I've been having a difficult time trying to figure out the words to write in this post...which is why this has taken me so long to post. Belle's 'celebration of life' was a few weeks ago....April 25th....and I have to be honest, I was terrified to attend. It was supposed to rain, I didn't know if I could make it through without crying and I just wasn't sure what to expect. I also had planned to visit my parent's home (both are deceased) which is located about 5 miles from Belle's house. The day was going to be a highly emotional day all around. In addition, Battleground/Brush Prairie was a good 2.5 hours from my home so I had a lot of time to reflect on what was going to transpire. It didn't help that I had hurt my hip a few days earlier and the drive was brutal but I made it there and back ok.
Belle's ceremony was beautiful.....people cried and laughed and remembered what a wonderful person our dear Belle was. There was music, some 'speeches' and a small video about Belle, her life, her likes, her friends but most importantly her family. A few people got up and spoke and I deeply regret that I didn't have the courage to do so. My memories of Belle aren't about her advocacy or about her devotion to CRC. Rather my memories are about a lovely woman (Belle used the word lovely all the time when describing things) who was all about her kids and her family. I remember Belle in the snow in Leavenworth, precariously perched taking pictures of her kids as they slid down the hill....all the while having a smile on her face. I remember the first time I met Belle when she came to pick hubby and me up at the train station in Leavenworth....would I know her, would we like each other (even though we had talked on the phone for years!) and I remember her smile, her welcoming hug and her comment "I didn't think you were a blonde"...btw, I am not...have light highlights but definitely not a blonde! Belle was all about her kids....and dang did she love them to the max. We had a great time in Seattle... Belle, Amber (her daughter) and I. The huge smile on her face as we watched the Nutcracker will always be a part of me. I especially remember, though, the last time we vacationed together....Leavenworth, 2013.....when Carolyn (another member here), Belle and I shared an evening in the condo talking about cancer, treatments, etc. and our conversation turned to tears and laughter. Belle went on to write about that evening in one of her blogs (http://colonclub.com/was-it-worth-it/
Towards the end of the day, a day that was supposed to rain but instead remained sunny, after we had celebrated Belle's life with tears, stories and some lighthearted tales, we walked to the back of the property...to Belle's garden, and watched as her husband, her son and daughter and very close friends, dug a hole and planted a tree.....a tree to honor Belle. They then spread some of Belle's ashes around the tree.....now Belle will help that tree grow....she can help nurture it and will always be 'present' in that garden....close to her family....the one part of Belle's life that she held higher.....that was more important than anything else in her life.
Yes, this was a special day. I visited my parents home and the new owners allowed me to see the house...a house that I had not been inside of for 14 years. There were a few things about the house that were still my Mom and Dad's (they had the house built for them so picked out all the cabinets, flooring, etc.). The rhodies were still there, although much larger. My dad's sundial was still sitting in his garden....yep, this was my parent's house.....and it was a fitting way to complete that day. You see, when I went to Belle's house, I looked at the 'program' and realized that Belle passed away on my dad's birthday and here I was, culminating that day at my mom/dad's house. I am very glad that I went that day....because that day, all around a very difficult and sad day.....personally meant a lot to me.
The pictures in the following link are just a few snapshots from that day.....pictures of the centerpieces, Belle's garden, a table dedicated to Belle's advocacy and pictures of her family. I also took a picture of the program (you will likely have to enlarge it ) for all to read. As I was hobbling around and using a cane that day, I wasn't able to take pictures so would like to thank both Anita and Steve (SaveMy Archie) who shared some of their photos with me so that I could post them here. Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to ask this man I had met at the local Farmer's Market to make a birdhouse in Belle's honor. I recently picked it up and you will see a picture of it as well. I am not sure if I will drive down or just send it to the family.....but I know that Belle would love to have some birds make a home in a birdhouse, dedicated to her.....close by in her own garden.
Belle....you are a hero to all of us. To me, though, you were a wonderful friend and I will always miss you.https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B1wgbiLAM2Ssfk5MOHZRSUxVMEJmVFdfdzRzY01tUnlJWGgtWUVGcUk5MDdvWjllT1BTTmc&usp=sharing