Mimetalker's Blog

a mime is a terrible thing to waste.

Mimetalker

Mimetalker
Location
Illinois, USA
Birthday
January 26
Bio
On this blog: All words (other than identified quotations) © Sharon Nesbit-Davis, All rights reserved. *********************************** I am a blog writer at three sites: Rockford Register Star: Arts4All, The Red Tent: The Movie, & Make Peace/Build Community (Sponsored by the Baha'is of the U.S.) ********************************** You can find me on Facebook: Sharon Nesbit-Daivs, or "The Mime Writes" Logo Design by Dianaani ********************************** I work as the Education & Community Engagement Director of a Regional Arts Council which means I beg "the deciders" to fund and support the arts for everyone, not just the rich. *********************************** I am also a mime. For those that hate mimes, I understand. But you'll never find me annoying people on the street, unless I'm living there. I'm a "concert mime" ...which means you have to buy a ticket. *********************************** I've been married to my one and only since 1976. Still happy. Still in love. Two kids, six grandkids. In college I became a Baha'i (a world religion whose main theme is unity). It keeps me relatively sane in a world gone mad.

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AUGUST 12, 2012 10:10AM

Remembering Helen (HeidiBeth's Mom)

Rate: 16 Flag

 

I met Helen when I was in college. She and her husband, Bob, lived close to campus and had Baha'i gatherings every Sunday. She made a huge pot of Chili and I came because the dorm cafeteria didn't serve a meal on Sunday nights. I was checking into the Baha'i Faith and liked it, but the people seemed too nice. I didn't think my odd sense of humor and quirkiness would be accepted. Then I met Bob and Helen.

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Bob  and Helen were smart, funny, and as weird as me. Maybe weirder.  I "officially" became a Baha'i in their apartment. There's no formal ceremony, I just needed a pen to complete an enrollment card. Helen searched frantically for one and yelled at Bob to help. He did a handstand and pens fell out of his pockets.

For the next few years I spent more time with Helen than anyone else. She stood by me through one of the hardest periods of my life. My parents were angry because all three children became Baha'is, and most of all, because I wanted to marry George, who was black. Because the Baha'i Faith is based on unity, we couldn't get married without their consent. Helen understood because she had gone through the same thing. Long before I ever met either Helen or George, they were engaged.

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Helen, George & another friend Susan. Helen and George might have been "a couple" here...not sure. 

I don't know why it was not awkward for me to be friends with George's ex-fiancé. Maybe because by the time I met George it was long over and she was married. Or maybe it was simply Helen. She was so matter of fact that they weren't meant to be together, and George and I were. She offered thoughts about his mother that eased my fear, and we analyzed the potential my parents had of agreeing to the marriage. No matter how difficult things became, Helen could find the one tiny glimmer of hope. She made me feel like everything would be okay. 

When my parents gave their blessing, Helen was one of the first people I called. We screamed, and laughed and cried together.

When I think about Helen, I picture us sitting in the kitchen scheming. We were like Lucy and Ethel from TV's "I Love Lucy", but our schemes weren't about how to fool our husbands. They were about how to raise children without racial prejudice, or how to empower daughters while we were still trying to empower ourselves, or how to use the talents we were born with to help bring world peace. While in the middle of a conversation about the nature of human existence, Bob would come home and execute flips across the living room. 

After a few years we both moved to different towns and Helen and I rarely saw each other. When we did, it took less than a minute to feel as if we had never been apart. Maybe that's why we didn't try harder to stay in touch. It didn't feel necessary, but now I regret it. Our last real time together was a couple years ago. She came to my mother-in-law's house in Florida to spend Thanksgiving with the family. George's father had passed that Spring and his mother was having a hard time. His mom invited Helen and she accepted, leaving her own family's celebration to be with us.

Helen was as energetic and upbeat as she had always been, maybe more so. She was eating healthy, had lost weight, and was exercising...something she had once sworn against. She was excited about "Soul Miners", the children's theater project she and her daughter, Heidi were doing. They were using theater to help children identify and develop qualities like love, compassion, courage, and justice. We talked about me coming to do a mime workshop, but that never happened. When the doctors found she had cancer again I got an email. It was in her liver and spine and she had to decide if she was going to prepare to die, or do everything she could to live. 

There was a time we talked a lot about death. She was there when I had my first miscarriage. We read what the Baha'i Writings said about the next world, and how wonderful it was. At the time I longed to go because my daughter was there. She was in no hurry because her daughter was here. She listened without judging, helping me find reasons for living. 

Helen decided to fight the cancer. She wasn't ready to give up. The last time we spoke she didn't want to talk about her treatment. She said it was going fine, but it was hard. She'd rather talk about other things. She was concerned about my mother in law's depression, and how my brother was dealing with the death his daughter. She was elated with the news about my son winning a national playwriting competition, told me how much she loved my writing, and we talked about how happy we were with our daughters...both writers and amazing mothers. We swapped stories about our incredible grandchildren.

