blueeowyn: (candle)
[personal profile] blueeowyn
My Aunt Betsy passed away this morning. We got the phone call on our way to Ren Fest. Betsy has been very ill for some time (she was on dialysis for around 10 years). She had a litany of physical challenges which were getting worse and spent most of the time this summer going in and out of the hospital and rehab.

In many ways she was the closest of my aunts and uncles. When I was a very young child my mother was ill and I spent the summer at Betsy's house. She claimed I was the easiest child to take care of, get me up, feed me, put me on the horse, take me down, feed me, put me down for a nap, wake me up, put me on the horse, take me down, feed me, put me to bed. I remember one of her friends wondering where she had been hiding her daughter all these years. We always had a connection, partially through the horses and partially through our looks. I looked more like her than I look like my mother. As I got older, I looked more like her and in 1985 Mom & I went to Florida to visit and there exists a picture of me with Betsy and her horse and it is hard to tell who is who in the picture (well, aside from the horse). As more time went by, it became more strange for me to look so much like her because when I would see her it was like looking through a time-warp mirror at myself if I made some really bad choices in my life.


Betsy had a hard life in a lot of ways, as a toddler she was taken from Florida up to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore because of her kidney issues. She was the last and youngest child and I suspect a bit of a surprise to her parents. She was 17 years older than I am (and my Mom is about 17 years older than Betsy was and was not the first born child).

When I was 10 or 12, we went to visit my grandmother in Florida and Betsy came over and brought her horse, a beautiful QH mare named Deja Vous (Deja for short) so that I could ride her while visiting. Little did my grandmother realize that this horse would dig up her yard doing barrel racing around the trees. My Mom says now that her heart was in her throat watching her baby go whipping around the trees.

Betsy loved animals and loved nature. She took hundreds of pictures of sunsets, had many animals over the years and worked towards a better planet. She spent time on a wagon train with troubled youths and adopted 2 of the horses from the train (Streak had 3000 miles on him when Betsy got him).

She was in many ways a free spirit and that did not help her health but she loved being who she was. Over the last several years, her body was failing her. Her eyesight was bad, her hands were seizing up, her various access points for dialysis would fail and she would need new ones. She hoped to become a candidate for liver and kidney transplants but it didn't work out for her (for a lot of reasons).

The last year or so she was so sick and in and out of the hospital. My Mom went down and visited when she could and got a lot of updates from family and Betsy's friends down in Florida. The news just kept getting worse and we were on pins and needles wondering what would happen next. A few weeks ago it looked like Betsy would be sent out of the rehab place and wanted to go home (that ended up being changed). Then on Thursday, something changed, a good friend of Betsy's called Mom and told her that the nursing staff said that it wasn't time for the family to come yet but... so Mom planned to go down Tuesday 9/7 and come back Thursday 9/9. Yesterday morning Mom got the call to come down as soon as possible and Betsy had maybe 24 hours.

Mom flew down last night and got to the hospital at around midnight and had a chance to say goodbye to her baby sister and her last living sibling (Bobby died as a child, Pete died in 2002, Jim in 2004). Betsy knew she was there and I will be eternally grateful for that because she was talking to Mom and responsive. The nursing staff did a wonderful job of keeping Betsy stable and as comfortable as possible so Mom could make it. She died peacefully knowing that her big sister and her good friend were with her. The end was merciful and I am very grateful that the medical staff didn't insist on heroic measures and let her go with dignity.

There will be a service but it won't be for a few weeks and her ashes will be scattered under her favorite tree.

It says something about the number of friends she made that her dogs (the ones I was looking for a home for a few weeks ago) have found a home, a couple of friends picked them up recently and will be keeping them for the rest of their lives.

I haven't seen Betsy in several years, she came up for a visit not long before we were married, we didn't get a chance to see her when were were in FL for the honeymoon. We did see her at my Uncle Jim's funeral. I did have the chance to talk with her on the phone several weeks ago.

I will remember her love of horses, her generosity of spirit, and I will continue to treasure the Breyer Horse she gave me in 1974. I still have that FAS and he still has all his parts (even if he doesn't have all his paint). I learned a lot from her, both good and things not to do. I feel sorry that her life was so difficult and that things turned out the way they did in some ways. But I do love her and I will miss her.

For those of you who saw me today and saw the post last night, thank you for not bringing it up. I got through the day (most people on site didn't realize there was anything wrong) and held it together until after Pub Sing. Remember to love those around you, take care of the planet and your loved ones (and listen to the doctors when they tell you stuff). Also, if you see me on the streets this weekend, please don't bring this up, backstage is OK.

May the peace of the oceans sing her to her final rest and may she truly rest in peace.

Goodbye Aunt Betsy, I'm glad your passage was peaceful, may you be reunited with your brothers and your pets in whatever afterlife there may be.

Rest in peace.
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