Carol Biggs Taylor
We were young. Carol was 16 and I was 19 when we went out on our first date. We dated for 3½ years before I asked her to marry me and spend the rest of our lives together. She was proud that we raised two wonderful daughters along the way.
Carol was a beautiful woman, kind and cheerful, disarmingly so, with a delightful smile. She was most stunningly beautiful on the inside because she cared so much about other people. I knew she was a catch from the first moment I saw her. Carol enjoyed doing arts and crafts, and she was good at it. At Tech she majored in Art, and so as an artist she had empathy for the engineering majors like me, but really her major was people.
That’s what she wanted to do; it was to help people. She would help her neighbors, friends, clients and co-workers at her job, even random people at the grocery store, and especially her family. Before kids, Carol worked for an insurance company, first as a receptionist and then promoted to an auto claims assistant. I don’t think it was the most pleasant job dealing with the customers coming in with claims. Everyone comes in upset, angry, and mad. But she would calm the customers and assured them it was going to be OK. She had that knack to be able to disarm people’s anxiety and calm them down.
Carol cared for her family the most, her parents, sister, her husband, her daughters, and grandchildren. She urged all of us to be the best we could be, because she knew this would help us to be happy with ourselves. She wanted all of us to be happy. Carol was very frugal. She didn’t put a whole lot of stock into material things, except that they enabled a secure environment for her family and were tools to let us be happy and enjoy life. She sometimes would say to me, if she thought I was being selfish or overly materialistic: “when you’re on your deathbed, is this thing what you want people to remember you for?”
Carol had a philosophy about life, that each of us is put here to fulfill a purpose, to have meaning to our lives. She felt it was most important to make a contribution, to have a positive impact on others so they also could make a contribution to society and the world. Her contribution was to support and raise her family, and to help her neighbors and friends.
Carol loved our children; they made her so happy. She lived vicariously through them, guiding them along and protecting them. Their experiences were her experiences, their happiness was her happiness, and their sadness was her sadness. Carol was so devoted to them, and she was tuned in. She had more than eyes in the back of her head, she had her “mom antenna” that sensed everyone’s feelings. She could read our body language and faces like a book. Even as the disease progressed, and she couldn’t talk or barely understood what we were saying, she could read my face and knew what I was feeling, even to the very end. She was so very proud of each of us, to see her legacy being fulfilled through our achievements and through our contributions. In thinking about what Carol would want me to say about her, I think it would be that her life was fun as well as meaningful.
Carol and I were very lucky. Some may question that, after losing her, enduring her long illness and all the caregiving. But we truly are fortunate, each finding the love of our lives at an early age, and keeping that as we changed over the years. Carol especially loved her grandchildren, although it is most sad that she is missing out now on their development. Carol’s excitement and the expressions of pure joy when seeing her grandkids was absolutely beyond priceless. That was the real Carol coming through. Now it is up to us, to carry Carol’s spirit within us. Love will guide us if we just let it.