And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
The past two months have been a blur. There has been so much sadness with the loss of a good friend, my brother and my mother in law. All three losses, though, have had good things come out of them like the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good…”
The first passing was a good friend and fellow wood worker Burl Buzzard who was the step father of my brother in law, Terry Benson. He was a navy veteran who was recently honored at the state capital for his service. The good part was the time we got to spend with his and Terry’s family. Terry got to spend time with a brother he had not talked to in years. It is sad that these occasions are so often what bring families together but never the less; we need to make the most of the opportunities. Oh, and I was able to add Burl’s wood to my collection and will make some nice projects out of it someday.
The next loss was a lot closer to home when my brother Mike Smith died on August 1st 2017. I had just started spending some time with him since we moved back to the area four years ago after being gone 35 years. I did have some good conversations with Mike and was glad to get to tell him that though I could never fully understand what he went through growing up that I was aware of his struggles and was also aware of the great things he accomplished in spite of what he had to overcome. The upside of losing my brother is the way I have gotten to know His wife Mary and daughter Angie and her family much better. Mary is in an assisted living facility and Bonnie and I visit her when we can. I have been taking notes and putting together information from Mary, Angie and others trying to put together a story about all Mike and Mary overcame to be together and the legacy Angie and her children have become.
Speaking of Angie, she is a very creative young lady and makes very beautiful primitive designs from vines and other things she collects from the trees on her farm. I recently spent three days at a craft fair with Angie where we sold our handmade wares. I was very glad for the time we had to talk about her time growing up and the positive influence Mike and Mary had on her life. I don’t see any signs of the struggles they faced when I watch Angie and her children. That tells me they didn’t bring that excess baggage into their marriage.
The third loss was very close and very sudden. On Friday, August 11th Bonnie’s mother, Shirley DeQuasie was in her Baseball card shop talking to customers and on Friday August 18th, she passed away with her family by her side. It was a long week for the family as we spent all day and all night every day taking care of her but it was still an unbelievably sudden loss of someone we all expected to outlive every one of us.
Shirley ran the card shop for almost 30 years, opening it in July 1988, three years after the tragic death of her son and Bonnie’s younger brother, Wilson. There is a story chronicling the history of the shop on Sports Collector Daily, an online magazine for sports card and memorabilia collectors, written by Bob D’Angelo. Click here to read it.
These tragedies have been emotionally draining, all consuming and are the reason I have not posted on the blog for quite a while. Things have settled down a little but they will never be what you could call normal again. Our responsibilities have changed significantly with Bonnie and I running the card shop now and trying as best we can to fill the void left by Mom’s passing.
These circumstances have also given us a chance to evaluate the status of my brain injury recovery and the observations have been both positive and negative. On the negative side, my inability to focus effectively on more than one thing put the blog on the back burner but the fact that I was able to prioritize correctly was a good sign. Through all the stressful situations, I applied compensatory strategies like using lists, alarms and the smart phone. Bonnie actually said she was impressed with how I stepped up to the plate.