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Carrie Thiederman

1962 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Carrie Thiederman

Apr. 7, 1962 - Sept. 22, 2015

Carrie "Sam" Thiederman is a rascal. The present tense is required because once a rascal, always a rascal. She loves her children, Kiersey Bloom and Colson Jack, more than anything in the universe because they are gloriously, perfectly themselves. She passionately and forever loves her handsome husband, Kevin, because he is the kindest person she knows and has beautiful hands and green eyes. She leaves her children and husband as one form to join them in another as pure love.

Ever since she was born in Santa Rosa, California, Carrie has been an avid student of life. She attended Analy High School in Sebastopol, and went on to attend Santa Rosa Junior College for her A.A. degree; U.C. Davis for her B.A. degree and teaching credential, both in English; and San Francisco State University for her M.A. degree in English. With the aid of the wonderful Bay Area Deaf community and the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies program at Berkeley City College, Carrie became fluent in ASL, and graduated from the Interpreter Preparation Program at Ohlone College. She is still learning, as there is so much to learn.

Carrie is inspired to paint, as she processes the world visually, and to write, as the arrangement of words endlessly thrill her. She marvels at the richness, complexity, completeness, and sheer beauty of American Sign Language. The science and artistry of cooking and baking spark her creativity. Carrie's closest bosom buddies-Patty, Susannah, Lisa and Maria-each so insightful, present, festive, and loving, are daily gifts and splendid fellow travelers along this journey. She is amused and not at all surprised that she never has to say to her husband, "You're not fun anymore." Carrie swoons with a bursting heart watching her children merely walk down the street, excel at their sports, sleep, laugh, talk, read, sing, and breathe. They are true wonders.

Gratitude encompasses Carrie. She feels positively grateful for her lucky, happy life; for her adored and astonishing children and husband; for the numerous dearest, funniest, most generous friends possible; for her parents Jack, Elizabeth, and Edie; for her siblings Kirk and Tracey; for Holly; for her niece Cierra and nephew Ryan; for the enchanting and cheering dynamic duo, Bill and Keitha; for her sweet daughter Mary in Uganda; for her extended family; for stunning San Francisco; for foghorns and train whistles and church bells in the distance; for local hardware stores; for Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784); for Green Apple Books and books themselves-capable of being lovingly dog-eared and shared, hand-to-hand; for traveling; for companion animals; for the vast variety of flowers, notably peonies; for the bumper sticker that says, "Don't believe everything you think"; for the intelligence and fortitude of Gloria Steinem; for the underdog; for Peter Gabriel's exhilarating song It is Accomplished and Louis Armstrong's smile-inducing What a Wonderful World; for hummingbirds; for the beauty, magic and safety of home; for organic farmers; for waterfalls; for Porgy and Bess ("'Cause the things that I prize like the stars in the skies are all free"); for American painters Richard Diebenkorn and Joan Snyder; for the twinkling bemusement of Dean Martin; for being an independent bookseller, a teacher, and a sign language interpreter; for pie, fabulous pie; for those who right wrongs; for people who put that yellow "Baby on Board" sign in their car window, revealing the vast vulnerability and pride of being a parent; for Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman; for the hokey pokey, because sometimes you have to put your whole self in and shake it all about; for walking in the rain; for lovable optimist Corky St. Clair in Waiting for Guffman; for Julia Child; for people-watching, as each person is a whole world; for bread-and-butter pickles; for Sojourner Truth; for teachers inside and outside of the classroom; for holding hands; for Willie Nelson-the man, the music, the braids; for art in all its daily manifestations; for countless opportunities to love, grow, fail, struggle, succeed, reflect, create, and laugh; for life. As joy comes from gratitude, Carrie is unabashedly joyful.

This is what she knows: that when you least feel like it, do something for someone else; that learning requires a willingness to be bad at something for a while, and that is okay; that, as the poet Anne Bradstreet stated, if we had no winter, spring would not be so pleasant; that love must be outwardly shared and compassion acted upon; that people who deeply listen and closely observe radiate light from within and access their empathy; that, as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy; that it is indeed later than we think; that full engagement in the shining, startling now is pleasure waiting to be had.

Those wishing to make a contribution to the world on Carrie's behalf can adopt an African child through Unbound and treat that child as your own.

In lieu of sorrow, express your love. Smile when the people you cherish enter a room. Let them see your eyes light up. Again and again. And again.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Sept. 25 to Sept. 27, 2015
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