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.
Vava’u group, Tonga