Five years ago, Carol Kelley was preparing for a pilgrimage on El Camino Santiago in Northern Spain, but she wanted to see Barcelona first. She looked up at the sweeping, light-filled space of the interior of the Sagrada Familia cathedral and she said, “He gets it!” Gaudi, the architect, had designed the nave to look like a sacred forest. The cathedral was a place of mystical transcendence that resonated with her deeply.
Born in Denver, Colorado, in 1949, she grew up surrounded by mountains. She lived all over the United States and in 1997 made her home in the Pacific Northwest, where she worked as a marriage and family therapist for many years.
She loved to travel, visiting Australia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Spain, all since 2011, often with her daughters Rebecca and Gina Kelley and granddaughter Audrey along for the ride. With her husband of thirty years, Tom Phillips, she journeyed to Israel, Finland, Hawaii, and around the Pacific Northwest. Throughout her travels, she always searched for other kindred souls who “get it.” In a sense, every trip she took was a pilgrimage, a way to experience transformation, renewal, and connection to the people she loved.
Three weeks before she died, Carol and her family went to the coast together for Labor Day weekend. They took walks on the beach, roasted marshmallows over a campfire, and watched the sunsets.
On September 24, she took her last journey. It was a sudden trip, with only a few days’ notice. But she was prepared and she traveled as she always did, with grace and beauty. She is traveling there now, in the unknown.
She leaves behind her husband, two daughters, two sons-in-law, one granddaughter, her brother Daniel Kelley, her sister Sharlene Garrett, her niece, nephew, grand-nephew, and many, many friends.
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