Monday, April 26, 2010

Dorothy "Beulah" Fluharty

When I was a week (and a half) my mom went back to work, but she entrusted me to Mrs. Dorothy "Beulah" Fluharty.  From that day through the end of the 3rd grade for 5 days a week she took care of me in her home.  All the other kids who came and went always called her Grandma Fluharty... to me, she was just mom.  She cared for and loved me, of this I am certain.  Today, I helped her family and friends lay her to rest.  She was 87 years old.  I hugged and cried and even laughed today with her "real" children, who were all older than me.  The youngest of them 9 years my senior.  I remember seeing Dennis and Connie still in the house when I was growing up, and how great they were.  Thinking back now, I think I really thought of them as my older siblings.  Their other sister Carolyn had already married but she was never far away either, and her children Kelly, Danny, and Chad were all my sisters and brothers too.  I think maybe that's why I've never really thought of myself as an only child.  After all, I had such a large family; at least they were family to me, blood or not. 

Of course, over the years we weren't always this close.  We all had lives of our own and we all lived them.  But from time-to-time our lives continued to cross.  I stopped in to visit a few times, and I think my real mom even sent her pictures of me every now and again.  When I got married it was by Beulah's husband Reverend Warren Fluharty.  It was wonderful having them both there. 

Connie (then a nurse at the hospital) checked in on my wife and I at the birth of our first child Whitney.  I introduced my daughter years later to Mrs. Fluharty, but she was still "mom" to me.  I attended a gathering to celebrate her retirement from childcare, and so many "kids" were there who had been raised and loved by her.  All of us were a testament to a life well lived, and full of love.  About 12 years ago, I was there to say goodbye to Warren when he passed away, and now today I did the same for her.  There is a deep ache tonight in my heart.  I remember her, I remember the family, I feel a sense of loss... But a full and beautiful life was celebrated today and I know she is in a better place and probably still watching over all of her children.  Rest in peace Dorothy "Beulah" Fluharty... I will miss you "mom."



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