This weekend I attended the funeral of my best friend’s mother; I was simply another one of her children. She was the sweetest lady, the most wonderful mother and one of the best examples of faith, community and love. Among her many accomplishments, she was noted for starting the organization of community watchdogs, better known as crime watch. A burglary occurred in her neighborhood and she decided something needed to be done to keep the homes and families safe. It was that simple in her eyes. She took the time to care. She took the time to make a difference. It’s a reminder for us all, on so many levels.
Later, she turned her attention to writing. She wanted to write the story of her life. She had an editor, a publisher lined up and ready to go. And then she received her diagnosis. She had Alzheimer’s. For those of us who knew her best, it wasn’t a complete surprise.
I cannot tell you how heartbreaking this diagnosis is, for not only the patient, but the entire family. Not surprisingly, upon initial diagnosis she was frightened . Who wouldn’t be? It was the most normal reaction. But what she did next is part of what made her extraordinary. She read a book that advised humor in the face of challenge. Forgot where you left your keys? Have fun with it. Crack a joke, laugh at yourself. She told the family this was the way she wanted to go forward.
True to her wishes, my girlfriend and her family—husband and three kids—had fun with “Me-Mom” at every opportunity. For ten years she lived with them, safe and secure under their watchful eye. But two months ago, the disease had progressed to the point where they were unable to care for her, even with in-home help. She was moved to a nursing home and now, she has moved again, to a better place.
Betty Ann Good was one of the most beautiful people I know, and continues to be in spirit. She may be gone in body, but her inspiration shines bright in all who knew her. She served her community, she lived her passion, she made a difference in the world around her. Doing the same with my own life is the greatest respect I can pay her.
September 28, 1932 ~ October 3, 2012