Monday, September 23, 2013

My Carrie Story

I can't remember the first time I met Carrie Suzanne Hayes Valentine, and I can't tell you the last time I actually saw her.  It just seems like she had always been around.  Carrie and my sister, Susannah, along with another dear friend, April, were inseparable as teenagers.  Granted, I don't have the best memory, but I don't remember a time, in my adolescence, before Carrie, April, and Susannah.  The three of them went everywhere and did everything with each other. They had a special bond, and by some miracle, they didn't mind my tagging along.

Even though I was Susannah's little sister, I was never treated that way.  Carrie, April, and Susannah welcomed me to hang out with them.  I was a 12-year-old, hanging with 16-year-olds, but I just felt like a part of the circle.  In fact, there were times, when it was just me and Carrie or me and April hanging out.  I specifically remember double dating, shopping and going to concerts with Carrie.  I can't tell you how much that meant to me, as a teen and even now as an adult.  It has stuck with me to this very moment.  I know that if I had called Carrie or April, even after not seeing or speaking with them in years, it would feel just like we had seen each other last week.  In many ways, Carrie and April were my sisters.

Carrie Hayes Valentine is most certainly a special person, not only because she welcomed her friend's little sister with open arms, but also because of so many other things.  She had the voice and the face of an angel.  She loved unconditionally, she was kind and compassionate, she was open and honest, and she left everyone in her wake in awe.

I, like so many of the people who love her, am in shock at her passing.  Yes, we knew things were uncertain, but so many of us who loved her were praying for Carrie's miracle.

I have read so many wonderful things written about Carrie, by hundreds upon hundreds of the people that love her.  Someone said a few weeks ago, "We all feel like we love Carrie more than anyone else does, and are surprised that someone as special as her even likes us at all."  I couldn't have said it better myself. (If this is your quote about Carrie, I'm sorry I couldn't credit you, I've read so many things, its impossible to go back and find out who said what. But thank you for saying what I failed to put into words.)

Along with an incredible legacy, Carrie left behind a loving husband, two precious daughters, and countless others who can't imagine life without her. Carrie's miracle did not come in the form of her healed body, but rather her miracle lives on in the lives of her precious family.

I am asking you to pray for her children, Isabella Rose and Amelia Bright.  Pray for her husband, Michael. Pray for her parents, Kathy and Danny, and pray for her grandparents. Pray that God brings them comfort and peace.  Pray that Isabella and Amelia remember their mother's love, grace, compassion, and beautiful voice. Pray. Just pray.

Typically, I write this blog for myself, because writing makes me happy, but this particular post is not for me, it is for Carrie.  I would also encourage you to read two other blog posts about Carrie.  One written by April. (Link to it here, or on my "Blogs I Love" page.) And the other written by Amanda, can be found here.  I can't think of a better way for you to come to an understanding of just how precious our friend, Carrie Hayes Valentine, really was.

I also want you to hear the talent that God gave to our Carrie.  A voice like hers is most certainly a gift from the Father.  This one will give you goosebumbs, and this one will rock your socks off.

What post would be complete without a few pictures?

Carrie, me, Susannah, and April at Panama City Beach, circa 1994.
(Photo Credit: Bobby Murphy, who had his hands full with four teenage girls at the beach.)

Susannah, Carrie, and April, Senior year at SJH (1996)
(Photo Credit: I think I stole this from April's Facebook page.)

Carrie, with her precious baby girls, Bella and Meli.
(Photo Credit: Carrie Hayes Valentine's Facebook page.)

Amelia Bright, Michael, Carrie, and Isabella Rose
(Photo Credit: Carrie Hayes Valentine's Facebook page.)

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