Friday, May 16, 2014

For Bee

We used to tease Belinda and call her “all-about-me-Bee”, so she would have loved to see everyone here in her honour.

I met her at a nightclub we were working at when I was 18, and was slightly in awe of her, this enigmatic woman, with her dramatic eyeliner and vintage lace dresses. I was married to her sister and part of her family for so long that her family became my family. She was the catalyst for many gatherings, welcoming many people into her home for laughter and wine.

From Bee’s blog post about me:

“So, this has been going on for about 4 weeks now and to my great delight I discover that he’s like the brother I always wished I had. While I was growing up I yearned for a brother. Now in hindsight I am SO GLAD I didn’t have one. Sorry Scott no offence meant but you can be rather bitter and twisted at times.”

She was like a sister to me. A family member capable of making you feel loved even when insulting you.

My frank and hilarious friend. She’s one of those rare people who spoke EXACTLY what was on her mind. It did have its downside… Ill-fated Spur trips where some hapless waiter would be sent back to the kitchen a dozen times to cater to Princess Bee’s demands. She expected service people to serve. Durrr!

But she was also a dreamer… someone who dreamed of being an artist… wait… a writer… wait… a OOH LOOK, A BUTTERFLY! (I think she coined that phrase).

And she WAS an artist and a writer. She loved to sketch and took pains at expressing her feelings in her writing. If a writer is someone whose writing affects the lives of others, then Bee was definitely one. I have met some of our online friends who speak with adoration for Bee and how she impacted their lives with her loving irreverence.

Here’s one incident that a blogger friend never forgot, from Cath Jenkin in Durban:

Perhaps my best memory of Bee, was one night, at some godawful hour, when I was sitting outside with friends under the stars and she texted to say "the stars are beautiful, right?" 

And I said "how did you know?"

And she replied: "Same stars, idiot".

She always just knew.

A read through some of her blog posts reveals something of her heart: She was a professional wrestler, wrestling with herself. Extreme giddy happiness, dark moments of soul searching. Spiritual but seeking. Restless but hopeful that everything would turn out for the best. She didn’t throw in the towel when things got tough, she threw it down and sunbathed on it, because her aim in life was to be happy, dammit!

Then Princess Bee had to share her tiara with another. SUDDENLY, she became Queen Bee, and Rhiannon her princess daughter. She became All about Rhi-Bee. This wonderful tiny family was filled with magic. There were fairy wings, tiaras and unicorns, and Bee transformed into one of the most remarkable moms I have known, and I am so proud of the amazing girl Rhiannon has become. She was a beloved aunt to my kids who have said they'll never forget her awesome Sunday roasts and the way she put Christmas celebrations together.

It would be unfair to pin Bee to any one life stage. All of her experiences made her who she was and you all contributed to her in one way or another. She invited us into her crazy world and gave us reason to stick around.

Belinda, we’ll miss your Fleetwood Mac, you, doing the dance of joy, French toast on Sunday mornings, raised eyebrows and raised glasses, your cackling laughter and your tralalas.

We’ll miss them, but we won’t forget them.

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