Today is the funeral of my honourary auntie Carole and the family very kindly decided to give any money donated to Myaware. As I sadly couldn’t make it up for varied reasons, my mum asked me if I wanted to contribute anything to the speech that she was asked to give. The words flowed as I thought back to many happy memories we shared. Here’s what I wrote for this wonderful woman:
Carole, an honorary auntie to me, who always had warm hugs to share, a filthy laugh to brighten up my day and a joke to tell. Our family gatherings will not be the same without you Carole.
When I heard the news, the first memories that flooded back to me were of happy times we shared in Cyprus. Of her sneaking me cigarettes when my mum wasn’t watching, the hilarious stories she’d share over evening drinks, her being kind enough to let me stay in her flat, and, just like me, her passion for shopping.
The latter was shown most clearly to me when we all took a trip to Northern Cyprus. We were cooped up in a car for what felt like forever for a teenager. By the time we arrived in Famagusta, I wasn’t interested in seeing any of the sights – I just wanted to get to the shops. Thankfully I was in good company with Carole – the fastest I’ve ever seen her move was when the market came into view. Carole was a champion haggler and this was my first full experience of her talents in action. I’m not sure what she came away with, but she treated me to a beautiful bag at half the price the traders bought it for. I was in complete awe at her skills and whenever I try to barter now that day comes to mind.
On another Cyprus evening, I had flown my then girlfriend in and Carole kept looking at us and smiling. I hadn’t told her at this point that I was gay and that this girl was more than a friend, but later that evening she brought it up in the most natural way and gave me the warmest hug. That was Carole – she was always warm, she was always generous and she loved seeing the people that she cared about happy.
When I had an operation last year for myasthenia gravis, she not only texted me every day to check how I was getting on but also my mum to see how she was doing’
I continued by saying I wanted to thank the family for donating the collection money today to Myaware and how much it means to me.
Carole, you will be in my heart today and always.