By: Ruth Deming
O, Beatricee! The day has finally arrived. We knew it was coming, your battle with multiple myeloma.
At first, at our weekly meetings of “The Beehive,” named for you and your nearly inexhaustible knowledge of pollinators – wasps, solitary bees, honeybees, Venus fly-traps (gotcha!) – when we met at your Twin Brooks condo – you were so weak you could hardly move.
What is that all about, I thought. And tried unsuccessfully to imagine.
You’d send the group – the names are changed – Marilyn, bushy-bearded Kaleb – Alex – Larry – Linda – and myself, Ruth – into the kitchen to use the microwave to make whatever drink we wanted. Your son, Paul – was usually upstairs with his purring cat Simba – always there to protect his mom.
In your roomy condo, there was a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table. Whoever could, laid a piece where it belonged.
And blankets a plenty you had. Since I’m often cold, I would choose a colorful blanket like they have in South America and wrap it around me.
What an artist you were! Paintings dotted the walls, the stairwell, and, if I remember correctly, even the restrooms.
Until it was time to go to hospice.
Once, Linda and I visited you there. Linda, a great baker, had brought you some sweet treats. How you appreciated that and told us where to wash our hands.
The facility – how we hate that word – was called Sunrise, a huge conglomerate. And there you lay, waiting, just waiting, for Mr. Death to swath you in his invisible arms and make of you nothing, nothing we could see here on Planet Earth.
Emails arrived of your departure.
“Briar Bush Nature Center” in the midst of a once forest primeval, but we have kept it, yes, by Jove, we have, a haven for the ancient tortoise, lovely striped skunk, aquarium with darting fish – “Do not feed or pound on glass!” – and, yes, as kids, we had an aquarium, too, and the black mollies would eat their babies, like the god Saturn ate his so they would not usurp his throne.
Beatriz knows all this. Born in Argentina, she was not just a specialist in biology, but counseled many of us in “The Beehive.” One gentleman was flabbergasted when she told him the hummingbird flew south to Mexico to migrate.
Did your family migrate too? Fly to Barbados, Miami, Barcelona or the island of Capri in Scotland to escape the snow and ice and that terrible feeling of chill under your covers at night?
The only thing that made me cry at Briar Bush Nature Center, surrounded by her magnificent paintings to be given away, was that Beatriz wasn’t there. Beatriz Moisset – who signed her paintings, B. Moisset – has fled from our lives, a honeybee setting out for her hive.