Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Goodbye Friend

Saying goodbye is really hard.

I struggled when my grandfather, my papa, passed away from complications due to Esophageal Cancer 3/5/2011.  I wasn't able to make it home to say goodbye or hug him one last time or tell him everything would be okay.  On 8/18/2014 a friend and colleague passed away from Uterine Cancer.  When I learned of Lynn's passing all the same feelings and emotions were back.

On the evening of 8/18/14.  I sent a text message to the MSBA Board of Directors.  I let them know that I still didn't have Internet and that I was cancelling the meeting for tomorrow.  The following morning when I awoke I found a text message and two voice-mail messages waiting.  When I check the messages I received news of Lynn's passing.  I cried.  I have so many questions.

Tuesday the 19th I spent the day on the phone calling the MSBA Board Members just to talk and share our feelings.  We did make each other cry and we were also able to make each other laugh.  It was clear as we talked to each other that we would need to have a meeting just to talk about Lynn.  Talk about her memory and how we would honor her and her spirit.  This meeting would be determined in the near future.

I have volunteered with the organization and these wonderful ladies for the last 6 years.  These ladies aren't just colleagues they are my fellow Veteran and Military Spouse friends.  I don't see these ladies often in person but we do meet virtually and have conference calls.  Yes we talk about "work" or the organization but we also talk about military family issues, family, friends, etc.  We are friends!

I had Internet by the end of the week and was able to set up a meeting day and time with everyone to honor Lynn.  Those that went to Lynn's Celebration of Life service in Virginia shared there experience and feelings.  Those who weren't able to make it also shared our feelings.  We talked about how we would honor Lynn.  At this time we feel that it is best to help promote Uterine Cancer awareness, which is in September.  We will do a social media push during the month.  We will also work on something special for the MSBA website and a write-up on the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act Facebook Page.

I reached out to Lynn's mom and learned that I could write a memory story and submit that for a book that they were going to make.  I spent some time one day sitting down and putting that together.  I did forward it to Mrs. Gray after I had hubby read it.  The following is my story/memory of Lynn Carroll.

Lynn was a larger-than-life military spouse.  The first time I “met” Lynn was through the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) Coalition.  Lynn, Lanette and I were the lead callers for Surge on Congress during the summer before the bill was passed into law.  Her dedication lead to vital support from the members of the Congressional Military Caucus and the signing of MSRRA into law on Veteran’s Day 2009.

After MSRRA Lynn volunteered alongside me with the Military Spouse Business Association, MSBA.  I saw firsthand Lynn’s strong passion to help fellow military spouse entrepreneurs.  Her paralegal background was valuable to the non-profit.  She worked beside two other MSBA legal volunteers to assist in answering questions from MSBA’s members as well as aiding the organization in its legal obligations.

In January 2012 Lynn picked me up at my house to spend the weekend in DC. We were meeting with fellow MSBA Board of Directors to announce the organization’s partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Military Spouse Business Alliance while also participating in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Symposium. At the career fair Lynn talked with fellow military spouses about self-employment being a viable alternative to employment.

In February 2012 Lynn and I went into DC to speak at The American Legion’s National Credentialing Summit to discuss Certification and Licensing struggles that Military Spouses face.  We drove to three DC Metro Parking Garages before finding an available parking spot and once we finally arrived in DC, Lynn turned around and used that situation to make us laugh, which in turn helped to calm our nerves before speaking on the panel.  At the end of the day Lynn and I headed home but not without first stopping for a treat to celebrate a hard day’s work.

I didn’t see Lynn again in person but we would talk on the phone, exchange e-mails and worked together in support of military spouse and Veteran Entrepreneurs.  Lynn you were in my life for too short a time and I will miss you!  You will not be forgotten!
Your friend,