Writing our Thoughts

An Obituary ~ this one is Joel's - 2015

Well, Shoot!  I’m dead.
Should have told you a couple of weeks ago, but Kate has the only fingers I can use and she just hasn’t felt the creative urge to write like I do.

I left that ratty ol’ body behind on August 7,, 2015, and slipped into the coolest pair of wings you ever saw. But you know me; no plain ol’ white ones for me!  Mine are bright turquoise and hot pinks and huge and fluffy. I didn’t spend a lot of time leaving once I understood just how sick that body was. But we had a grand ride, especially those last couple of decades. Wow!

Just so you know, we thought we were chasing heart valve trouble, but the sneaky thing that actually took me out was liver failure. Who knew?!!
I left a few folks I care about behind. Kate Winner was my wife of 21+ years.  She took damn good care of me over the years, and stuck right by me all the way…well, she’s still living, so I guess she’ll have some catching up to do later on. And I must mention our kiddos, Bearly, Mango, and Maxie.

I was born in Fremont, MI, over 7 decades ago. Still holding down the fort in the Midwest for me are my siblings: my sweet baby sister, Chris Carothers, in Ann Arbor, MI; my brother Curt Carothers, in White Cloud, MI; and sis, Cathy Carothers; two most favorite cousins: Rilee Thompson-Masters in Baldwin, MI, and Jane Thompson, back in Fremont, at last; and some great nieces and nephews: Maya, Luke, Neil, Elec, Alan, Kevin, Dalton, Kelsey, and Cody, and Rilee’s grandkids Leah and Lane.
My Ruidoso posse, aka The Girls, include Kathryn Walker, Marcia King, Carol Freeman, Mary Taylor, Susan Finch, and Nancy Bradford; great friends, golfers, Karaoke Crooners, and Hand & Foot players. And Shaula Cull who never failed to answer the call from Kate about house and cat care, and who took Kate to LOOOONNG lunches when she needed a break; and Andrea Radow in Albuquerque, whose hospitality and support were invaluable to Kate in the last several weeks. If this were Kate’s obit, she’d mention Jim Blackburn and her CheeBees, too. They are helping her out even now.
There are others whose names should be here, but I can’t get Kate to pull those names out of the air, though I’m shouting them at her pretty loudly!

Back in the day, I was a great trumpet player, getting two summer scholarships to Interlochen during high school. I even had a hand in starting the first Gay & Lesbian chorus in Chicago. I loved golf, too, and got to be pretty good at it, playing often, especially with my great friend, Fran, who was waiting for me when I got here. I also enjoyed writing: poems, screenplays, books…may even get one published posthumously. Cool, huh?! I loved travel and am still a little miffed that I will miss the cruise in February! Sue, Chris R, and your partners better have a rockin’ good time, that’s all I’m saying!

Kate and I would like to thank a lot of people. The Angel Team are those friends who stayed in touch throughout this last summer and filled the air with prayer, meditation, positive energy, and help with the chores; our ‘Not Doctor’ Amanda Smithers, PA, who spoke real truth to us at a time when we needed it; the team at Presbyterian Kaseman Hospice in Albuquerque, who took care of both of us in the ‘last days’.  If you need a cool, peaceful place to croak, that’s the one!

And on a similar note, here’s some advice you need. Never miss a chance to have a good time or say I love you. And talk about what you want your ‘transition’ experience to look like with those who may be walking it with you. Kate keeps a “Croaking” folder; it’s a good idea.

And lastly (unless I decide to haunt you), I meant to throw my own pre-death wake with loud music, probably some Karaoke, and always great food. I didn’t get it done, and Kate hasn’t a clue… so, remember me in your own way…on a golf course or a BEACH or a cruise. It won’t matter and I’ll know!

There have been two other remembrances written about me. They both make me smile. And in case you’re interested too, you will find them at these links.
This one published in The Windy City Times: (lots of photos here)
http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/PASSAGES-Joel-B-Carothers-dies/52485.html
and this one written by my nephew Alan Winner:
http://www.crazytownblog.com/crazytown/2015/08/transitioning.html#more



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July, 2012

 


Another First

Another First

I see it as your foot skips over, its tail whisks and snaps as it rushes into the safety of the brush.

It’s our second walk in the forest this week he and I. Happiness pours into my soul knowing he wants to spend more time with me!

"Stop!" I say a little too hurriedly, excited about our find, never really knowing when a sighting will take place. "Be still, easy, don’t move too fast", I whisper, as I slowly creep to spy its resting place. My motion is quick and steady as I lock my fingers around it as gently as possible, not allowing it to slip away. As I stand holding our prize he reaches quickly without hesitation, wrapping his tiny little fingers around its wiggling body, the look on his face is of stunned exhilaration.

"Nana, it’s my first time to hold a snake."
"Hold him gently but firmly behind his head and allow his tail to wrap around your wrist; now he is secure, as you are when your feet are planted firmly on the ground."

Our firsts started eight years ago when I watched him unfold out of the safety of all he knew. Looking like a little Pterodactyl his limbs long and skinny grasping for that safety, just as the snake hanging in midair tips his tail to connect with that which he knows.

We find many more prizes on our short excursion that day, each one gently scooped up and released, and with each find I remind him,

“With gratitude thank them for their presence and your connection with them, for mother earth has many gifts to share.”

 And for the second time that week he skips along the path and tells me “you’re my spiritual Nana”.

He and I we have many things to teach each other.  We have many more firsts ahead of us. Some will be grand and some will be small, but with each one my heart and soul will be as full as the first!

 

Angie    September 2019


Delphi

Delphi 

 

Is there a magnet drawing me to you?

 

I walked down the hill to the Tholos, 

     rounded a corner

     and there you were 

 

Tears flowed unchecked down my cheeks 

Even though I was still asleep at that first encounter, 

    my spirit knew you

    My soul remembered

   Tears of recognition, tears of joy came unbidden

 

How my soul rejoiced!

    Memories of times past, of sacred rituals 

    floated at the edge of consciousness

 

Several times since then I’ve made return pilgrimages

My being is at peace in your embrace

 

Delphi, place that I love

 

 

Winona S.  Sept. 2019


Where I'm From

Where I’m From


I’m from creators and tinkerers.
I’m from dilettantes and demigods.
I’m from demolitionists and destroyers.
I’m from musicians and mentalists.
I’m from stoics and strangers.
I’m from teachers and hoarders.

I’m from churches that nourish, and withhold.
I’m from perfectionism, taught without tenderness.
I’m from people who do what they are told.
I’m from people who won’t.

I‘m from landowners.
I’m from settlers, and from the unsettled; tied by DNA to both.
I’m from blissful ignorance born of privilege. Still ignorant, but less so.
I‘m from willful blindness; learning to see.
I’m from Wall Street and from back streets.
I’m from women who held power. And lost it.

I’m from joy, and lust.
I’m from love and apathy.
I’m from accomplishment and disappointment.
I’m from contentment and depression.
I’m from lessons, and from doing it my way.
I’m from an unremembered past, charting a path without moorings.

I’m from stardust, formerly pulsing thru the cosmos, now living a sabbatical from pure energy, to explore the nature of a physical body.  
I’m from 73 years of living this physical experiment.
It’s taken this long to learn there is no test at the end of it.
I forget why I chose this.

Sometimes I remember.

 

Kate W. 9-9-2019