Farewell To My Sister-in-law


On October 28 my sister-in-law passed away.  I will miss her deeply.

Carolyn was a reader.  We had that in common.  We shared the titles of books we were currently reading; mysteries, biographies, historical fiction.  But most of all it was cookbooks that we passed back and forth.  We read recipes like they were thrillers.  We found we shared a passion for cooking, baking, and all things edible.  Many hours were spent jawboning about ingredients, technique, and gadgets.


Through Carolyn’s generosity Len and I were treated to countless suburb dinners made by her hand.  But Carolyn was her biggest critic when it came to the results of a recipe.  As for me, when she cooked I thought I’d died and gone to the 5-star restaurant in heaven.

Dinner at Carolyn’s was always prefaced with a mean game of Euchre or Oh Hell and accompanied with champagne and crackers.  After dinner we’d be bid goodnight with a package of homemade bread, cookies, cake, or jam.

When I had a question in my own kitchen about an ingredient substitution, she was always there at the other end of the phone making suggestions and laughing about some recipe that had flopped.

Then there were the aunts.  I’m talking about Carolyn’s Aunt Sade, Aunt Helen, Aunt Mary, and all the rest from Michigan.  She had a boatload of aunts who gave her the secrets to a perfect apricot tart, almond crescent, and cakes of all persuasion.

I’ll miss Carolyn deeply but here’s what I know.  If there’s a kitchen in heaven (and I’m pretty sure there is), her spirit is busy combining 1 cup of delight, 2 Tablespoons of joy, and 3 eggs of gladness.  She’s whipping all that into a heavenly cake of comfort and peace.  Champagne is nearby.

Thank you, Sister, for pouring me a glass of memories that will always be full.


There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.  –George Santayana


  1. MaryAnneSurma says:

    Val, What a beautiful synopsis of your time with Carolyn.
    We all appreciate your writing .Sorry you didn’t get the opportunity to read it after mass.
    Mary Anne

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