What describes Betty as a Christian, a wife, a mother and a friend? I think probably the adjectives that most people attribute to those that they love. The word nice would have to be overworked. Others would be friendly, compassionate, dedicated, loyal, positive, wise, a peacemaker, trustworthy, gentle, mild mannered, approachable and a good listener. She could also be described by what she was not. She was not a gossip, she did not stir up trouble, she was not harsh or judgmental, she was neither selfish nor self serving, and she definitely was not a complainer. What distinguished her was her depth of character and beliefs. Despite her soft nature she was no push-over and could defend herself and her beliefs without being either offensive or argumentative.
Betty grew up as a Presbyterian and attended mostly Presbyterian churches throughout her life. At various time she held part time jobs in church offices, helped to establish a program for at risk children, served on various church committees, and served as a Deacon in both the Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver and at First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood. At one time she also served as a volunteer in helping pastor and author Charlie Shedd in answering the letters that poured in response to his published works.
As a wife Betty was wonderful. We quickly fell in love, and our love strengthened over time. We didn't just get comfortable with each other. All of the above listed personal qualities made her extremely easy to live with; but our relationship was much more than that. She was both my love and the best friend I have ever had. It was observed that "we breathed in and out together". Often we didn't even need to discuss a matter to know what the other one was thinking. On major issues we almost always agreed. We probably had our share of spats over minor issues, but how can one get too upset with a non argumentative peacemaker?
Betty loved children, and of course felt a tremendous bond to her own. She put them before any consideration of herself. Their loyalty to her in turn is a testament to how they were treated. Her mothering instincts were very strong! In several instances where she felt they were at risk I could not help but stand aside in wide eyed wonderment as she came to their defense. The analogy of a mother grizzly bear defending her cubs comes to mind. She raised them with love, affection and discipline. She insisted that they play a role in family life, help with the chores and maintain good conduct. She constructively used guilt, trickery, threats and punishment when necessary. But the true picture was the love and support that she lavished on them. And they have responded abundantly in kind.
As a friend Betty was special. Because of the friendship we had together, it is easy for me to believe the many good things I hear about the way she treated others. She was so approachable and such a good listener that people felt comfortable in seeking her out for advice and counsel, and when they just needed to vent frustrations. They knew that she was not a gossip and would maintain their confidences. She shared the love and friendship in her heart freely, and was valued as a friend in return.
Betty was a person of great courage. This always seemed so, but was best illustrated by the manner in which she handled her final illness. For the last six months we received a non ending series of bad medical reports that made it increasingly clear that she would not survive her cancer. Throughout she was a model patient who attracted the attention and affection of the doctors, nurses and other health care providers. The outpouring of affection and admiration for her, and the superlatives describing her reaction to her situation exceeded any expectations I might have had at the outset. The nurses who provided her home health care were especially touched, and were greatly affected by her and her passing. Throughout that entire period of heartache and disappointment, Betty never lost her positive attitude, complained or gave up. She was so considerate of others that we are even convinced that she didn't want to cause distress to we, the family, by seeing her die. And so she held on despite all odds until we took a brief respite from her bedside vigil. She then passed quickly.
She was a beautiful wonderful person. May God rest her soul.