Stories About My Family & Friends
Last night, I dreamt of an old friend of mine who has since passed, Bonnie Lebietz. In the dream, I felt so angry with her, but I didn’t know why.
I pulled into a gas station and she was standing outside of her truck. As I stopped behind her car, she looked up and smiled at me; I got out of my car and walked to her where she hugged me so tight.
I told her, “I miss you so much, Bonnie.”
She said, “I miss you too, Shell.”
Then I realized why I was angry and told her so. “I am so mad that you died. I am so angry that I did not spend more time with you when I could have.”
Bonnie pulled back and held me by the shoulders. “I know,” she said smiling. “I feel the same way, too. We had so much fun together, but it’s okay. I promise, we will see each other again.”
I woke up at that point. I was crying. I do miss my friend and I am so mad at myself for not spending more time with her when we had the chance.
Bonnie was a person who was so caring and loving that you could feel it just being in the same room with her. People talk about auras and Bonnie had one. It was a clear bright white light that surrounded her, even when she felt down.
I can still hear her laughter – I can still see her with that cigarette dangling from her mouth as she bent down to tie someone’s shoe, or pick something up off the floor, or chasing a bug out the door because she refused to kill it. Bonnie loved and respected all life, even a cockroach’s.
I can still see her and I still miss her.
Winnie the Pooh said it best, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
I thought about that pretty hard one day. Someone had made a Facebook post about one of our Georgetown Walmart Pharmacy workers who I will call, Alice. In the post it said how she was always a sour puss with a bad attitude. He found lots of support from the many customers who commented the same. I scrolled through several of the responses and was shocked to see no one had anything nice to say about Alice… not one.
On my next trip through the pharmacy, I made it a point to greet Alice by name and salutations. One time, I noticed she did something new with her hair and commented how nice it looked. Another time I mentioned that I had noticed she’d been away on my previous visits. Each encounter with Alice was positive… that was my focus.
Fast forward six months: I just recently picked up some medicines for my husband. She was there and before I could say anything to her, she knew my name and greeted me warmly with a smile. Kindness truly does make a difference so as we venture forth this holiday season, put aside your frustrations and remember: Pooh Bear was right: In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do; something I’ve never wanted to do: I went to a child’s funeral (visitation as I won’t go to the actual funeral).
I know what you’re thinking, “he’s 30 years old, he’s not a child.” Technically, you are correct. However, to me, he is still a boy. Shaun is his mother’s child and his father’s child. From one parent to another, our children will always be our child.
I came home from the visitation and reflected on what to say about this young man. I decided to start at the beginning. I knew Sandy (Lewis) Cribb and Bobby Lewis since before they were “Sandy and Bobby.”
(Oh, the stories I could tell, but won’t.)
Within a few years, they became parents, twice, to two very beautiful children, first to Shannon and then to Shaun. My first thought of Shaun was of 1991 and them bringing him home from the hospital. He was so stinking adorable! Such a precious baby.
I reflected on his childhood – always blonde and blue eyes. So blonde, in fact his hair was almost white. His smile; his laughter; his mischievous side that often came out around his cousins; his sister, Shannon, trying to rein in her little brother when he was being a stinker; Shaun as a lanky teenager, then a young man, beginning his first steps into adulthood… driving is father crazy as he tried to be a master carpenter like Bobby… or doing anything that made use of his hands.
Shaun was a smart boy and he liked to use his hands. He may not have been the master carpenter that his father is, but he could still do some things. I can still see him standing there with a crooked smile on his face.
I sat with Sandy and her husband (Bun) for a few minutes. We sat just a few feet away from Shaun as he lay there sleeping, but I couldn’t bring myself to go up there. I couldn’t bear to bring myself to see this… child… Instead, I sat with Sandy for a few minutes, then spoke to his aunt, his uncle(s), grandmother, and a few of his cousins.
He left behind a slew of people, parents, sister, family: including his own children. His own children! Babies having babies… where does the time go?
Before leaving, I expressed to both Sandy, then to Bobby, that I did not like the obituary. It was, as most obituaries go, cold and impersonal. I wanted to write something nice about Shaun and with their consent, I would do just that. I wanted to say something positive about him, to describe and share the Shaun I knew.
Sandy agreed and said she’d like that. I had hoped she would. “The truck just fell on top of him,” she said numbly. “He was trying to fix it…”
Bobby, likewise, agreed concerning my writing something about Shaun. “He died doing what he does best: fixing things… we tried to teach our kids to spread kindness and do things for others… for friends, and that is what he was doing: he was fixing a friend’s truck for him.”
Modern times says we are celebrating a person’s life and not mourning their death. On the contrary, we’re doing both especially when they’re taken from us too soon. Shaun Lewis will be missed and his memory will live on through his family, his children, and his friends, so until we meet again, rest in peace, you precious child.
My husband and I were in Toledo when we stopped in Rossford to visit with one of my older brothers. I asked him about his occupation. I have so many vague memories of him owning his own NAPA store/franchise and now, he owns a bar in Rossford.
“What exactly do you do for a living?” I asked while sitting with him in the bar he owned. “Are you a bookie?”
“No, no, honey…, not at all,” he answered. “I’m a financial consultant for those who wish to earn money in sports games.”
Remembering all those holiday family meals with him in front of the TV, I realized, it wasn’t just for enjoyment. It was his life… his money was at stake.
I laughed at the memory and his ridiculous answer and said, “You’re a bookie.”
My brother hung his head in defeat and conceded, “Yes, I’m a bookie.”
I crack up whenever I remember that moment. He’s a riot!