What Is A Successful Life?

Posted by Shelley Baur, Author Integrity-Based Communications in Relationships tagged with , , , , , ,

Caroletta,What Is a Successful Life?

Caroletta Mitchell could easily answer the question “What is a successful life?”  Even if you didn’t directly ask the question, it was clear that she was living her answer, daily.  She shared the importance of faith, family, friends, in that order.

From the first time we met, she would ask me questions, tell stories, encourage my answer to “what is a successful life?” in little bits and bites.

Caroletta made me dig deeper, helped me to see what she saw, understand her view of what is a successful life.

What Is A Successful Life, Mark?

I already knew Caroletta’s youngest son, Mark, as a special young man.  Since her husband’s death,  Caroletta had worked diligently to help Mark live more independently.  She was trying to help Mark discover his own answer to the question, “What is a successful life?” — even if she weren’t still here to guide him. She showed him how to love, how to live a life steeped in integrity.

With Mark, Caroletta was committed to making memories that he could remember for positive, happy thoughts. Lunches for just the two of them, trips to the theater, shopping.  Her face glowed and her eyes smiled when she shared their latest adventure.

Caroletta mastered what is a successful life. Looking at her own mortality, and sharing her faith, it was easy to see that Caroletta was ready, whenever it was her time to leave the planet.

Influencing My Answer To “What Is A Successful Life?”

I never asked Caroletta if she were trying to teach me by telling me about her mission with Mark.  But thanks to her, I became “on-purpose” about making memories with my Mom.

Caroletta models what is a successful life

Caroletta Mitchell, playfully answers "What Is A Successful Life?"

Recently, when Mom transitioned into assisted living at Carriage Court, Caroletta playfully shared a sweet and lasting demonstration to answer the question, “What Is A Successful Life?” We enjoyed wonderful food, laughed at each others’ stories, and created a special memory for each person present. Mom was surrounded by people she loved. She and Caroletta shed happy tears at their reunion.

One More Life Transition

The following week, Caroletta took a bad fall,  and didn’t make it through surgery.  That day, I brought Mom to my home for lunch.  Together we looked at pictures from the preceding week’s reunion luncheon.  We delighted in Caroletta’s modeling her outfit for everyone.

We reflected on Caroletta’s question, “What is a successful life?”

Food and photos finished, I held Mom’s hand and gently told her that Caroletta had not made it through surgery.  We would would not see her again on this side.  No tears, but much sadness.  She had lost her best friend.  I had lost a friend who became like a second mother.  We know where she is, and she will remain in our hearts always.

What Is A Successful Life? Caroletta Mitchell

At the memorial service two days ago, we met people who had known Caroletta for years.  Fellow WAVES, like Caroletta and Mom.  Folks who came from all over for the funeral.  A church family that poured their hearts into a beautiful party, where more stories were told, laughter shared about Caroletta and the many ways she had touched, inspired, served, and loved. No telling how many had been challenged by her question, “What is a successful life to you?”

Caroletta Mitchell, joyful friend of blessed memory. Mother, wife, mentor, servant leader, child of God.  The ongoing, living embodiment of every sweet truth that answers the question, “What Is A Successful Life?”

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