I feel silly even writing this post, because when it came down to it, it wasn’t like I saw her often or we had any correspondence outside of projects we were both working in.
Certainly people knew her better than I did, had a closer relationship, meant more to her than I did.
But it doesn’t make me any less sad.
This morning, Ra let me know that Carol Morris had passed away. Carol was an amazing costumer here, as well as a helluva strong lady, and someone that I admired very much.
Carol made me my first costume I ever wore onstage. I was eleven and was extremely overwhelmed by all of the loud personalities theatre often attracts. She was quiet, reserved, and very warm. And have I mentioned what an amazing costumer she was? Amazing.
When I was chosen to play Belle (Ebeneezer Scrooge’s love interest in A Christmas Carol), she told me, “I’m so glad you’re doing this. I always thought Belle should have curves.”
A year later, she asked if she could speak to me privately. “Tell me about the lump in your breast,” she started. We spoke for awhile, she admitting that she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was debating her options. In the end, she decided on a double-masectomy, a decision that she confessed changed her life.. in a more positive way than she anticipated.
“It’s nice not to care anymore,” she said, smiling and shrugging.
In 2005, I was removed from the directorial staff of a show due to personal conflicts. I was extremely embarrassed, ashamed of being painted with a scarlet letter when, in fact, nothing had happened. Most of the elder crowd glared down their noses at me when I surfaced here and there, but she never did. “I know you,” she’d say. “I know you and I know better than that.”
Two years later, I played a fairy godmother in a show where the costumer.. for whatever reason.. outsourced my costume. Carol jumped in to make it for me. We talked about her daughter’s wedding, her new grandbaby, all of the things that she was excited about. I loved talking to her about her life. She was just easy and loving.
When we did Pinocchio, my last venture in theatre before the baby, she came and saw me afterwards and just gushed about my performance. “I’ve never seen you like that,” she said. “It’s nice to see you do what you do best.”
My heart broke this morning to hear she had passed. After a strong and gritty fight with cancer, it flared up again and, combined with heart complications, she was unable to endure chemo again.
All of my love and hope is with her family right now. She geniuinely impacted my life in an incredibly positive way, and I feel blessed to have known her, in whatever regard I did.
There are others who knew her better, spent more time with her, had a more solid relationship with her.
This won’t mean I’ll miss her any less.
Carol, thank you for showing that women are more than meets the eye.