My friend Bettie
In 1977, my life changed drastically. I was 27yrs old, and my husband left me and two daughters for a 17yr old girl that he got PG. Funny, how she had a "miscarriage" on the way to LasVegas for a quicky marriage the day after our divorce was finalized. Anyway, I was devastated. I'd been taking sign language classes at the local communitiy college in Omaha,NE. and it was there that I met my friend Bettie. She was a single mom with two kids about the same age as mine. I'd been not only physically abused for 81/2 yrs, but emotionally abused, which I find to this day, to be the most devastating kind of abuse to get over. (for me) My self esteeme was pretty low when I met Bettie. She was like a fresh breath of air. I'd never gone to a bar with a girlfriend before, having gotten married right out of HS. My ex took the girls every Sat for an overnight..and that's when Bettie asked me if I wanted to go have drinks. I told her that I didn't have any money..and she said "trust me, after buying one drink, you won't have to pay for another one." Didn't really understand that...but hey...it was true! I found out that I wasn't as ugly as my ex had portrayed me to be. It was pretty scary for me at first. My 1st dance at a bar..and the guy actually said to me "did you just get divorced?" Guess I wasn't a good "slow dancer" as I was shaking in my boots. I was very timid...and very shy. It was Bettie who got me out there and gave me courage to start living instead of cowarding alone at home. We did everything together...and I was introduced to her brother Jeff, who I dated on and off for about 5 yrs. I didn't have family in Omaha, so Bettie's family became mine. We hung out at her mom's house all of the time. (I worked and she babysat the girls for me) We always had so much fun together. We'd put on oatmeal masks and hang our heads over her moms bed to get the circulation going in our heads: played "Sorry" on the sidewalk in front of her mom's house while we "tanned" ourselves. When the summers grew unbarabley hot, I'd pack up the girls and spend the night at her house. She met her husband when we were taking sign language classes and had to go to a bar to get our "sign names" which can only be given to you by a deaf person. I decided that I needed to go back to school,and enrolled in dental assisting school. She was so happy when I graduated so she wouldn't have to hear me talk about teeth. Bless her heart....that was a whole lot of listening and gritting her teeth...I'm sure. I moved away from Omaha, but we've always kept in contact. She and her family came out her to go camping with Robert and I. She's the kind of friend that you can go a couple of years without hearing from each other, call, and pick up right where you left off. About 10 yrs ago, Bettie had breast cancer and opted to have a lumpectomy..which is what her doctor recommended. About 5yrs ago, it reared it's ugly head, and she had a double mastectomy...and from there, it spread to her liver and into her bones. Countless rounds of Chemo, and other treatments, and today, I got an email from her son Tony, who said "mom has been given 6 months to live." I have been bawling ever since. I'd heard from her a couple of months ago and "no new tumors..and no growth." It's devastating because she is my oldest and dearest friend...and she has been fighting so hard for herself, her kids and her grandkids. I feel so terribly sad and it's like my mind is racing a mile a minute. All of these wonderful memories that we shared..the laughter and tears, frustrations and joys..that we went through together...and soon, she will be called home to be with the Lord. I've told her that I won't say "good-bye" but, "until we meet again." My sister, Bob and I said that to dad the day he died...and in knowing that to be true, there is some comfort...but I'm not ready to let go of my buddy...I don't want to think about it...because it hurts. What Bettie taught me, was how to gain back the self esteeme I'd lost. She taught me to have strength when I felt so weak and vulnerable. "Those were the days my friend...I thought they'd never end...those were the days, oh yes, those were the days..."