Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Filtering Through Bonnie's Life

The following was written by my mother sometime in the recent past. I'm not certain when, but I suspect it may have been written post retirement.

Yesterday, my sister discovered this piece in one of Mom's numerous notebooks. My sister read this at Mom's private funeral service this past evening.

"Old age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be.

Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body; the wrinkles, baggy eyes and sagging butt.

I am often taken aback by that old person that lives in that mirror, but I don't agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avant garde on my patio. I am entitled to over eat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4:00 AM and sleep until Noon?

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and I will dive into waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old. I know I am sometimes forgetful, but then again, some of life is just well forgotten, and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even a beloved pet gets hit by a car?

But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed and so many died before their hair could turn silver. I can say 'no' and mean it. I can say 'yes' and mean it.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I have even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become.

I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be, but will rejoice in what was."

Bonnie Combs

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mom's obituary

Bonita Kay Combs, age 65, passed away Saturday, April 7, in Peru, IN.
Born in Peru, July 1941, Bonnie always found beauty in the ordinary, and, most importantly, found humor in adversity. A recent retiree from Square D, she became a successful freelance photographer and authored a history of Peru weblog, Peru Then and Now.
She was a member of Sigma Phi Gamma sorority, The Artist's Connection, Miami County Historical Museum volunteer and 50 year member of the First Presbyterian Church. A PHS class of '59 graduate, Bonnie volunteered for the Cole Porter home restoration; and was an avid gardener and fisherman.
She is survived by her children Marci Richter and husband Edi, Malissa Strasser and husband Shaun, Randy Combs and wife Michelle, mother Juanita Geberin, and siblings Terry Geberin and wife Susie and Elizabeth Edwards and husband Art. A devoted, involved grandmother, Bonnie will be missed by her 11 grandchildren, Jordan, Amber, April, Ben Michael, Bradley, Matthew, Jeremiah, Corinne, Haley, Zach, Joey plus her three great grandchildren, Brooklyn, Raven, and Emma. She was preceded in death by father Robert Geberin.
A viewing will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2-8 p.m at Flowers Leedy Funeral Home, 105 W. 3rd St. in Peru. The funeral will be held Wednesday, April 11, 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 102 W. Main St, in Peru. Memorial contributions can be made in Bonnie's name to the Wabash Miami County Hospice or the First Presbyterian Church in Peru.

Peru Then and Now Update

Thank you to everyone who has visited Peru Then and Now over the past year.

My mother, the blog's author, recently passed away after battling a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor since January. She'll be sorely missed.

As I know many readers are friends and former classmates; I'm encouraging you to leave condolences in the comment sections of the blog. I'll be managing Peru Then and Now for the near future.

Please know that comments are moderated. This means I'll be notified via e-mail when you post a comment. What this means is that your comment won't be seen immediately. I'm doing this to prevent spammers from filling up the comment section. Feel free to ask questions and share stories.

Most of all, thank you to everyone who helped provide care and give love to my mother. Over the next few days, I'll publicly acknowledge many of you. You've touched our lives over the past three months and we'll never be able to thank you enough.