Sometimes there are no words, just an awful silence that you know is going to last forever. Our friend Bev Buss passed away over the weekend. We don’t know the circumstances exactly, but we know she is gone and we’ll never hear that wonderful gut-busting laugh or see that mile-wide smile again. She was the person who first met Mia – Chuck came home from work to find her sitting on the porch holding a palm-sized puppy, a gift from a next door neighbor. So she was sort of like Mia’s first mommy.
She was almost as good at getting lost as me, a problem over which we often commiserated. When Chuck had neck surgery she came to see him at University Hospital and somehow ended up in the basement of County USC. When she finally found us and regaled us with the story of how she got there and got out, we were in absolute stitches.
She had a heart that was as big as the outdoors that she loved so much. She showed up when you needed someone to talk to, to laugh with, to cry with. When Chuck was getting chemotherapy and felt like shit, she showed up with a tiara that we made him wear while he was all doped up on Benadryl. And of course we took photos. At a time when nothing was funny, she again made us laugh.
She was an insanely good athlete, qualifying for, and running in, the Olympic marathon trials in Columbia, South Carolina in 2000. Once as a lark she went to root for a friend who was going to run a 50-mile race. The friend didn’t show, so Bev decided to run it for kicks – and won! She came down to do a sprint triathlon with us (one of my first) and won that too, which she only admitted she had done after she first congratulated the heck out of me just for finishing. She ran on the balls of her feet, almost like a dancer which seemed crazy, but it worked for her. She is #45 on the St. George Marathon list of legends – she ran it three times, with an average under 2 hours and 50 minutes (note for non-runners: that is CRAZY fast!).
She had demons that she couldn’t shake, and while she would spend so much time taking care of other people, making sure they were okay, she wouldn’t let us help HER. It broke our hearts to know that she was hurting but that we just couldn’t save her.
The world is a poorer place today. I am going to miss you, Bev. We both are. You were a great friend and a really, really good person. I wish you could have seen that about yourself more clearly. I wish you were still here.