Guest Opinion: Wisdom Workout – The Fabric of Timeless Friendship

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Susan Velasquez

Last Friday, the Memorial Service for Carol Reynolds, longtime resident, lifelong contributor, musician, leader, co-creator and cherished friend to so many was held at the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach. 

I was so fortunate to be included as a friend of Carol’s and benefited in so many ways through her generosity.

Carol knew “everyone” and there was always someone she couldn’t wait to introduce me to because she “just knew…” and she was delighted to be the catalyst for any kind of a happening that involved interesting conversations, good food, always music and a never-ending stream of interesting information about co-creations that were spearheaded by the “movers and shakers” of Laguna Beach who had weaved their magic into the pride and promise of what it means to be a local Laguna Beach resident.

Every holiday was an excuse for Carol to throw a party and to create another opportunity for easily renewed connections with so many interesting people who were in Carol’s circle. I was looking forward to the camaraderie that would be waiting at the event that her daughter, Patti Jo Kiraly, was hosting and was so dismayed when I woke up last Friday morning with a fever and was ‘benched’ for the weekend, restricted from the kind of closure that comes from the gathering of likeminded people with a love and caring for this special woman.

Carol had the gift of tremendous curiosity. She had a sense of wonder and a desire to learn more about everyone she met. We used to go to the Playhouse together and I loved watching her stand at the edge of the crowd inside for a few minutes until she would notice someone she wanted to greet. She was like a bee whose job it was to pollinate an entire field of flowers. By the time she reached the person she was seeking, she would have already formulated the way that she would show special attention to them. She had the ability to use the perfect opening to acknowledge that person and greet them in a very personal way.

We were all cheated of the opportunity to have scheduled visits with Carol when she was at the Fountains. I did get to see her a few times but the facility was in lockdown for so much of the past two years.

When I was told that she had died on June 19, I took some time to get quiet and silently send my love to her as she embarked on her new soul journey.

The image that came to mind as I thought of her was that of a well-defined square with no breaks in the shape. The square was substantial and I was puzzled at first and then realized that it represented the totality of her unique life that she filled to the brim with her creations—longtime friendships, innovative projects, leadership positions she spearhead and special-themed parties that she loved hosting.

Carol was a one-woman celebration. The square represented the reality that she was a highly accomplished and respected educator, innovator, and was the recipient of many opportunities as a Juilliard-trained performing artist whose pleasure it was to impart a love of music to every child and adult she could impact with her gifts.

On Tuesday morning, I quietly sat asking for a word or phrase to whisper a special message from my heart to hers. The message whispered to me is this: “Carol, thank you. I wouldn’t have missed knowing you for the world and I will cherish all that you mean to me and keep you tucked safely in my heart.”

Susan is a local writer and author of Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Reach her at susanvelasquez.com.

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