(Can you dedicate a blogpost? I think I will.) This post is dedicated to the memory of Lucile Rivers, Bonny's mother, and one of the most amazing people I have ever known, and to Janet Scarbrough, Bonny's sister, who cared and cared and cared and taught us all with her caring.
Today my family will say goodbye to our Bonny, and the world will lose one of the sweetest souls who ever lived here. Bonny Rivers Morgan was my Dad's cousin. I'm not sure what that makes us. It doesn't really matter . . . what I know for sure is that she was a treasure. I can almost hear her laugh now, as I write this post. I haven't heard it in a while, but I suspect she is laughing in heaven at just this moment. She deserves it.
Bonny didn't have an easy life. I guess maybe nobody's life is easy. Hers seemed to be sprinkled with more sadness than the rest of us endure. You wouldn't have known that if you had met her, though. You never would have known.
If you had met her at the grocery or heard her singing in the choir or sat across the table from her playing race horse canasta, you probably would have imagined that she lived a jolly ole' life. You would have seen her face light up in her fabulous crooked smile or heard her fantastic laugh, and you would have thought she hadn't faced what she had. She would have been asking you questions, too, so there wouldn't have been much time to talk about her. She would know all that you'd been up to, would be fascinated by what you'd done and would spend your time together gathering up important information about how your life was going, what was special and where you'd been. She'd be smiling while you talked. She'd be quiet a lot and then something would trigger her sweet laugh. Her eyes would be on you through the whole conversation. She would be truly interested in you.
That was the thing about Bonny. She was interested in everyone, cared about everyone and went about her days hoping for the best for all of us. You would never have guessed that she had buried a baby way back when or that she had outlived her husband, Stanley, and her precious grown son, John. You'd never have known. You wouldn't have known how much she had suffered. She wouldn't have told you that. Oh, she would tell you amazing stories about John if you asked. You would see in her eyes how very bad it must hurt every day of her life, but you'd be so happy when you saw those same eyes light up when she told the tales of her sweet John. You'd wonder why someone like Bonny had to suffer so much, and you'd wonder how she kept smiling.
You'd know that she hadn't ever been too many places or that her health had never been too good, and you'd wonder how she could know so much or how she could have such an engaging and open mind. She would care so much about what was happening around her, and you might wonder how she got outside of her own sadnesses enough to see the problems of the great big outside world. She wouldn't have exciting tales of her every days, but she'd adore hearing your tales or imagining the 'what ifs' of all that was possible. You'd see that she was as grounded in what she knew and believed as a human could be, and you'd also notice that she could dream and imagine and wonder. You'd enjoy her so much.
I promise you'd want to play cards with Bonny. You'd be frustrated at how long she made you shuffle all of the decks of cards, but you wouldn't really mind. There would be such laughter and the time would be filled with a contentment and joy you don't find everywhere. You'd love it.
I knew it was time for Bonny to leave this world when I heard she no longer had the will to play cards. I knew she was tired when I saw that the spark in her eyes was leaving and that the joy she found in everyone else was dissipating. You would have known, too, if you had been with her. You would have known that Bonny was ready to go home; that she was ready to hear the tales of her precious children and laugh with them. You would know that she was ready to see Stanley and hear what crazy trips he had taken on his bicycle. You'd know she was ready to feel good again and get back in the choir and sing her heart out. You'd know.
Bonny saw a lot. She endured a lot. And she gave so much. I'm sure I have no idea the gifts she gave to the many who loved her. I do know what she gave me, though. She gave to me the picture of real strength - the image of someone whose body wasn't strong but who whose soul would stand up to sadness and sickness and continue on with a sweet and gentle spirit. She gave to me an illustrated version of how to keep on ticking with a grace and peace that is unwavering. I wish I had told her that.
On the evening that Bonny peacefully left the constrains of this life, I read a facebook post of my friend, Sandy, who lives far away. Sandy lamented about a friend who had just died and added, "I hope this is the last time I forget to ask the questions. May this be the last funeral that makes me think, I wish I took the time to know them better." Amen, Sandy. Amen.
Why this post? you might be asking. I'll tell you why. Because I want the world to know that someone special just left, and I want to remind you and me that we mustn't forget to ask the questions, spend the time and take the time to know them better.
This world will miss you, sweet Bonny.