Carolyn Kaelin: A Celebration of a Life Well Lived

The memorial for Carolyn Kaelin was one of the most astounding memorials I have ever been to. I got there late (thank you very much unnamed bus company) but of the people I heard, of course her husband, my cousin Bill Kaelin, was the most moving. The stories he told!

My absolute favorite of the stories he told was this, and I forget all the exact details except the important ones: she was invited to give a speech celebrating Laura Bush at some event. The speech she wrote focusing on Laura Bush’s contributions to education had to be submitted to the White House. They rewrote it, exaggerating other accomplishments entirely, to the point where Carolyn felt uncomfortable. So when she took the podium, with Laura Bush in attendance and surrounded by Secret Service agents, Carolyn dropped the White House prepared speech to the ground and pulled out her own original speech from her jacket pocket and gave that one.

Well played, Carolyn Kaelin, well played.

It is so like my cousin to not be crushed, and it must have been true of Carolyn as well, because afterwards we all went to Fenway Park, where, in addition to feeling the poignancy of the loss, I also had fun, God help me. But I think that was part of the point.

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

All the bases were replaced with base-shaped flowers (home base was in the shape of a heart).

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

There were signs around the field.

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

They played Sweet Caroline and we sang along while pictures of Carolyn flashed on the jumbotron. There was a fireworks display to the music of Rocky Mountain High. Carolyn loved Colorado, and John Denver apparently. Bill wasn’t a John Denver fan though, so this was a sweet, final concession to Carolyn’s radio station choices.

This is Bill addressing the crowd, which was enormous. This was about half of it. Carolyn saved and touched a lot of lives.

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

Afterwards we were allowed to walk around the field.

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

This is me in the Red Sox dugout. Holy shit!! My butt is on the same bench that once held the butts of Yaz Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Freddy Lynn, and Jerry Remy (showing my age, but those were the years I lived in Boston, and I was there in 1978, says it all to Red Sox fans).

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

Goodnight sweet Carolyn. Thank you for making the world a better place. And for being such a badass.

Carolyn Kaelin Memorial Fenway Park

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Carolyn Kaelin: A Celebration of a Life Well Lived

  1. So sorry for your loss. I had read her obituary in the NYT earlier and thought what an inspiring person and doctor. Looks like many others thought the same way.

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