The nearly three decades that lay between Bev and me made no difference in our friendship, they just didn’t exist except as a number some might look at from the outside. The difference in ages wasn’t there from the moment we met or the ensuing fourteen years. We were two women, and we were friends.
She accepted the quirky side of me, and I, the pragmatic side of her. We were friends and neighbors for most of those years but in the old sense of the word. An acceptance of each other and a finding of common ground. We talked, joked, joy and found comfort in each other. We helped each other where we could, sometimes it was only listening, and sometimes it was watching out for each other and caring.
There were no expectations between us, but there was an abundant joy in having that cup of tea, glass of wine, dinner together, and conversation. I have a love of history and knew a lot about the world that she was born into, it was a world that I found comfortable to listen to stories of, or to share my own that I had learned from my mother and reading. We shared as two women will stories of loss, adventure, love, and we talked about children. Though I didn’t have any, I enjoyed learning of hers and of her youth, her meeting her husband Red, their adventures in Africa and the mischief her children got into in their youth.
You see a woman has many roles, she is a daughter, a child, a young girl, a young woman, a wife, a mother, and as she ages and loses many of those she knew in her youth, few remember her as a woman and a person. Her husband sees her as his wife, her children as their mother, and many as an old woman, even before she has aged enough to be considered old.
Bev and I never expected anything from each other, we only enjoyed what was given freely. She had her passions, and they showed in her paintings, the thesis she wrote and shared with me, in her love of people, life, animals, and her children.
And she loved her children deeply, she was so very proud of each and every one of them and bragged about their accomplishments, and talked of them often. There was never anything hurtful or wrong in what she said. She accepted people for who they were and understood that they were people too.
She was my friend, and I was honored to know her. I was honored to be there for her when she needed me, and I was blessed to call her friend. As I grow older, I understand better how much she gave me of herself and how precious it was and always will be to me. And I know how difficult it can be to lose those that remember you as the young woman that you will forever remain, no matter how old or frail you get.
Her one wish was that her children would love each other and find acceptance of each other after she was gone. I am blessed to have met the Mentzer family, I am blessed she was my friend.
The night Bev passed she came to me in a dream, we were at a pier, her children were a ways off, with many people in between us, and she was wearing a faded floral dress that was too big. It kept falling off her shoulders, and she said to me “The dress doesn’t fit anymore.” And I said “It always happens as we grow doesn’t it?”
Bev said, “my boat is here, I don’t know my new address yet, but I will get it to you.” And I woke up. I knew she was gone, I knew she had given me a final blessing in coming to say goodbye, and I knew that Bev wanted me to tell her children how much she loved them and how proud she had always been of them.
Whether I am reading, or writing I am taken out of myself and will return more enlightened. From the magic of the places I have been, the people I have met, and the story that captured me for a while.