Tuesday, March 4th, 2008: Tonight is a college memory so worth remembering. There’s this crazy, incredible rainstorm—so windy the drops come sideways across the balcony and hit my window, so hard the water is running under the door into the suite hallway. People are screaming and laughing and dancing in the rain, coming out to stand in their doorways and watch it rush down—feel its fury on their faces, even, if they dare step out. What an amazing blessing. It takes a drought to make us appreciate the magnificence that is a rainstorm.
I’ve kept a journal since I was 11. I only started because there was a teacher at my dad’s school who, after reading many of my handwritten stories, gave me a journal and said, “Keep writing.” So I did and have been for twelve years since.
Two nights ago, I pulled out my journal from 2007-2008 from my bookshelf and came across the entry above. I read it, read the date, read it again, and wept. The day before Eve died. We were in such a drought that year, but the rain started coming and it came and by Friday, it felt like tears.
I was bike-riding around Amsterdam with Katherine in November 2009, before she was the director of the Eve scholarship and before I was its recipient, when Eve came up in conversation. As we biked, Katherine told my friend Andrea from Paris about Eve. At the end of our bike ride, I asked Katherine if she was ok. She said, yeah, it felt good to talk about her. No one here knew her so it was good to be with someone who knows what she means to us and to share how wonderful she was.
After I got the Eve Carson Memorial Scholarship, many times, I cried. Immediately after receiving it, again I wrote in my journal, ‘I went from crying about her death and not leaving my room for a week to getting the scholarship created in her name.’ I struggle for a year about how I felt with being a recipient of the scholarship. There was a legacy so great there, some days I felt like an imposter standing there in her name.
The day before the 2010 Eve Ball, I called my mom panicking. I was going to meet her parents. How could I be allowed to go laughing when they were in pain? How could I meet them and be like, Sorry. Sorry isn’t big enough a word. My mom told me, Caroline, they’re just parents. They love their kids. They’re just a mom and a dad. In the end, I spent most the evening laughing and talking with them. My mom’s words reminded me that despite tragedy, we’re all just people in the end. We do the best we can afterward. Maybe we can even do good afterward. After the suffering is over, we can try to do something for others, like create a scholarship that will give people opportunity. I always think about little Megan and the law that was named after her because she was brutally raped and murdered. Maybe we can make laws, we can climb mountains for others, we can create 5k’s for cancer…we do a lot of things in the name of grief. A lot of good.
Maybe there’s a rainstorm. Then maybe the rainstorm comes in the middle of a drought. Maybe that will make you dance in it.
One of my dearest friends, I met through the scholarship. John Brodeur and I would sit in his office many afternoons and debate and talk about everything, sometimes Eve, sometimes me, sometimes him, sometimes just Carolina. Once, in the middle of planning for my summer with the Eve scholarship, I told John that I would be going to Iceland. He paused for a moment before he could tell me that in one of the last times he was with Eve, she told him she was trying to figure out where to go for the summer. He told her as a joke, just off the cuff, “Iceland!” She paused, cocked her head pensively, and seemed to consider it. “I’ll think about it,” She said sincerely.
She lives on every day. Right now, I am working on the research I did with the Eve scholarship and most days, I fondly and simply call it, “My Eve Project.” She’s in every word somehow. As her birthday rolls around yet again this year, I find myself thinking about her and always wonder how to remember her without getting bogged down in the tragedy of her death. I loved the article by Mark Laichena in the Daily Tar Heel today and thought he was right on. I just wanted to offer my own memories and thoughts to the pile and say, Happy Birthday, Eve. We remember you. We love you.