Back in the Moment

Anyone who follows this blog knows how sporadic/inconsistent I am about writing.

There are plenty of events to document, but as in everyone else’s situation, time becomes tighter and tighter as we plow through this adventure called life.

I flew into Raleigh-Durham via Dulles from Frankfort last Thursday, May 3rd.  My dear friend Colleen picked me up at the airport and drove me to my car that she had so generously let me leave at her home.

At this point in the day, my one and only desire was to get home to my children so I could hug and love on them as much as possible before they went to bed.  I must admit, I let them both stay up until 10:00 so I could relish in their sweetness and love.  We all piled into my bed and slept entangled in each other, all of us so glad we were finally together.

Friday morning came way too quickly, and once I got the children to school, I discovered a text from a dear friend and former co-worker at On the Square.

The text was not a good one, and before even thinking about getting over my jet lag, I was informed that my friend’s mother, Betty, was at home dying of cancer.

Many people in Tarboro know Betty NeSmith.  She has done more for our town in the past six years than anyone I know in terms of revitalizing downtown, creating webpages for small businesses and utilizing facebook to market every wonderful asset of our community.  A go-getter in every sense there is, Betty spent her time prospering local businesses and getting the word out about how Tarboro could grow and become even better than it already is.

She was Tarboro’s biggest cheerleader, and with her “Rah Rahs,” Betty brought residents all over our town reasons to convene and enjoy one another’s company.  She created Second Saturdays in Tarboro, long before the term Second Saturday was used, and she hosted Pot Luck suppers so more fellowship could be enjoyed.  And, of course, her famous Karaoke nights were truly one of my favorite events to attend, regardless of whether it was in the sweltering heat of July or the cold, dead of winter.  Betty never booed me off of the stage even though she probably wanted to at times.  Betty’s greatest gift was letting people be who they were without judging or criticizing.

To go over to Betty’s house and see her in bed spending her last days hurting was a  pain I never wanted to feel.  And, of course, a pain that so many others experienced as they went to tell Betty good-bye.

On Sunday morning, Mother’s Day of all days, Betty left our world to enjoy another one.  Her smile and her laugh and her prowess will be missed by too many to count, but her spirit will live on in the hearts of all those who knew her and of all those she helped.

Betty left our town having made it better than it has ever been, and I pray we will remember her life by continuing to do what she set out to do in the beginning:  support the people of Tarboro in every way so that we do not lose businesses, people and a sense of community.  She gave so much energy to helping others succeed.  She was an inspiration to so many.

This evening I visited her devoted husband Curt at their home.  He smiled as he told me about all of the visitors he had received in the past 36 hours from all those who had been blessed by Betty’s friendship.

I couldn’t help but grin.  I believe she is smiling above with great pride as she watches the residents of Tarboro come together in her memory to support her husband as he grieves.

My children have been asking why Betty had to leave us at such a young age.  Of course, I can give no explanation, but the truth is evident:  none of us who knew her were ready for her to go.

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  • daphne towell

    That was beautiful Inie…..thank you

  • Beautifully said, and oh, so true.

  • FM

    She was one of a kind – that is for certain! This town could use more people like Betty.

  • Shari

    Inie, so well written. Every time I walk pass main street cafe, I can envision Betty and Destin having breakfast together. It was so wonderful how they truly valued each other. Even if they had not been mother/daughter, they would have sought each other out. And the Karaoke Nights, I felt like I was in another world, thousands of miles from home with the neatest people that I had ever met! Then when I walked out the door, there I was on Pitt Street. I will miss passing Betty on the sidewalk but her legacy of Second Saturdays and Karaoke nights will live on.