After living her life with kindness, loyalty, generosity, intelligence, and love, Barbara Lynn Russell, otherwise known as Lynn, and even more well known as Violet, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021. While she left this world a much better place for having her in it, the lives of her family and friends will never be the same after this unimaginable loss. In our grief, we hold on tight to the things that made her this person we loved- she was a mother, a nonni, a partner, a friend…yet she was so much more than all of this.
Violet was a rare social introvert who was as much in her element hanging out in her pjs at home with her pets, watching obscure cult movies or reading, as she was going out with her friends to experience local music and art while enjoying a good beer or cocktail. Although she maintained a dry, wicked funny, sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor, she was known to light up a room when she walked in. She would undoubtedly deny that, but it’s true. Her pets were an important part of her life, and she was a steadfast advocate of animal welfare and rescue. There was always at least one furry family member in her home, and she loved them fiercely.
If you knew Violet, you likely never saw her without purple somewhere on her. An artist to her core, her appearance was a true expression of herself. Between her hair (usually purple), her shoes (never boring), her jewelry (always sparkly), and her tattoos (amazing), she had an ever-evolving canvas and was always true to her real self. She threw epic Halloween parties and really just had a love for all things Halloween. There was no such thing as actually taking down all the decorations and you would always be able to spot something fabulously spooky in her house throughout the year.
To me, she was Mom. I was in awe of her brain- when I was a kid, she made me watch Jeopardy and I remember her answering almost everything right all the time. There was a time when we only had each other and that was hard on both of us- but the memories during that time are what I most clearly remember. She embarrassed me when we went shopping by singing Feliz Navidad whenever it was playing over the muzak in a store, and we sang along to Melissa Etheridge in the car while she played air guitar. Along with these silly moments, she taught me compassion, empathy, and acceptance of others. She was a friend to me, a protector, a guide through the most difficult periods of my life. She was Mom.
As we struggle with this loss, we will keep her close to us. To say we will miss her is a monumental understatement, and we will remember her smile, her laugh, her wit, her humor, her friendship, her love for us, and ours for her. Now and always, we will remember Violet.
*Due to COVID concerns, the family has chosen to forgo a traditional funeral service. A celebration of life will be held at a later date yet to be determined. If you would like to honor Violet’s memory, please send a donation to the SPCA of Wake County. Give online by going to spcawake.org and choosing the donate option or mail to 200 Petfinder Ln., Raleigh NC, 27603.*
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