Thursday, October 05, 2006

Aunt Carol, the Proverbs 31:10 Woman

Published October 5, 2006
Aunt Carol, a Proverbs 31:10 woman

(Who shall find a valiant woman? Far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her). That woman was 62 years young, born in Hatfield, PA, raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey and lived her life in the Jersey Shore area of Manasquan and Wall Township. The testament to her life are her three sons and daughters-in law, three grandchildren and loving husband of 42 years, all whom adored her, the valiant woman, whom I called Aunt Carol. She was so easy to love because she loved greatly. She was the proverbial, Proverbs 31:10 woman.

My Aunt, Carol Ann Megill, passed away September 10. It came as a complete surprise to me because she preferred to keep her suffering private. Over the last year, while going through chemotherapy for an aggressive form of cancer that had metastasized to her liver, she continued to work at her grandsons’ preschool; a job she held for the last 16 years. She started a weekly correspondence with me by email, giving me family updates about the pending wedding of her youngest son, Tom and his bride Natali. These weekly emails included news about the grandkids and always asking after us, how we were doing; never hinting at her health crisis. In a bittersweet twist of fate that only God understands, Aunt Carol left the world six days before the wedding. She was so happy for them. Every reminder of her on the day of the wedding brought tears to my eyes.

(The heart of her husband trusteth in her; and he shall have no need of spoils). Aunt Carol looked after Uncle Earl with a warm home, loving smile and good cooking. She loved broadly and deeply. When it came to her life, it could not be measured by its length, but the width of her love to her family and friends. She completely poured herself out to others, taking care of her own family and her mother who passed away in January 2005. When over 400 people showed up to the funeral, coming out from all layers of her life, one only had to notice what an impact she made on others. I’ve seen Aunt Carol twice in the last three years, once in 2004 and then in 2005 when I returned for my grandmother’s funeral. I noticed that my Aunt, a beautiful woman, became even more beautiful over the last two years of her life. Cancer may have robbed her of her life, but the beauty of her soul manifested completely in her physical appearance. She was truly a beautiful soul. As she became more incapacitated, she armored herself for a battle to win, mostly to make it to Tom’s wedding, but also to watch her grandchildren grow up. My uncle says she never uttered a single complaint. She worked every day, helped plan the wedding and then developed a sudden and severe blood infection, which ultimately cost her life September 10.

(Strength and beauty are her clothing and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom and the law of clemency is on her tongue). One of the things I most loved about Aunt Carol was her ability to forgive the faults of others, see only the good in most people, and leave them where they were at, without judgment or harshly reproach. When she smiled, her eyes smiled too. Her home was always open to friends and family. One only needs to know my cousins, Doug, Dan and Tom, to know what an incredible mother she was to her sons. My cousins married loving women, obviously based on the loving example of marriage they had in their parents, a compliment to the love they received from their mother. Her daughters in law were her daughters and they were loved by a mother, not a mother-in-law.

The greatest love of her life was her only love. My Uncle Earl held up his entire family the week of the funeral and the wedding, just the way his wife would have wanted him to. He managed to be a gracious host, a wonderful father, Pop-Pop, uncle, brother-in-law and friend to all who came to the wedding. Seeing him kiss her goodbye the day of the viewing broke my heart. I never could imagine one of them without the other. They brought out the best in each other.

(Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her). Saying goodbye to Aunt Carol is still something I am getting used to. I will miss her emails, her voice on the telephone, her cards at Christmas and birthdays, and her smile…that is something I hope I’ve inherited from her. I hope I can carry her spirit with me for the rest of my life. (Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.) The hole Aunt Carol has left in the world is huge since God has taken her back to Himself. I’ll never forget her.

Her last words before saying goodbye were always, “I love you”. Aunt Carol, I love you too.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach by email at or on the web at

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