05 March 2009

Inspired words for an inspiring woman: From Beverly's memorial service in Buffalo

The memorial service in Stamford on February 21 helped Beverly's relatives and friends remember and celebrate a life beautifully lived, with the help of soulfully performed music and heartfelt words. Now everyone can be carried by the inspired words spoken by some of Beverly's relatives, with full texts appearing on the family's memorial web site.

Beverly's sister, Margot, wrote "Strong Woman," a sparkling and warm poem showing Beverly's many sides, her many endeavors and accomplishments through the years. Here is the first verse.
My little girl sister
could out bike, out dodge ball, and out hide and seek the
neighborhood gang,
fort building, tree climbing, cowboy hat and Cisco Kidding,
mouseketeering, red wagoneering
jump roping, hop scotching,
Playground pal, was my little girl sister.
Ray Eckert, Beverly's brother, read a  passage written by Martin Luther King, Jr.
If a man or a woman happens to be 36 years old, as I happen to be,
and some great truth stands before the door of their life,
some great opportunity to stand up for what is right and that which is just,
and he or she refuses to stand up because of a desire to live a little longer,
or he or she is afraid to lose a job.
They may go on and live to be 80,
and the cessation of breathing in their life
is merely the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
We die when we refuse to stand up for that which is right.
We die when we refuse to take a stand for that which is true.
So we are going to stand up right here,
Letting the world know we are determined to be free.
The eulogy was delivered by Bill Bourque, Beverly's brother-in-law. For family members, it reminded them of happier times, before the day that horribly changed her life. And for those of us who only knew the "activist Beverly," the tales of outings and projects and loving family connections made us smile and realize there was so much more to Beverly's life than trips to Washington, vigils and interviews.
When she first met Sean, Sean's younger brother Ben asked Sean to "make her go away". Since this was 40 plus years ago and Ben was only four at the time, we have not held this against him. Fortunately, Beverly didn’t go away. If there is anything that best describes her, it is loyalty to family and friends. She loved her nieces and nephews as if they were her own children. She followed their successes and their struggles and talked about them often. She broadened our children’s horizons with trips to New York City and Boston; to Thanksgiving Day parades and the Freedom Trail. ..to Faneuil Hall and to Central Park. We all knew that if you visited Beverly and Sean you better get a good night's sleep. You would be up early. No sitting around. A long, strenuous day was ahead. But we had fun... great fun.

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