Over the last few days, I have tried my absolute best to get my arms around my sadness over the death of friend and despite my best efforts, I am still struggling with that today. I have experienced the passing of loved ones before, so I struggle with why I have been so profoundly impacted by the loss of Beth Bryan.
After much reflection, I believe I am starting to understand…
Beth was an extraordinary woman. She was everyone’s friend. She was the neighborhood mom that every kid felt comfortable with, looked up to, and loved. She was a loving wife to her husband Mike, and a dedicated, passionate mother to her own children. She was a devoted daughter and sister. Beth was a woman of faith, a teacher, a Scout Leader, a Swim Coach – and the list goes on.
Beth had a way with making anyone feel comfortable no matter what the circumstances. She was warm and welcoming. As a matter of fact, she had a signature smile that attracted return smiles like bees are attracted to honey. Even if you did not see Beth on a daily basis, you would see her walking her dog or at the pool, and the first thing out of her mouth was always, “Hey Darlin’, how are you?”
Beth was that rare individual that you come across on this all too often short life journey and you instantly want to be friends with. Beth touched more people than I think she perhaps even realized, from neighborhood friends who first met nearly 20 years ago putting their eldest children on the bus for the first day of school, to the countless families and friends she touched in her capacity as a swim coach in Northern Virginia.
This was no ordinary life. This was indeed an extraordinary person. That realization and the impact she had not only on me, but on all those around me, is perhaps the reason why her death has been so difficult to process.
Today Beth is embraced in the arms of angels and those of us left behind will never forget the impact she had on us. The community of friends that remain on the journey are better off for having known Beth and we will all need one another as we continue to grieve and attempt to adjust to the daily routines in our lives.
I am reminded of a song by the Eagles and the refrain truly summed up my feelings… “There’s a hole in the world tonight, There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow, There’s a hole in the world tonight.” Beth’s passing leaves a profound hole in all of our worlds.
Until we meet again friend, know that you are loved and missed dearly.