Ms. B died this week. She was one of my mom’s best friends and as I was growing up acted as one of my significant parental figures. I haven’t seen her that much since I left home thirty years ago, although there was seldom a visit to Fayetteville that she didn’t drop by with Mr. B for an hour to give me a hug and express significant interest in what I was doing.
Although not a daily presence in my life, she always sent me a birthday card, and I knew she was at her home on Dartmouth Drive in Briarwood if I needed her.
Didn’t think much about it – until now.
She’s not there anymore. Neither is Mrs. Uzzel, or Ms. Martin or my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. McNeil. Sometimes it feels like you’re standing on a stone foundation but the pebbles are crumbling beneath you. Perhaps one day I’ll be that huge square rock at the bottom providing support to a generation behind me.
To tell you the truth, I don’t want to be that rock. I’m much more comfortable being on the top. I like having my parents and in-laws and Mr. and Ms. B below to hold me up. Often I feel more like playdough than granite.
I was sitting at her funeral this week listening to the minister, and I realized that it really didn’t matter to me what she’d accomplished in her life. All I could think about, all I cared about, was what she’d done for me.
She loved me – and I don’t know why.
She was interested in me – always interested in me.
She was thoughtful, I mean 40 years of birthday cards for someone she wasn’t even related to by blood?
Maybe that was her legacy. Her actions taught me how I should treat the stray kids who wonder in and out of my house – with unconditional love and genuine concern for them.