The Life of Carole M. Verona
Carole Marie Verona, 77, of Philadelphia, who enjoyed a long and productive career as a writer and communications officer, died Wednesday, July 8, in her Chestnut Hill apartment after a long and heroic struggle with cancer.
The daughter of Peter and Nancy Verona and the sister of Joanne and Betty, Ms. Verona graduated from Ancilla Domini Academy in 1961, attended Rosemont College, and earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Temple University in 1969. She held editorial roles at the American Red Cross, Einstein Hospital, the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, CoreStates Bank, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. A deeply spiritual woman who had a great sense of humor, Ms. Verona left her mark on everyone she met.
Friends and family are invited to the memorial service that will be held on Wednesday, July 15, 11:00 AM, at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 225 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.
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I came across a meme a year or so ago that said, “I love the weirdos. The rule breakers. The strange, whimsical, outlandish, peculiar, and uncanny. The misfits. The curious, unusual, eccentric, and unpredictable. The freaks. The radical, star-gazing vagabonds. The loners. The rejects. The outsiders. The silly romanticists who ridiculously dream of changing the world someday … because they do.” I’m not entirely sure why it resonated so much with me, but as I think about Aunt Carole’s impact on my life, it makes perfect sense why I like the weirdos.
I was, well, still am, a weirdo. When I was young, I felt … different. I had interests that none of my friends shared; art, literature, music (other than rock and roll.) Aunt Carole provided me opportunities to explore my interests. I remember her taking me to see Disney’s Fantasia. It was how she introduced me to classical music. I remember sleeping over at her apartment when I was pre-teen, listening to Peter and The Wolf. I remember it was a green, vinyl album. Aunt Carole took me to see my first professional ballet – The Nutcracker. I remember going with her to the Art Museum and discussing the paintings. She never treated me like a child. She talked to me like an adult, talked with me, interested in my thoughts, feelings. She helped me feel safe exploring the interests that I felt made me different. Looking back, it seems silly that an interest in art or classical music made me feel like a misfit, but anytime you don’t fit in with those around you, you feel uncomfortable. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that we are all misfits. We all have our little quirks. That is what makes us the wonderfully, unique people we are. Aunt Carole taught me it was ok to let my weird light shine so that other weirdos can find me. It was ok to just be me.
Through the years, I’ve learned we all feel like misfits. We worry because we have depression or anxiety. We worry that people will mistake our introversion as being antisocial. We may be on the autistic spectrum and overwhelmed by feelings, energies, sounds. Maybe a bit of OCD, ADD, or ADHD. We may feel like we are alone, but we’re not. If you look around, you’ll see we are all weirdos.
When Aunt Carole died, she took a part of me with her, and a part of all those who loved her, so she isn’t alone wherever she is. She is loved. And a part of her stays with each of us, so we, too, aren’t alone. Ever. As the author Terry Pratchett said, “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” Keep those weird lights shining. You attract the best people into your life that way. I will miss Aunt Carole because she was one of the people who really shaped who I am today. So I’m not going to say “Goodbye.” I’m just going to say “Thank you.”