Ode to B.W. and Her Doppelganger
B.W. is for Betty White. And if you don’t know who she is by
now. Well… go Google her name. An icon, to say the least. A couple years ago I
had a client, who could have been a doppelganger for B.W. She was funny. Looked
nearly identical to B.W. She was kind.
She loved animals. And I wondered what I would ever do, if she died. I said this
to a couple of people who had worked in my office. As well, to my husband. Yet,
he’d never met her. But he saw the gift from her I brought home, of an old
train set from her husband’s Christmas collection.
I truly feared this woman’s death and the impact on my
emotions it would have. Her end was a bit unlike B.W.’s passing. I watched this
woman deteriorate mentally. But she was still so cute. Just so cute, and funny.
I just adored her the world over. I treated her for nearly twenty years to just
about five weeks before her death.
This particular woman was absolutely amazing. She took care of
one of her children who had a disability. She took care of her past her
ninetieth birthday. She would surf the net for jokes to bring into my office,
to make me laugh. She knew I enjoyed telling funny jokes and stories to clients/people
in pain. It was and has been to not only cheer them up, but to help them
realize that life is not always about pain and being dismayed. It’s much more.
I shake my head when I write this. For I’ve known enough suffering to fill
multiple lifetimes. It is just that I’m deep, and she saw that. She read me
And she too passed just before the New Year. Only it was two
years ago. And a few days shy of 2020. And three months shy of her
ninety-seventh birthday. To my surprise I handled it well. I think it was
because, I felt she began to suffer. She, knowing she had dementia. It truly
bothered her. She forgot I had bunnies and a guinea pig. I would tell her
stories about them. She kept thinking I had a dog. I would laugh and correct
her. She loved dogs. Awkward? Yes, but correcting was fine.
I told her years before, when she felt she may not be able
to drive or walk her dog proficiently anymore. And certainly knew, she could no
longer cater to her disabled adult-child. I assured her that the adult-child
could now help herself. And that others she knew, would chip in as well. That
it was okay to let go of that responsibility. She began to say to me, “Jody, I
think I’m forgetting things.” I replied, “Maybe. But let me tell you something.
When we get older, like you. Remember most people don’t make it to ninety.”
I continued, “You have retained so much information. You’ve
got so many lessons you’ve taught your children and others. Did you ever think.
Maybe… Perhaps, your brain is on
overload. And it’s not like we can just empty out all the memories we have. They
are there. They are there for a reason. And by the way, it’s okay to forget.
Just let people help you. Because that’s okay too.
So now, here we are, B.W. has passed. And I’m pretty
bothered by it. Why? When I think
seventy-two years would be just dandy for me. But you see, B.W. influenced an
idea I had, and am nearly done writing the screenplay which I pictured her in.
Yep. B.W. I thought about you, obsessively. I know it sounds crazy. The day
before B.W. passed I had an epiphany. I was stuck in the middle of the final act,
of this feature film I’ve been working on for nearly two years. Then, hours
before B.W. passed, I had an ‘Ah Haaaa!’ moment. It was to twist the mind of
the audience. The fate of which we thought we saw the character in. Was not
what it was portrayed as. And that my friends, is the truth about living