A house suddenly silenced
Pushing his little toy lawnmower and singing Michael Jackson songs at the top of his lungs, 4-year-old Carson Handy could light up the neighborhood around his house on Wilson Street in Lenoir. Carson lived with his mother, Sabrina Handy, 29, and great-grandmother Carolyn Handy, 75.
They shared not only a home but a life filled with love, hardships and unwavering strength, said Gary Moore, a family friend.
"Sabrina was a devoted mother. You would not believe the work she did with Carson," Moore said. "Carson was the sunshine of Carolyn's life and Sabrina's."
Thursday, Moore and other neighbors somberly remembered the Handys, all three killed Wednesday in a head-on collision in Gamewell, leaving a house once so full of life suddenly empty.
Sabrina Handy grew up in that little, blue, wood-frame house. She was a cheerleader at Hibriten High School and graduated in 2003. Unable to work due to pancreatitis, Sabrina instead devoted her life to taking care of her grandmother, who had suffered a heart attack earlier this year, and Carson, who suffered from a speech deficiency.
"Carson had made tremendous strides with his speech, and was all boy, going full-speed," Moore said.
Gloria Greene, who lives across the street from the Handy home, remembers the times Carson would pick flowers and hand them to her.
"He was just a cute little fellow, so friendly," Greene said. "They were all fabulous neighbors and friends. It's just a major tragedy."
Carolyn Handy had spent the past 10 years working at the Medical Arts Pharmacy on Mulberry Street. Her co-workers said she was known to customers as "the hat lady," said Robin Smith, senior pharmacy tech.
"She always dressed like she stepped out of a fashion magazine," she said.
Carolyn Handy also knew her pharmacy customers by name, said Dorinda Bouboulis, manager of operations for Deerfield Pharmacy, parent company of Medical Arts Pharmacy.
"She cared about them, not just from a customer service standpoint," Bouboulis said. "She worried if they had no money or food. She knew what was going on in their lives."
The highlight of her day was when her grandson would walk through the door.
"She would just blossom when she saw Carson," Bouboulis said. "He always called her his best friend."
Rhonda Handy Mitchell, mourning the loss of her mother, daughter and grandson, could not be reached Thursday, but she posted a message on Facebook about what happened:
"I appreciate the outpouring of condolences from you all. My mother was simply the best woman and person I ever knew. My daughter was beautiful, and had so much potential, but she never could see that within herself. Carson was my only grandchild, and his loves were Maw-Maw Carolyn, robots, yogurt whips (key lime and orange) and mowing the grass with his toy lawnmower.
"This tragedy is a loss of well-lived life, loss of unfulfilled life with potential, and the loss of a life barely started."