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Long ago in high school, I met a wonderful girl named Carolynn Herrera and fell in love for the first time.

Like all high school romances, it was passionate beyond compare and heart-wrenchingly clear and ecstatic. We almost never left each other's company day or night for three years. I used to sneak out of my bedroom after 1 am, drive across town, sneak in her window and spend the night with her, only to get up at 5 am and reverse the process. ( I found out later that both our parents always knew, but had decided it was better just to keep quiet.)

She was pure sweetness and life to me. I called her "Magic." I have only met a few people in my life since then that could match her generosity of spirit, warmth, intelligence, and love of life. Sadly, like many young loves, we fought and broke up in the weeks after graduation as we debated our future. She dated another boy for that time, and in a tragic scene at a party, what could have become a magnificent lifelong love for the ages ended with hurt teenage feelings.

She married that man a year later, and I came late to the wedding. As I sat there watching the love of my life exchange vows, I wanted to shout out at the part where they ask for objections. I still loved her deeply. But I said nothing. That surely was the greatest mistake I have ever made in a life filled with mistakes, for, as she turned and saw me, I could see in her eyes and face that she still loved me too.

We drifted apart over the years. But we met each other again a decade later and became fast friends again. We went to concerts together and floated rivers. As I suspected her marriage didn't last. (He was abusive and neglectful by turns.)

We should have repaired that old mistake then and gotten married, but the timing was wrong and she wasn't ready. Once when I was all the way down and out, she loaned me money to pick myself up again. I did the same for her a couple of years later.

My work took me away from Phoenix, and eventually I found and married my wife and started my own family. Even so, we still stayed in touch over the years, and called each other on our birthdays. We could always talk to each other about anything and we were each other's best counselors and best friends. She would e-mail me usually about every six months or so and we'd catch up on families. She had had a daughter with her husband, and a son who served in Iraq.

I hadn't heard from her for about eight months and I started to get a nagging feeling that something was wrong. I tried to call her number, but it was disconnected. I called the Mayo Clinic where she had worked for 27 years, but they told me, "She no longer works here" and refused to give me any other information.

I was seriously worried now, since in her last communication, she had hinted at trouble with her male "roommate" who, from her description, was a lazy do-nothing leech. After some research, I located her older brother yesterday who informed me,

"I'm terribly sorry, Carolynn was killed."

That's all I have. Just that. The police have not released any details about the killing although it apparently happened all the way back in February, nor was I able to get any from the department. All I got was an answering machine.

Today, I put her picture up on my desktop screen as a memorial to her. As I did that, almost to the second, our old song came on the radio..."Strange Magic" by ELO.

Tears came to my eyes, but I smiled. I guess she's all right where she is now, and I'll see her again.

So long, goodbye, farewell, and amen, Carolynn. I'm sorry our paths became so tangled, but I'm ever so thankful for the time we had together.

::rose4::Carolynn Leigh Herrera - My friend and lover- 1960 - 2008

This memorial website was created to celebrate the life and preserve our recollections of Carolynn Leigh Herrera. Please join me in keeping Carolynn Leigh Herrera's memory alive by sharing your favorite stories, photos and memorable moments from the life of Carolynn Leigh Herrera. Your contribution will be a fitting tribute, as well as a gift to all who knew and loved Carolynn Leigh Herrera.

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