This is long overdue, but I wanted to give the B family time to grieve and begin to function again before I posted this. I received a message yesterday that leads me to believe that they are coming to that point. So to Mel and Mr. B..... I love you guys. I miss you guys. And I am forever thankful that your family has been a part of my life.
Let me begin by saying I have my own definition of family. Blood does not equal family. Relationships equal family. It is very possible to be a full blood relative.... and still be 0% part of my family. It is a fact of my life, that you can be 0% blood related to me...and still be 100% part of my family. I have been extremely BLESSED with many of these relationships. And God had perfect timing in all of them.
Growing up, my father was military. We moved too many times to count. Blood relations were very very seldom close enough on the map to visit. As such, I think many military families form very strong ties with other families. That was the B family in my life.
We knew them before going overseas, but my strongest memories begin when we lived in Germany. The B family was a major part of those three years. And they didn't even live in the same area. We had to travel to go see them and vise versa. (Oh big terrible thing...traveling all over Germany!!)
Besides visiting each other, we also took many cool vacations together around Germany. One of my favorites was when we went and saw the hotel Hitler was holed up in long ago. We also went ice skating and to a salt mine and just site seeing. Castles, crystal factories and wine tasting. Christmas and Thanksgiving.
These were the years I picked up a camera. Unfortunately I don't have many pictures of the B family to share as I left the lions share of them with mom when I left home. I was pretty much the only one taking pictures and they paid for the film and developing so I figured that was best. So from the few shots I have, I want to share with you a woman that was very important in my younger years.
I don't think I could find a better picture to begin. When I think of Mrs. B, I think of laughter. Her and my mom laughed ALL THE TIME. And she had a very distinctive and catchy laugh. I can't tell you how many times in life I went to sleep with the sound of the four grown ups laughing it up. They cut up like a bunch of school kids. And they were actually funny!
I should introduce you to Mr. B also. You'll have to take my word for it that he is the one sitting on my sister. Yes, Mr. B tortured us just like he was our dad. What could be more fun than to have two dad's picking on you? Especially when there are no other relative around?
I couldn't find a picture of Mel at this point in life. Rest assured she was there. The three of us fought like cats and dogs half the time...couldn't have been worse if we'd been actual sisters.
We all returned to the states and didn't see each other a bit. Both of the dad's were retired and we all ended up in El Paso for awhile. We moved away, and then we all ended up in the DFW area together.
They were front and center when I got married. I'm so glad they were there to help out like they did and join us for the rehearsal dinner. It was much more comfortable for me with them there. I wasn't real comfortable with my soon-to-be in-laws at that point so they were a big help ... and probably never even knew it.
Is that good Mr. B?
On my wedding day, Mel was there to help me with my hair and make-up. And yes, that was very necessary. Some things never change. If its clean and brushed...its good to go. Mel wasn't having that for my wedding. And if I never thanked you Mel...let me say it now...THANKS!
I moved away with my new husband and didn't see The B's much from that point. I do have a picture of Mr. B with Bones.
Not long after that The B's moved close to their family in Arizona, and I haven't seen them since. I did see Mel occasionally when mom would cut her hair.
After my dad died, I found Mr. B on facebook and passed on a message that he had passed away. Mel then contacted me and let me know that Mrs. B was also fighting cancer. It was looking pretty positive that first contact, but like my dad, overnight it all changed. In no time Mrs. B was gone.
Two of the most important people from my early years are gone...within 8 months of each other.
I wish I had been able to go to the memorial service. I am very thankful that my mother was able to attend. Mr. B and Mel are totally crushed...as they should be.
And what do you say?
All I can say is I'm sorry, and I know.
Although I haven't seen her in so long, I miss her. I'm sad that she is no longer here spreading that laughter. I'm very sad for the hole left in Mel and Mr. B's lives. She was such a tiny thing...yet such a huge presence.
And she will always be a giant in my childhood memories.