Charles Keefer's Blog

In Memorium

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deb1I went to a wake on Tuesday. I had never been to a wake before. Funerals, yes. Wakes, no.

The lady who died designed it. She also wrote her own obit. “I’ll get in the last word,” she told her husband.

It was held on Pine Island, a tiny spit of land jutting into the Gulf of Mexico north of Spring Hill, where it allegedly resides, and west of Brooksville, all of which is a world away from Tampa, a mere 35 miles away.

There was new sand on the ground underneath the house, raised on pilings, because the place is maybe a hundred yards from the Gulf of Mexico and borders a marsh. She ordered it so the guests would have pleasant footing.

There was barbeque, ham, potato salad and slaw. She ordered it. Friends brought other dishes.

There was a full bar set up on folding tables with and aluminum rowboat full of beer, soft drinks and ice behind. Again her choice.

A three-foot long photo montage chronicled pleasant times in the last decade of her life and an offering was taken before it for the hospice in which she died. The money will go for a jacuzzi. She enjoyed baths, but the hospice doesn’t have a tub.

When she entered hospice, the doctors said she might have five days. Hers was an ovarian cancer that drugs could not cure. She lasted five weeks.

Her name was Deborah Walker Bellet. Her husband is Fred Bellet, a photographer for what was the Tampa Tribune, now, and a friend who ran the Florida Press Club for four years. I served on the board with him.

Fred read a speech he had prepared. For a bit, his father stood beside him. To his credit, Fred couldn’t get through it without tears. Neither could one of her sons, Christopher, a musician.

It is sad when you lose someone you love. It is worse when you lose a soulmate.

“She was everything I’m not,” Fred told TBO. “Everything I lack, she made up for. That made us the perfect couple.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Hernando-Pasco Hospice Care Center, 12107 Majestic Blvd., Hudson FL 34667.


Written by Charles Keefer

June 25, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Nice job, Chuck.


    June 26, 2009 at 8:17 am

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