September 24, Carroll’s Passing

Our dear, beloved mother and grandmother, Marguerite Carroll Baker, peacefully passed away Saturday evening, September 23. We are bereft. We are also grateful that her transition to death was as comfortable and peaceful as it was, and we know that Carroll was ready for this. She gave us ample opportunity to begin the grieving process, to say good-bye and to affirm how fully and completely we love her, and her us.

My frequent conversations via satphone with my mother at least partially transcended the great distances between us. These calls became twice daily during the last week, and were either daily or every second day throughout our cruise. My mother has an almost uncanny ability to enthusiastically engage with others’ experiences. She always wanted to know where we were (tracing our route on her atlas and globe), what and how we were doing, and where we were going next. She particularly enjoyed reading, and later having read to her, the blogs that Anson and Devon wrote. True to her amazing character, she never spoke of the discomfort and pain that she must have experienced, especially after breaking her leg in late July and being confined to bed from that time on, until her death. These calls provided us ample opportunity to express and affirm our love for each other, and for her to update us on her life and how she was doing. They enabled us to feel connected to her, and to feel emotionally prepared as the end approached.

This is not the place to recount what an extraordinary woman she was. However, I would like to share how amazingly lucid she was as she approached death. Even a few hours before she passed away, she was able to acknowledge hearing my voice over the phone by raising her hand when we said good-bye. Her love for her family knew no bounds and was pure and unconditional. Our love for her fills our beings.

We also want to express our deepest appreciation for Mark’s sister, Zara, who has played such a central role supporting our mother during the last nine months. Without Zara’s steadfast support for Carroll, we would not have been able to embark on this cruise. The regular outings that Zara took our mother on during this period immeasurably enhanced her quality of life, as did the frequent visits she paid to her at home. Zara was the primary interface with Hospice, and she played a central role in organizing the 24 hour care that enabled Carroll to remain at home during the last several weeks of her life. Zara also spent many precious hours with Carroll as she transitioned out of this world. Thank you, Zara. We take comfort also in the knowledge that our mother was supported by a strong and vibrant community of friends and neighbors during this period. These include her neighbor Carol’s daily visits and piano playing, visits from our dear friend Judee, ongoing support from Emily, Mother Sara and fellow parishioners of her Episcopal Church, the Hospice chaplain, Bob, Dr. Ellen Mahoney, and other dear neighbors and friends. We are also grateful to Hospice and to Agape staff for providing such professional, compassionate and loving care for Carroll throughout this period.

Our hearts are heavy with sadness and grief.

Mark
Vava’u group, Tonga

17 thoughts on “September 24, Carroll’s Passing

  1. Dear Mark, Kim, Anson, and Devon,
    Our thoughts, warm wishes, and condolences are with you during this difficult time. Carroll was an amazing woman!
    With Love,
    John, Carolyn, Jake, and Emelia

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  2. Our sincere condolences Mark, to you and your family, on the loss of your mother. From everything I have heard about her, she was a remarkable woman.

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  3. Dear Mark,
    Another most beautiful post …and on such a sad occasion. If you shoild want to write more about your mother’s life and pist it, I would love to read more about her. She does sound like a most special person.
    Sending love and sympathy to you all,
    Deborah

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  4. I am so sorry to hear of Carole’s passing. She was a remarkable woman. I always enjoyed my conversations with her, and I always thought, “I want to be like her when I grow up!” I love that she took classes through Olli; she wanted to talk about ideas. My heart goes out to you as you all grieve Caroll’s passing. May her memory be a blessing.
    Love,
    Carolyn

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  5. Oh Mark,
    I’m so sorry to read of your mom’s passing. She impressed me as lively, engaged, active and just lovely the few times we met in Arcata. Both my parents passed within 9 months of each other a few years ago, so I know a bit of what it can feel like. My heart goes out to you and Kim and Anson and Devon.
    Cecilia

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  6. Mark,

    John forwarded your beautiful post re: your remarkable mother, whom I had the pleasure of meeting my first year here. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

    Joice

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  7. Dear Mark and family –

    I’m so sorry to hear of Carroll’s passing – please accept my deepest condolences during this transitional time.

    Sending loving and healing thoughts,
    Nicola

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  8. We look forward to your telling about Carroll’s extraordinary life, all four of you. Please include her “round of applause” gestures and her love of teaching bridge to Devon! Also her hard work during WWll and after: as a decoder, as a
    midwife on bike, and many other accomplishments. The best thing she ever did, however, was to give birth to you and Zara, Mark. We all benefit from that event on a regular basis! Much love, Nana

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  9. Dear Mark,
    I am so sorry to read of your mothers passing. I know that it takes time to grieve and then time to heal. After loosing richard just six months ago i can imagine your pain. I send my best thoughts to Anson, Devon and Kim. Joan

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  10. Mark, Kim, Devon, Anson: my deepest condolences. As shared with you at other times, I admire greatly the grace with which both Carroll and your father, lived their lives. I see their grace in you Mark and Sara through each and every interaction. To add to “nana” Louise’s comments about memories of Carroll (and Tenbroek) – From the first memory (of thanksgiving) to the last, they all are of great value. But especially, I so enjoyed our visits to Covelo, and was always most in amazement at Carroll’s food preparation – having seemingly prepared a different incredible dessert ahead of time for each day we planned to visit. Of course, it is always their spirits, their civility and genuine warmth that I most remember, and feel most fortunate for having experienced. As for bridge, Carroll retaught me the newer rules in those visits to Arcata, where I always looked forward to our after dinner game. again, I appreciate your sharing your heart with me. My heart is with all of you. md

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  11. Dear Mark and family,
    I am so sad to hear of your mother’s passing — been thinking about her often during your expedition. We got to spend a good bit of time together when you all came to Seattle and joined the WTO protest many years ago, a visit I’ll never forget! I’m sending so much love your way. Sounds like you had the best possible long-distance communication with Carroll during her last weeks, and the most loving and devoted caregivers short of yourself… May your memories of her comfort you everywhere you go.
    All my love,
    Janie

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  12. Bonjour à Mark et sa famille.
    Je vous présente mes sincères condoléances. Je n’ai pas beaucoup connu ta maman et bien que cela fasse très longtemps, je me rappelle d’elle, son sourire, sa bonne humeur et sa gentillesse.
    Une maman étant quelqu’un d’irremplaçable c’est une perte immense pour toi et Zara.
    Je vous embrasse tous très fort et je vous souhaite bon vent afin de poursuivre, malgré tout, votre merveilleux voyage.
    Régine
    PS: désolée c’est en français mais ainsi vous reviserez le français 😉

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  13. Dear Mark and family,

    Thank you for the achingly beautiful tribute to your mother, family and love. May your grieving lessen day-by-day and may we hear soon more about the extraordinary life of Caroll.

    With love,

    Lini

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  14. Dear Mark and family,

    We heard your message today and are saddened to hear of your mother’s death. She was very dear to both of us, as were both of you “children” and your father. The days we all spent together in Ojai and at St. Andrew’s will always be among our fondest memories. Carroll has always been an inspiration to me and I dearly loved reading your tribute to her. Fr. Jim joins me in sending love to you and your family and in hoping that when you return from your wonderful adventure, we can all gather together in celebration of Carroll! With love, Karen and Fr. Jim

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