Carolyn...Love of My Life
by Tom Lackey
Today, March 25th, would have been our 37th wedding anniversary. My wife Carolyn drowned in a rafting accident in New Zealand on Jan 17, 2010. I miss my wife more than I could have ever imagined. The first few weeks after the accident I cried some, but I think I was in such shock that my mind and body would not let me mourn. For the past few weeks all I want to do is be home alone and cry. Now I am just growing cold inside. I hurt so bad.
I have family...parents, two sons, grandchildren, but I just cannot open up and talk and grieve with them. I met my wife when I was 15 and I married her when I was 22. She was the only person I could be open with and show my emotions without reservation.. What I would give right now to put my head in her lap and just cry my heart out.
How could I have been so lucky to meet a 15 year old girl and 45 years later look at her and know that she was all that I wanted in the world. Sometimes I would wake up in the morning and just lay in bed and watch her sleep and listen to her breathe. I knew I was so blessed.
I think our oldest son best described his mother at the funeral. What made my mom a beautiful mother? Her RECIPES. Not only in cooking but the recipes of life: Love, Faith, Family, Nurturing, Passion, Knowledge, and Dreams. She truly understood people. She taught us, and when I say us, I mean everyone in this church, in this town, anyone that she came in contact with. She showed what LOVE is. She never offered a handshake......she offered hugs. Mom taught me to express emotion, to let someone know that I loved them. She taught me how to love.
That was my wife. We shared a life together and I do not know how it could have been any better. In the movie, Seven Pounds, Will Smith says, “God created the world in seven days, and I destroyed mine in seven seconds.” That is the way I feel.
The day of the accident, we were rafting down a wilderness river in New Zealand. My son and daughter-in-law were in the front of the raft, I was sitting in the middle rowing the raft, and my wife was sitting behind me in the back of the raft. We were having a wonderful day. We had gone thru several challenging rapids and we only had one remaining rapid. Halfway thru the rapid, the raft flipped and we were tossed into the water. Three of us got out of the river safely but Carolyn was tossed to the left side of the river and was immediately swept under a rock by the current. She had on a life jacket but it did not help. She drowned immediately. A rope had to be tied to her life jacket and a rescue helicopter was used to pull her out of the water.
The nightmare plays every day in my mind and I feel responsible for my wife’s death. At times the two emotions of loss and guilt are overwhelming.
My love is gone and I feel lost. I just cannot imagine my life without Carolyn and her smile.