The latest to depart passed away about two weeks ago, and I have just been procrastinating on this, because I need to, but I really don't want to say good-bye, and my brain hasn't quite accepted it. He has "always been there" for more than 25 years. The first people we met when we arrived in Yucca Valley. His wife invited us to church. They were our neighbors for 5 years and always a blessing to see in the exact same seat every time I visited CBC for 20+ years.
He gave me more rides to and from school during my senior year of high school than my step-dad did (because his son attended the same school). They invited us over to swim every time they "opened" their pool all summer long (a huge blessing in the desert). We were invited to I think every holiday event, and I don't know how many Sundays we spent at their house watching football, and I never did gain any interest in the sport, lol.
But what keeps coming to mind is what he called me. He called me Belle. I thought that was odd. And when he explained "You know, Belle in Beauty and the Beast", it didn't help me understand what he meant (This was in the early 1990s when Disney's cartoon B&B came out). It wasn't until after I moved to Oregon, got married and somewhere along the way watched the movie again that I caught the referance to Belle meaning beauty, that I figured out what he was saying. (I am kinda slow!!)
The memory of the time I realized he was suggesting I was a beauty, by calling me BElle, is what has been haunting (for lack of a better word) my memory, since he passed away. He has a reputation for being careful. He loved his family and friends, but he didn't put himself out there, he was subtle and one had to read between the lines to get the message.
What gets me, is not only that he would suggest that I am/was a beauty, but the reality that he was the first one to make such a suggestion. And one of the few to say it when he had nothing to gain from it. He was being honest, and I believe perhaps he saw a broken hurting child full of shame and self-loathing and wanted to get a thought in my mind to counter my own opinion of myself.
He was not aware of the abuse I was enduring while we were neighbors, but I am sure he saw the effects of that abuse, and in his own careful way wanted to encourage me to believe in myself. I missed that message, and I am almost willing to believe him.. Almost.
It just takes my breath away when I think about how blessed I am to have been loved by so many!
I cannot wait to enter those pearly gates and be reunited with all my dear ones...