Saying Goodbye to Ma Bell

I lost a very important person today: Barb Bell, my best friend Sue's mom who was like a second mother to me. She had been in declining health for several months, and today she passed away peacefully at Sue and Ken's home in Roanoke. She's now at peace, joining her beloved husband, Jack, who passed away 30 years ago.

I am heartbroken, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I often tell people I got my sense of humor from the Bells (and their cousin San) as they were always such fun people, never taking themselves too seriously and finding fun whereever they went. Charades, a colander on your head at the New Year's party, enjoying that "generous" glass of wine, and our favorite British comedies. For God's sake, would I even know Benny Hill existed if not for the Bells?

The Bell family, and especially Ma, always welcomed me with open arms as if I were one of their own. Growing up I spent so many nights there I had my own toothbrush. They knew if I was going to have dinner with them something was sure to get spilled, and every once in a while, when I helped clean up, the milk would end up in the cupboard. I'll never live that down.

Ma Bell and her children were genuinely "friends." I can't recall a time when Lisa, Tim or Sue gave their mom trouble. There was so much love and respect there. Sue and Ken did an amazing job taking care of Ma Bell in her last months, with frequent help from sister Lisa and cousin San, and I'm sure they considered every minute of it (and what were some very stressful, worrisome, and scary moments) a great privilege, and never a burden.

So, goodbye, Ma Bell. You were loved and will be missed, and someday we'll see each other again.


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