Losing a loved one.

 

Did you know that my first name isn’t Claire?

It’s Beverly.

Bebe

I was born on February 10, fifty-six years after my grandmother. My parents decided to put her name on my birth certificate, and in that, we shared two things: a birthday and a first name.

As I grew into a young girl, I couldn’t wait to spend time with the older Beverly. My Bebe. Her house was the one where we could play Hungry, Hungry, Hippos. Her house had the huge mirror in the back, where we could watch ourselves dance. The bedroom I slept in at Bebe’s house had a Popeye the Sailor Man lamp. The yard was lined with trees. Small ones I could climb in. And for many years, there was a stump in the back yard we could jump on and off. Once, my cousin William did a back-flip off that stump.

There was a garage behind her house I never went in.

But when I spent good time with Bebe, it wasn’t in her home town, Augusta. It was in St. Simons Island. At Christmas, she was always the same. So warm and welcoming and big-arms around you loving you. I remember she’d bring out crackers and cheese. She’d offer a tin of cheese sticks and her famous, homemade fudge.

And she was always so generous.

She was the grandmother that bought me treats in the grocery store. The one that stuffed envelopes with surprises. She helped me buy my very first laptop. She wrote me letters and always encouraged me to write down my stories. She clipped out newspaper stories she thought would interest me, and sent them to me in the mail.

In a word, she was wonderful.

A few years ago, she moved to St. Simons. Her mind was still sharp as a whip, but her body began moving more and more slowly. And then, last week, she took a hard fall that sent her to the hospital. But she’d been to the hospital after a fall. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary.

But two days in the hospital seemed unusual.

And four days was unprecedented.

And pneumonia wasn’t part of the plan.

And then, it was over.

Beverly Beeland Carlton

February 10, 1931 – July 10, 2013 

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Comments

  1. Donna Whitesel says:

    Claire, I was friends with your mom and dad your many years during our Army lives. I would hear your mom talk about Bee’s mom. She sounds like the perfect grandma. Love your blog and seeing photos of you. My best memory of you is when I was visiting in DC and you were about 5. All you wanted to do was wear your Snow White costume EVERYWHERE, so on to the store we went accompanied by the princess. I have a photo of you posing demurely by a tree in your front yard, about the time Dottie got out and we all had to run to catch her.

  2. I didn’t know that you shared your birthday with your sweet grandmother…this is so very precious to me…I love this little glimpse into her life…and I love you, Sweet Dear Beverly Claire!–sandra

  3. Laura de Martino says:

    I don’t know you at all, but I’m proud to be a friend of Laura’s. Wish I’d known your dear Bebe and would love to know you – such a sweet, thoughtful, caring, beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing.

    Laura de Martino
    St. Simons Island, GA

  4. beautifully written, my sweet Beverly Claire. Bebe taught me how to be a grandmother. She was TRULY a selfless servant.

  5. I’m sorry, Claire. I lost my grandmother on June 29th. It was so difficult, the first grandparent I’ve ever lost, and the one I was most close to. But, I know she was ready to go, and Jesus was ready to take her. My thoughts are with you!

  6. Jana wright says:

    Sweet memories are so wonderful to hang on to! It is so hard to say goodbye!
    Love you, Jana

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