It was with a sense of anguish that I entered the chapel yesterday…
Anguish because I didn’t know anyone except the lady we were there to say goodbye to and celebrate. The feeling is also awkward, especially when you dressed up and a group of bikers walks in in full regalia, yet I still feel good that I did. I feel the same about funerals that I do memorials, you should show some respect.
BJ or as she was formally known. Barbara June Casson (Burkhart) was my friend as well as my former employer, since she owned half of LifeQuest, the medical company she and her husband of 33 years, Laurie built together. I considered myself employed by them both, Laurie was who “recruited” me, but BJ “adopted” me into the family, just like she did everyone she became close to.
When I worked for LifeQuest, we had so much fun! Laurie and BJ made working with them easy and we were always cutting up, pranking on each other, eating good food, drinking good wine (at lunch of course), and I was welcome in their home whenever I wanted to visit. Before you judge, if the boss gives you wine at lunch and trusts you to properly do your job afterwards, who am I to refuse? I truly feel like BJ and Laurie loved me, he never wanted me to quit, or leave, but understood when life took me in different directions. Still, I worked for him off and on through the 30+ years I knew them.
I was dismayed that I didn’t see anyone else that worked with us over the years at BJ’s memorial. I saw her sons and their families and friends, and lots of folks walked up to the mic to share touching stories of how BJ affected their lives. She walked with God in every way. She gave what she had to whomever needed it, she helped the less fortunate, she and Laurie built LifeQuest to serve the community, teaching CPR, doing health fairs all over Texas, and befriending thousands of people in the process.
Laurie could be a bit of a pompous (English) ass sometimes, but BJ handled him with kindness and love, wit and humor, and you could see he loved her passionately until he passed away. Unfortunately, I heard about his passing after the fact and therefore, did not make his funeral. That really upset me, but what can you do? There are times I wish I could split myself in three pieces, so I could have been with them when I wasn’t in their times of need, as well as with my dad when he needs me, and here at home to get my own business done. But we can’t be everything to everybody, no matter how hard we try. I hope Johnny understands this, and that was another reason for my anguish. I really wanted to step up to the mic myself, to share how much I loved BJ for being the woman she was, making me feel like family, and including me in many family functions, but I didn’t feel right. I felt like an outsider among all these other people I didn’t know. I did know her sons a little bit, Rick, Johnny, and Scotty.
To know BJ was to love her and to be loved in return. She and Laurie collected artwork through the years, and I am lucky to have a few pieces they generously gave me, so now I have something else to remind me of them every time I look at it. I will miss my friend as I do her husband, but I know they are together in heaven, no longer in pain, no longer suffering, wrapped in the arms of the Lord. I can’t ask for anything more!