When he told me, I was really surprised. I knew that she had a lot of health problems, such as symptomatic cirrhosis and hypo/hyper insomnia, but we had literally just seen her on December 27, not even two weeks ago.
I was so sorry to hear that she was gone, but mostly for my dad. I know he and Betsy had a very special relationship.
We talked about what a blessing it was that we were able to see her before she died, and also that we know that she is okay. We know she is in no pain. We know that she is happy. We know that she is safe. We know we will see her again.
I told my dad I loved him and that I would help in any way I could.
It has been several hours since he called, and only now, at 3 in the afternoon, after I am at home and my kids are finally napping, is it hitting me.
I am really sad that Betsy is gone. The tears have come to me, and the grief.
Over the years we have actually rarely seen Betsy. She hasn’t been a huge part of my life, at least in person. Up until a couple weeks ago, I don’t think I had seen her since I graduated from high school in 2002.
However, she has become very special to me, especially this year as she has taken a loving interest in my family. She has been one of my most devoted Facebook followers. She has almost always commented on my pictures, read my blog posts, and sent me messages asking how my family and I were doing.
We talked a lot about faith too. Betsy was definitely a woman of God. I always felt uplifted talking to her.
I was just reading through some of the Facebook messages she has sent me since 2009, and I want to post some of the things she said. It might help you see what a wonderful woman she was:
8/4/09 (Her first message to me) – Uh, Color Me a Little Blonde (and stupid)!!!
Was going through facebook today and it occured to me as I was going through my “new friends request” that it was you that emailed some time ago and asked to be added! Believe it or not, I did not remember that your last name was Lewis, so I never linked the 2 names together. Boy do I feel stupid!
Meanwhile, I hope you visit with your friend was/is (not sure how long the stay was scheduled for) going well and that you learned even more about each other and that Casey enjoyed the visit just as well! Give the little guy a big kiss and the rest of the family all of my love and best wishes!
Love you all!
8/8/09 (Here she is actually talking about a relationship I was in at the time) – I am so happy for you! With all that you have to give (beauty, brains and a very loving heart), it was just a matter of time before you finally found the man that you deserve! Meanwhile, I will be awaiting my invitation!!! You have a nice weekend too, and give the little man a big hug from me please! And, once again, I am just so happy for you! I wish you could see the great big smile I am wearing right now!
8/10/09 – Hopefully, this New Year will be the beginning of the life you and Casey deserve and were meant to live! Thanks for giving Casey my hug! Now I’m sending one to you out of pure joy and happiness!
8/12/09 – Happy the-day-before Friday’s Eve! (Me and my friends used to have all kinds of ways of celebrating each and every day of the week that coiuld include the word Friday!” I’ll let you know others as they come to me… Believe it or not, as useless as they were, and for reasons I cannot explain, they always made Friday appear so much more spectacular in the neighborhood! LOL! Hope the rest of your week is well!
2/28/10 (This is right after Jad and I got engaged) – My first comment on the pending nuptuals…I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU, MANDY, AND FOR CASEY TOO! You make a very beautiful couple!!
3/16/10 (This is not long after Jad and I got married) – I shall write a bit more down the road! Wouldn’t dream of taking away one extra minute from your honeymoon phase!!! After that, you are hereby required to provide details!!!!! LOL!!!
3/10/12 (This was a few months after Jad’s liver surgery) – With every passing day that I get the pleasure of seeing you on my screen, I am reminded just how stunningly beautiful you are! I hope the family is well, and that Jad has gotten past the bumps in the road since his surgery! Love you, Betsy
4/22/14 – I wish we chatted more. I read your posts all of the time, but figure you have enough to do to read too many comments. I do try to always “like” them though.
5/6/14 – Believe it or not, I was there when you were born. and I was there for your first Birthday! Your parents probably do not remember all of this, but these were very significant days in my life and watching over you and Aaron when you were so small meant the world to me! It touches my heart deeply as you go through these experiences with your own children! Again, I hold you high, Mandy! You are a fine woman indeed!
5/28/14 – I just had to drop you a note to tell you what I ran across today…the booklet from your High School Graduation Ceremony. If you think about it, the date on that goes against all things in time. You graduated from High School year before last, and then there was that college thing, and then you had three very different sized triplet boys last year, and I turned 30 last month! Hum… LOL! Had to share! Time sure does fly! … I only hope I am around to watch you smiling that way when you start having grandchildren and great grandchildren!… I am like a cat! Nine lives and then some!
7/23/14 – I will never be able to work again as long as I am alive. But, I do not want you to feel sorry for me. I was blessed enough to work at my life’s dream profession for 13 years and never had a bad day at work in my life!
