I think of Beverly every day.
One year ago, her life ended, but her story was carried on by those whose lives she touched. The story of the jump-roping, hop-scotching sister; the high school poet/artist/basketball player; the strong-handed potter; the assured insurance executive; the partner-for-life of her beloved Sean; generous and exuberant friend and neighbor. And in the final chapter of her life: volunteer and citizen-activist extraordinaire.
And so we will remember Beverly in our own ways. When she remembered Sean, it was with gratitude for their life together, and with a sense of the joy he brought to her life and the lives of others. Today I want to remember Beverly with that same sense of joy. It’s not a difficult thing to do. Looking at the smile on her face puts a smile on mine. The gusto with which she lived her life inspires me to skip, dance and immerse myself in the wonder of something so simple as a setting sun.
Think of Beverly and the snow! A born and bred Buffalo gal, she loved the snow, and missed it when she wintered away from the cold Northeast during her Caribbean cruises. And when she was home, she would immerse herself joyfully in the season. In December 2008 she wrote: “Holidays are a wonderful escape – recapturing the magic of childhood can be intoxicating, and who can resist snow, family gatherings and Christmas trees?” One wonderful wintery image in particular is etched in my memory: Beverly, head tilted back in a full-throated laugh, riding down the small hill in her backyard last January in the most unlikely of conveyances – the hull of a Sunfish sailboat! Just like a kid. “Instead of just storing it,” she wrote, “here’s something I discovered that you can do with a sailboat in wintertime. This is cutting-edge stuff – I just know it’s going to catch on!”
Think of Beverly on the water! One of her favorite ways to relax (“I love the serenity”) was to spend time in her kayak. And like everything else she did, Beverly jumped in with both feet. In the summer of 2004, she wrote: “Kayaking yesterday turned out to be more exciting than I anticipated. One of my friends capsized, dumping herself and a full load of supplies into Long Island Sound. Luckily, we were still close to shore, but that meant we had a large audience of beachgoers, not to mention the eager services of the local lifeguard. Anyway, it was hard to get the kayak out of the water and drained because we couldn't stop laughing.” And other simple joys were never far from the surface of the water. In the autumn of 2008 she wrote: “While kayaking Sunday, I caught a turtle with my bare hands. A tiny turtle, but nonetheless untamed by man until I came along.”
Such joy, such life. Such a joyous life.