn’t seem like enough for a friend who has been so special to me since I started taking voice lessons from her at 21, so my present will be a Happy Birthday blog post. Since I can’t take her out for coffee, I made a latte with extra foam in her honor.

Happy Birthday, Carolyn!

I remember a morning when we had breakfast together at Ruggie’s. You leaned across the table and whispered, “Jeanette. I just saw us in thirty years.” I looked just in time to see two elderly women shuffle their way to a nearby table. One was clearly a decade or so older than the other; the younger one was tallest. Yep, it was an older you and me alright! We snort/giggled then sipped coffee to make ourselves stop.

About a year later, we went out for Valentine’s Day tea—your first outing after recovering from a stem cell transplant and being declared cancer free. The sweet lady who owned the tea house took this picture for us, and you wrote a praise report on a leaf for her to hang on her prayer wall.

VDayTea with Carolyn_2014

Happy Birthday, Carolyn! Click To Tweet

Soon, you will be eternally cancer free, having the best party ever with Jesus and everyone you love who got to heaven ahead of you. It makes me sad to know that we won’t become like those two ladies in Ruggie’s, but I am so deeply thankful that I got to have you as a friend for this long. I am thankful that we didn’t part ways because we had a falling out, or because one of us moved and we lost touch, or because we had one of those “for a season” friendships. Our bond has never included a single unkind word, and has survived my fifteen years in Reno and almost three decades of seasons.

I love that we started out as teacher and student and so quickly hit it off as friends. We never did figure out the reason behind why I became your only student who often held back during my voice lessons and sang out at recitals and performances instead of the other way around. I guess I just needed an audience!

You weren’t my first singing teacher, but you were the one who helped me learn to sing with confidence, and helped me embrace the voice God gave me and discover what kind of singer I was. You equipped me to use my voice to bless others and help lead them in worship, and to learn to sing from my heart. What a gift!

I could go on and on with hundreds more thank you’s, fun memories, and reasons for why I’m grateful that God placed you in my life, but maybe I’ll save those as future material so this post doesn’t turn into the written equivalent of sitting through someone else’s vacation photos. I won’t say goodbye, because I know we will see each other again. As Kristy said yesterday, the angels are probably extremely excited about the idea of you helping them lead worship in heaven. One of these days, I’ll get to join the choir too, and we’ll finally get to sing together again. You take the harmony part, I’ll cover the melody, and I promise to sing out!

See you in heaven, precious friend. I love you!

UPDATE: A couple of hours after writing and posting this, I found out that Carolyn went home to be with Jesus. She left this earth on the anniversary of the day she entered it.

See you in heaven, precious friend. I love you! Click To Tweet
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  1. Love you friend! Carolyn has been blessed to have you in her life for decades into eternity. 🙂

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      Long-lasting friendships like Carolyn’s are such a blessing. Love you! I look forward to seeing you soon.

  2. Melinda

    Happy 🎂 Carolyn. I wish I could of met you. You sound like an amazing lady and a kind of friend we all want and love deeply.
    BIG HUG for you Jeanette. Every time you sing your heart out it
    is in Carolyn’s honor practicing to join her and the angels one day. ❤️

  3. It’s hard to loose a wonderful friend, even though we know we’ll be together again. I’m praying extra hard for you.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to your friend! Love you, Jeanette!

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