11/8/14 – As must share on “Are You There God?” Not to long ago, I was having trouble with my blood pressure and I was alone. I knew that my blood pressure machine needed batteries, but I needed to go to the drugstore to get my medication. As I grabbed my keys and wallet (and my dog, of course), I felt this horrible tightness in my chest and did not know if I was safe to drive. I came back in the house, laid flat on my bed with my blood pressure machine and asked God to give me just one more reading out of those batteries so that I would know what to do! Well you know he answered my prayer and I got my reading! That how awesome our God is! But, the best part was when I tried to take it again. The battery light flashed at me like a neon sign! I looked up to the Heaven’s and spoke to God and started giggling a little bit, and said, you are not only an awesome God, you have a pretty good sense of humor too! The tightness in my chest subsided a bit and I felt safe enough to go get my medication, and even went McDonald’s to get my baby her favorites: Chicken Nuggets and an ice cream cone! How does one go through life with all that evidence and not believe? Meanwhile, you guys have a great time. I love you.
12/9/14 – after much consideration, prayer and thought, I have decided that while moving to Florida may very well contribute the “quality” of my life, the thought of maybe never seeing my Parents (I include Barb in this category for sure), my brothers, my nieces and nephews and the beautiful families that they have made together are just not worth me living maybe one extra year! Your father and I are so much alike in so many ways, so I think you will understand that when my doctor told me that it was the best thing for me to do for my health, I immediately proceeded to do as I was told. Made arrangements to move to Florida. Well, at the end of the day, that is clearly not the right thing to do. Without my loved ones, I have NO QUALITY of life, Pain and side effects of various illnesses are something that I have been dealing with for a long, long time. I can do that. Leave Roy in Richmond with no one, leave everyone in NC, and maybe never see my Mom again? I can’t do that!
12/11/14 – Enjoying you more and more each and every day! I cannot put my emotions into words, but I sure do know how my heart feels. Your life just changes when special people open their hearts whole-heartedly, unconditionally and let you in!
12/30/14 – I just saw these pictures from the weekend. I sure did have a good time! And, I felt a million times better after I took that brace off of my stomach when me and your Dad got to the nursing home! It makes me look pregnant, and is quite cumbersome. It wraps around me like 2 and a half times! You probably cannot tell where it is, but every third line in my shirt is one of the strips in the three, vertical layer brace. All of the other pictures turned out great as well! Looks like everybody had a great time! And it especially looked like Grandma did some serious baking! Yum!!! I am so loving the baby feeding Aaron! That is too sweet! Good stuff! Thanks for sharing! Love you!
1/1/15 (Her last message to me) – it was such joy, Mandy. My heart was so full
Not only was she loving, kind, funny, and encouraging, she also gave great advice on things like baking, sleep habits, and cross country road trips.
Betsy was also so supportive of my blogging. On November 6, 2014, I asked my blog readers for input on a good subject to write about. Betsy was the only one who responded and she said this:
WE have very little control over what happens in our life! But we are in charge of our Memories! Quit hanging on to the bad ones and take away everything positive that ever happened while you were being miserable. I am not going into detail, but I have a lot to be afraid of, people I should despise, blah, blah, blah. I still choose to only remember that they were in my life because I made that decision, and that is what I took with me when I walked away from the drama. The only memories I kept were the ones that I was fond of, and have even let some of them back into my life! Live today and every day differently than the one you lived yesterday! Otherwise, you have no chance to experience to experience something beautiful today, nor do you stand a chance for a better day tomorrow. I hope this helps you find a thought.
This lovely comment from her sparked the idea for this blog post:
After I posted it and thanked her for the inspiration, she lovingly remarked:
It was my pleasure! As I have said many times, in my life, I have experienced and witnessed a great deal of tragedy. Little did I know that they were the beginnings of some of my life’s greatest Blessings!
So you see, though I don’t have a lot of memories physically being with my Aunt Betsy, she has been there for me for years.
On the ride home from my friend’s house today, Rigel spilled a lot of crackers and raisins on the floor. As I was cleaning them up, I came across a bag. I looked inside, and in it were Mike and Ikes that my dad gave the kids the day we saw Betsy at the park, and more preciously, the Christmas card Betsy had given my family.
I saw it as a tender mercy from Heavenly Father that I would find the card on the day I found out she died. I am so grateful that I was able to read it and look at it again. She told me that day we saw her that she chose the card just for us, and knew it was the perfect card.
Betsy, I am grateful that I have your love always. I know you are still with us now, cheering us on, and watching over us. I know I will see you again. All my love always, my dear aunt.