Archive for the ‘Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)’ Category

Reflections on the Possessions of the Deceased   2 comments

I have helped to clean out two apartments of deceased people since the middle of August.

Last August, in Americus, Georgia, I did much of the cleaning out of the apartment of my maternal grandmother, Barbara Futch, who died at the age of 89 years.  My grandmother was aware that she was leaving much–especially clothing, as well as tubes and bottles of various creams and pills–for others to go through.  However, she lacked the energy level to dispose of more of it than she did.

I knew Bonny Thomas for over a decade.  I also understood that she had a mental illness.  Bonny, under the influence of that illness, became the fifth victim of a police-involved shooting in Athens-Clarke County, since March 2019.  I also knew a compassionate, vivacious woman who had a whimsical side and enjoyed watching films noir with me as we ate pizza and drank coke, and who liked to watch Columbo episodes with me as we at Hamburger Helper.  When she died, on October 14, one pillar of my world collapsed.

Yesterday, a few members (just enough to be about right–not too few, not too many) of my parish and I emptied Bonny’s apartment.  (Her family had taken the last of what they wanted a few days prior.)  Bonny had died, never to enter her apartment or mine again, but her possessions remained.  Most of them have gone to benefit a local charity that helps battered women.

Life is short and precious.  Much of it consists of that which is intangible, which is more important that the majority of that which is tangible.  Nevertheless, packing up and deciding what to do with the possessions of the deceased is an uncomfortable task.  It is also a tangible reminder of that person’s departure.  Completing that task can simultaneously be comforting and sad.  On one hand, the task is done; one can move on from no-longer unfinished business now.  Yet the emotions of loss can come to the fore.

I understand the Roman Catholic fixation on relics of saints.  After all, I keep relics of friends and relatives.  I have two chests and one tall bookcase full of photographs, school annuals, documents, books, et cetera.  That which is tangible, despite being less important than that which is intangible, has power.  The deceased have moved on, but an object one can hold has sentimental value.   Now my archives include relics of Bonny Thomas.  But if I could have her back, I would, of course.

One day (not any time soon, I hope; I love life) my turn to be the deceased will come.  Others will have the responsibility of disposing of my worldly possessions.  I am preparing for that day, with the intention that their task will require just a few hours–the more the helping hands, the fewer the hours.  I live comfortably in about 600 square feet.  My abode has relatively large empty areas in it.  Yet I review my possessions periodically and ask if I should donate to a thrift store or give to a person.  After all, they should be possessions; they should not possess me.  I do not want them to become a burden to anyone, including me.





Loss and Transition   5 comments

I have lost two family members recently.

Barbara Futch, my maternal grandmother, died of natural causes at the age of 89 years, in Albany, Georgia, on August 14.  Her death affected me, mostly after I completed the rush of physical activity during the week following her demise.

Bonny Thomas, my dear friend and upstairs neighbor, died violently just outside my front door on the morning of October 14.  She was 54 years old.  Bonny enriched my life by being part of it.  Her absence detracts from my quality of life.

Grief over two losses has merged into a complex of sadness and guilt with which God, work, church, and friends have helped me to cope.  These losses have reiterated what I knew already:  that life is brief and precious, that we ought to look out for and love one another, and that we should never take anyone for granted.  They have affirmed something else I knew already:  I am mortal.

I have no fear of being dead, but I am terrified of certain ways of dying.

Circumstances beyond my control are imposing drastic changes in my life.  2020, on the personal front, will be far different from 2019.  I have faith, pray for wisdom to make wise decisions, and hope for the best.  While I do so, I remember those I have loved and lost.  I also acknowledge that I may never get over their deaths, and probably never should.  I can and should, however, get on with life as I seek and, by grace, find the best way to make my contributions to society at any given time.



Posted November 12, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

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In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli….   4 comments

Photograph (dated October 27, 2019) by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



JANUARY 17, 1965-OCTOBER 14, 2019

Adieu, ma chérie.

Je t’aime.


Posted October 27, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

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Feeling Lost   4 comments

Seldom do I remember my dreams.

I did not sleep well last night.  In fact, I awoke too early.  My mind was busy, and I could not get back to sleep.  The details of the dream have begun to fade, but the scenario of being lost and not knowing where important items are has stayed with me.

That feeling describes me accurately.

Since Bonny’s death two days ago, I have been in a daze, with occasional moments of clarity.  In a moment I have made the transition from being articulate to being a sobbing mess many times.  I have, however, decided to force myself back into a routine today, for my own good.  I have always needed grace to do my job well, even on my best days.  (All of us always need grace and depend entirely on God.)  Today and the following days I need that grace more than ever.

I bid your prayers also for Bonny’s family and the repose of her soul.




Posted October 16, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

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Farewell   2 comments

I held onto you for your dear life as long as I could,

but you slipped away anyway. 

Vaya con Dios, Bonny. 

May you have the peace for which you longed

during your struggles.

Thank you for being part of my life for a decade.

You improved my life by merely being part of it.



Posted October 14, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

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