A few weeks ago, there was an update on Helen's "CarePages" from Heidi asking for prayers as her mother transition from this world to the next. I prayed, and cried and had fitful dreams. I woke up the next day and looked for emails and at HeidiBeth's Facebook page. Heidi had put the same message on Facebook and messages of love and support were pouring in. All day I checked and there was no further news. I went to bed the next night and prayed more. In the morning there was still no news, and then I laughed. I imagined tiptoeing up to Helen's bed to see if she was still breathing. She'd open one eye, twitch her nose, and whisper "I'm not dead yet..."  

I believed it possible she might surprise us all and live, and if that happened I vowed I would be a better friend. I'd take vacation days and go visit. I'd call her every day and learn how to do skype. I'd make sure she knew how much her friendship meant to me.

When I told my husband she passed, he said Helen was the most positive person he'd ever known. I remembered a scene from Monty Python's "Life of Brian". Rows and rows of condemned men, strung up on crosses were singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life..."

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 My friend Helen, and her beloved Heidi.

I miss knowing you are here. 

 

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I've never learned the fine art of embedding stuff here...here is the YouTube link to the Monty Python scene: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M

 

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Comments

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Ahhh Thank you for this look at Helen. People like that should live forever.
What a lovely tribute. I"m so sorry for you loss. Wishing you and all who love Helen peace.
Beyond moving.... can see Helen's gratitude via tears from the Abha kingdom.
Teared me up again, girl. But I'm smiling, too. A beautiful friendship. I love the implications of your last sentence: I miss knowing you are here.
beautiful. so sorry for the loss of your dear friend, and heidi, so sorry for the loss of your dear mother. peace to all of you.
Thank you all for reading and commenting. If you haven't already, please visit Heidi's OS blog. She's posted a couple of poems about her mom. Here is the link to the first one:

http://open.salon.com/blog/heidibeth/2012/08/06/a_love_poem_for_my_mom

Thank you! I know how wonderful it is to have support from OS during times like these.

Blessings...
Sharon
..."de dum, de dum, dedumty, dum... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmDsDd4KA64

Read & Rated ;-)
Sharon:
Thank you for this touching tribute. I didn't know your friend, but if as your husband said, "Helen was the most positive person he'd ever known", I feel as if I have known her.

May she rest in peace and her legacy of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life..." live on.

Rated♥
This was so moving. I've been following heidibeth's blog and got the sad news there, along with Heidi's beautiful, thoughtful, hopeful meditations on it. Thank you for complimenting that with a portrait of a woman who seems like a wonderful friend and mother. May she rest in peace. Sending healing thoughts to all of you guys.
Sorry for your loss. A lovely tribute to your dear friend.
Lea took my first response. Your writing is a mirror in which her loveliness shines forth for us...Bless and thank you...and Helen and all who treasure her. xo R
i have lost people to cancer.
they are always brave.
some of em werent so brave in life of course.
your faith, this "baha'i" , i get it. good stuff.
inclusiveness, global community.

i like the older faiths..like emerson's


"Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power
and wisdom which animates all whom it floats,

and you are without effort impelled to truth,
to right and a perfect contentment. Spiritual Laws (184)

nothing is new under the Sun. Under the MOON is
another story.
Bahá'í writings describe a single, personal, inaccessible,
omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable,
and almighty God
who is the creator of all things in the universe.
The existence of God and theuniverse is thought to be eternal,
without a beginning or end.[12] Though inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers
termed Manifestations of God.[11][13]
like anyone I guess.
All you gotta do is catch that holy vibe.
Example:
Whitehead agrees with you re. god:


Whitehead's God differs essentially from the revealed God of Abrahamic religions. Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism gave rise to process theology……….


Whitehead remarks that, “In all philosophic theory there is an ultimate
which is actual in virtue of its accidents”

, this ultimate is creativity


Creativity is not a metaphysical agency that produces anything; rather, it is the character of every concrete fact, from the humblest flicker of existence
in non-divine actual entities to God.
Whitehead's pithy summary of process philosophy is,

“The many become one, and are increased by one”


So god came from creativity.
Very beautiful tribute to someone who apparently was a very beautiful person. We need more of this kind of Helen in our world. Thanks for this.
whitehead is fine and dandy
but i would rather have mind candy
first uh handy?

sorry . ay!
I imagine Helen would have loved that you choose that video to share ! She sounds like an amazing woman...
Once more you have me smiling and crying at the same time.
Such a lovely tribute. We are blessed with friendships like this one.
Sweet friend, still winking at you. Heidi is blessed with a good mother and a good friend too.
Sweet friend, still winking at you. Heidi is blessed with a good mother and a good friend too.
What a beautiful tribute...I am sorry for the passing of your dear friend and Heidibeth's mom. Life goes by so quickly; especially when seeing the photos above, it seems the years pass in the blink of an eye. Rest in peace, Helen.
Being close and knowing so well many of her struggles, I never thought of my mom as a positive person. Determined, creative, fun, fully dedicated to be-ing a Baha'i more than anyone I knew personally, yes, but not exactly positive. But practically the moment she passed it became as clear as day to me. Like I was too close to her brightness and it simply always was, a part of my life like breathing. I'm so glad I came across this again tonight. Thank you Sharon.