Carlin was in her mid-teens and I was in my early 20s when we first met, both students at Theatre Aquarius Summer Theatre School in Hamilton, Ontario during the mid-80s—and I remember being struck by her focus, maturity and talent. An old, creative soul, she was already writing songs that were melodic, poignant and catchy; revealing a deep sense of empathy for and sharp observation of the human condition. We bonded over growing up in Burlington (aka “Borington”), a shared irreverent sense of humour, and a mutual love of music and theatre.
Carlin and I reconnected a couple of years ago, through our mutual friend Lizzie Violet. She’d been living in Toronto, writing, recording and performing her songs, a singer/songwriter working as a barista to pay the rent. Her creative spirit had branched out to include making amazingly detailed crocheted creations: figures from horror, sci-fi and fantasy, which she sold, along with more traditional crocheted fashions, via Unravelled Crochet. I had the pleasure of interviewing her about her crochet work at the beginning of this year.
Throughout her illness, Carlin kept on making things: hats, scarves and mittens—many of which she made especially for or gave to friends. It kept her busy while she was in hospital, keeping the cabin fever at bay while she stayed positive and hopeful that she’d soon be able to return to her new apartment and a job she loved at Birds and Beans Coffee. I will always cherish the green and grey striped hat she gave me.
An extremely talented, kind and generous soul, Carlin had an open heart, a creative mind, and a twinkle in her eye with an arch of a brow that accompanied a mischievous grin. Cancer took Carlin from us—gone way too soon, she was so loved and will be profoundly missed. I picture her on a tropical beach, riding a unicorn named Hope.
Huge thanks to the staff at Princess Margaret Hospital, especially her team on the palliative care floor, for taking such good care of Carlin. If you’re looking for a good cause to support this holiday season, please consider donating to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
4 thoughts on “Remembering Carlin Belof”
Hi Hon, Dad & I are sorry to hear about Carlin. Your posting was beautifully and thoughtfully written. You are a wonderful caring friend.
Carlin certainly new how to live life an follow her passions even during her illness. Her suffering is over, now it is time for her friends to celebrate her life as you grieve your loss.
Love and Big Hug, Mom & Dad xxoo
Thanks, Mom. xo
I am really shocked. Carlin and I went to Trebas together and did everything together ! I ended up moving to the USA back In 2001 and we had a disagreement on my decisions in life . Carlin and I did many things together and I also got to know her family in the process. She has been on my mind Quite a bit the past few months and I decided to reach out to her and discovered she had passed. While we disagreed when I left to move south, she impacted my life in many positive ways. Since learning she passed I cannot get her out of my mind , I will remember you always … and our apartment duets of kareoke “ love will keep us together “ and David Bowie everything .
Hi Tamara – Thanks for reaching out and sharing your story about Carlin. Hope you and yours are keeping safe and well during these uncertain times.