Friday, September 24, 2010

I am consistently in awe of the talent that friends and family exhibit in their letters and written works. Chris writes beautiful, sincere, and often humorous Thank You cards. It's disgusting how well my mom churns out scientific papers. 

And perhaps the area in which I struggle most: expressing sincere regret or condolences. My sentences often feel contrived and awkward, despite the sincerity of the feelings behind the written word.  And so it was with great appreciation that I read Marcilla's eulogy that she wrote for Betsy, delivered by Joy, on behalf of the Holy Names gals. It's sweet and touching and so beautifully written:
We stand here today as just a few of the numerous friends who were so very lucky to befriend Betsy during our time together at Holy Names Academy. We have all be shocked and devestated in the wake of her death and we came together this week from different cities and states to share our memories of the fun and laughter that resulted from our time with our dear friend. It is so hard to accept that Betsy is gone because we stand now at a time in our lives when so much is beginning. Lives and careers and families and experiences spread before us and we had thought that we would see Betsy's smiling face and share her friendship during those moments still to come. But we know she will be with us in spirit and we take comfort from all of the wonderful times that we did have together.
Cooking adventures were a common memory for many of us, from hand rolled sushi parties to teriyaki tri tip steak. Betsy was a whiz in the kitchen and she was always happy to share her creations. She also introduced many of us to the world of fine china and fancy linens as she built a collection of the beautiful things that she loved. It may have been an unusual collection for a teenager, but it was who she was. Betsy had peculiarities and quirks, as we all do, and flip-flops in December were just part of her own unique style.
Betsy was faultless in her generosity. She was constantly thinking, working, serving others and giving tirelessly. We all knew of her work with JDRF and at a time when most teenagers are busy with far more trivial experiences, Betsy was working hard to raise funds and awareness for a cause that was very personal and important for her. We knew of her diabetes, but she never let it hinder her and we saw a friend who worked and gave regardless of what obstacles came her way.
Betsy had a beautiful, fun loving spirit. She shared so many fun experiences with us all. Whether it was her family 4th of July party, concerts, dances, weekends at cabins, or just the kind of fun that a group of teenage girls manage to create by spending time together, Betsy brought her warmth and love to so many of the memories we all cherish.
There is a saying that goes "Friendship isn't a big thing, it's a million little things" and that seemed especially apropos as we tried to summarize the impact that Betsy had on all of us. There isn't one shining moment, one key event that stands out as a pinnacle of her friendship. It was a the countless little things, the hugs, the listening ear, the laughter, the encouragement, the humor. These characteristics and so many more are the million little things that came together to define our Betsy.
For now we try to hold true to the small comforts we find in our grief. I appreciate a reminder in the words of the ever-wise Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened." We may not have had all the time we wanted with Betsy, but we will smile as we treasure the time we had. 

1 comment:

  1. Dorothy Longbrake4:10 PM

    Sonja,

    I agree with you. What Joy wrote is beautiful and managed to capture Betsy's essence. I've spent some time this week looking back at old photographs from high school and reliving some fun memories. I'm just so sad that it took something like this for me to take the time to look back and enjoy the past.
    - Dorothy

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