On this bright, beautiful summer day it is my sad honor to announce to all of you – my readers – that Betty passed away. She left us at 4:00 PM on Thursday, June 23. The weather this week, here in Wisconsin, has been awful. It’s been rainy and cold. It was like Mother Nature was in mourning along with those of us who loved Betty.
I’m going to miss her laughter, the way she answered the phone, “Hey, Baby!” I’m going to miss her advice and her sweet disposition. I’m even going to miss when her disposition wasn’t so sweet. I’ll miss the way she would ask after my mama and Daddy. I’m going to miss her stories about her friends and family. I’m going to miss being called Sharon, because I remind Betty so much of her friend Sharon that sometimes, she’d slip and call me that. Sharon must be a wonderful person. I’m going to miss how she, unlike some people (and you know who you are), praised my cooking. Betty told me that I made the best barbeque and that’s something, because Betty was a wonderful cook.
Betty said to me very recently, “Julie, when you enter a room, you light it up.” I may light up a room, but Betty lit up the world.
So, I could sit here this morning and cry. I could tell all of you that life just sucks, but that would be unfair to Betty’s memory. Instead, I’m going to thank God that He allowed a light like Betty’s to burn in my life. That He blessed me with a wonderful friend and second mother who was an amazing person. Yes, knowing Betty for just ten short years wasn’t enough time, but it could’ve been worse – I might not have known her at all.
When I walk into Jerri and Preston’s home these last few days, it was hard. I am having a hard time believing that Betty’s spark and her light has been extinguished. Time, they say, heals all wounds and it will take a lot of time for the emptiness left in my heart to be filled.
But, filled it will be – Betty showed me how.
Be kind to others. Accept their differences. Love EVERYBODY. Don’t take any shit from anyone. Call a spade a spade. Say you’re sorry and offer forgiveness. Tell the people you love that you love them every single day. And, above all else – don’t assume the fat lady is pregnant.
I asked Jerri if I could post something about Betty – she wanted me to wait until all the phone calls could be made – and she said I could, as long as I asked you all to raise a glass in honor of Betty. So, let’s all raise our glasses to this wonderful lady. I know a lot of you reading this didn’t know her, but if I live my life right, you’ll know her through my actions.
One final word, my roses had buds on them earlier this week. One of them had started opening and I told Betty that when it opened, I’d bring it over to her, so she could have the first rose of the season. Well, it hadn’t opened by Thursday morning, with everything going on, I forgot about it. Until Thursday night. When I came home, that rose had opened and is the most beautiful thing you ever did see. It has some buddies, too. I believe it is a sign, from Betty, letting me know she’s all right and not in pain.