#30 .... BAZINGA! Belinda aka "Southside"

DEAR BELINDA..........

Its been exactly two years since you left "us" and I say "us" lightly because I didn't know you really in my everyday life.   I will always remember the day you left us, as it was just one day after my birthday.

I knew you best through my lens,  my camera lens, the lens that sees more than the common eye.  I knew you through your boyfriend, Les,  and your BFF ,  Mary Mary  (Amelia) .

Things always happen for a reason and I have trouble finding a reason that you left so early, but they say "only the good die young."

I was invited to your girls hot tub party and something came up and I couldn't go.  I was also invited to your last girls night out, but it was my birthday and I was celebrating at home and did not go.  I think it was meant to be that way.   I think it was meant that I not get "attached" to you as you would be leaving us so soon.

Mary told me that you wanted to go on the last cruise that I went on , but you didn't have the money to go at the time.  I wish you would have, you would have had a blast.... with me and my NOLA friends.   We would have made plenty of memories that is for sure.

But ...... God ..... had other plans and he spared me some of the grief that was evident among your family , friends and your children at your service.    While I was not as close to you as the others that were there,  I was there to say good-bye to the girl that my camera loved when the music started and the girl that sent me hilarious Facebook jokes and made great comments on my images on the pages.

I attended your memorial service but did not "view" your body as that was not my purpose.  I did not go "graveside" as that was also not my purpose.  My purpose was to be there for Mary, or Les, or anyone else that may need me, just in case.   No one needed me,  not really, so my BF took me on home while the precession of cars took that long ride to your final resting place.

Your presence in my life, even from afar made a difference.   You ,  in your absence ,  opened my eyes about a friendship that I "thought" I had , that I really did not.  Introducing you to a Powhatan "friend" I thought would be fun , turned out to be your last night out and an eye opener for me about trusting people I should not.... and then .... it also drew me closer to Mary.

Mary ,   who I had not seen since I was a teen, or maybe even a preteen , was connected to me from my past friends and their younger siblings.....  Facebook again...... and she was your BFF.   My own BFF passed away a few months before you Belinda..... and I knew the grief , loneliness and shock that Mary would be feeling for the times to come.   I know that I will never fill the void that Mary has from losing you.... her BFF but I hope that my presence in some way comforts her, knowing that we both lost the one we confided in the most......

I hope that as time passes,  I make more memories with Mary... as we go through this earthly life without our truest and best confidants .   I don't know much..... but I know  that I was supposed to capture your images.... that will live on forever... and remind us of your love for music and good times.   I think that anyone that sees your photographs can see that, can feel it..... I am sure

The last time I actually saw you was when I was photographing the Temptations... I got some awesome shots of you  ,  and of you and Mary..... I am so glad.    I am glad I got to meet you , if only for a moment..... that moment in time when you were dancing and smiling and enjoying the moment in the sun.......