A dear family friend passed away suddenly this week. Her name was Carol Fuller, and she was an absolute gem of a human being.
Carol has been part of my family’s life for over thirty years. She and my dad were the first ever pair of teachers to share a classroom in the Limestone District school board. They were both committed to teaching AND to raising their own kids, so they worked hard to convince the school board to let them co-teach a class so that they could both work part time.
Carol was an amazing teacher, and a great mom. Between the Fullers and the Moons there were 4 girls within 6 years, so we spent a lot of our time together when we were little. I still have vivid memories of their home, with it’s creaky, grooved-over-time wooden stairs, persian rugs and cozy vibes. (I guess the reason I mostly remember the flooring is that I was mostly crawling at the time!)
One of the most amazing gifts that the Fuller family offers the world is their unprecedented hospitality. Back in Grade 7 or 8, a couple of friends and I attended a science camp at Queens (we were obviously very cool). The Fullers put us up in their genuinely cool eldest daughter’s downstairs “suite” (thanks Heather!). I don’t remember much from the camp, but I remember the fun we had at the Fullers, and how at home they made us feel.
When my sister Martha and I grew up and came back to Kingston to attend Queens, we would sometimes dog-sit when Carol and her husband Ken (another gem of a human) were out of town. We weren’t allowed the lock the door though, because they never knew when a friend would be passing through town and need a place to stay! They also wanted (urged) us to have all our friends over, use their hot tub, play their piano, light their fireplace, and generally make ourselves at home. When they were home they would host me and/or Martha for dinner, and listened to our angsty exam-time woes.
The summer after I graduated from Queens, I lived with the Fullers in a room that had been vacated by their other genuinely cool daughter (thanks Cat!). It was a special summer, being part of their everyday lives. I learned that Carol was very eco-conscious (before that was trendy), learned exactly how she liked her tea, and gained a greater appreciation for the struggle that is Multiple Sclerosis. Carol lived with MS for close to 40 years, and I realized how remarkable it was that she managed to live life so fully and gracefully despite the massive changes that it had forced her to make.
A few years ago a situation arose for a Dale community member that urgently required him to go to Kingston to visit his son in hospital. While The Dale was able to get a train ticket for him online, we didn’t know how to get him from the station to the hospital. So I phoned up the Fullers, and they got him where he needed to go. Neither Carol nor Ken were even *close* to fazed by this request.
I still can’t quite believe that Carol is gone. She was such a tiny person, who was also larger that life. Ken, Catherine, Heather… I’m so sorry. You’re in my heart all the time these days. Sending you so much love.