Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Memories of Bo

Oscar Fields, Jr.

November 27, 1956 - October 9, 2016

I've shared on Facebook that my cousin died on Sunday. His given name was Oscar and I guess some people did call him that, but to the family he was always Bimbo or Bo. I have so many wonderful memories of Bo! I was really impressed as a child that he could wiggle his ears! And I remember one summer he was on crutches, but boy was he fast! He was faster on his crutches than I was without them. Of course he was also almost three years older. (Or at least that's what I told myself, so I didn't feel quite so bad about him being faster than me.)

We spent ten years living in Michigan when I was a kid, but we went back to Kentucky every summer at least once. I loved staying with Aunt Lizzie and the cousins. Bo was closest to my age, and he put up with me and let me tag along on his adventures. He was the only one who could ever talk me into going out on the swinging bridge down by the country store. And stinker that he was, he'd wait until I was in the middle and then start jumping up and down and causing it to sway. You'd think I'd learn, wouldn't you? But he must have pulled that stunt half a dozen times. Bo loved to get into mischief but he had a heart of pure gold and didn't have a mean bone in his body.

When we moved back to Kentucky just as I was starting high school, Bo was a senior and being his cousin made the transition a whole lot easier than it would have been otherwise. He was always there if I needed advice or help.

He was that way with everyone. He was the very definition of loyal. Everyone who knew him loved him. He believed that you took care of your family, did your job well, helped your neighbor and got involved in your community. His loss is a loss not only for his family but for all of Leslie County, where he was born, raised and lived his life. 

I haven't gotten to see the cousins very often, as we're spread far and wide. Our last trip to Kentucky was in 2011. We stayed with Ruth, Bo's older sister, but while we were there Bo and Char invited us over for a wonderful meal. Bo was never a big talker, but his steady presence made you feel welcome and comfortable. It was obvious he was happy and content with his life. He and Char have been married since 1978. They raised two wonderful, accomplished children.
Brice (on the right in the picture above) will be getting married next April. Erin and her husband, Tommy, have been married almost three years and just had an adorable daughter in June. The following photo of Bo with his granddaughter absolutely melts my heart.
Bo was the baby of the family and I know this is really hard on my cousins, too. As they gather to mourn their loss, my thoughts and prayers are with them. I wish I could be there, too, as they share their memories and grieve together.
That isn't possible, so I was thinking through what I could do... And realized that, after living on three continents, and two distinct regions within the U.S., I no longer have a clue what's appropriate protocol in this situation. No surprise that there are different funeral traditions around the world. Having lived "away' for my entire adult life, I simply could not remember what protocol was for back home. I missed the funeral for Aunt Lizzie, who died while we were in Argentina. I think the last funeral I went to in Kentucky was for my mom, way back in 1988.

We'll figure it out, but my mind (like the little silver ball in a pin ball machine) started bouncing all over the place, thinking about all that's involved in the death of a loved one. There's a lot of paperwork, so the nearest and dearest has to deal with that on top of everything else. Even for the most organized person -- and Char is extremely organized -- it's going to be tough. My prayers will continue for Char, as she deals with the "business" of Bo's death even while she grieves. For Erin and Brice as they face a new reality of life without their father. For Grace, Ruth, James and Bobbie Jean as they mourn the loss of their baby brother. A lot of people will miss Bo tremendously, but these are the folks who will feel the loss most deeply.


The Bug said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's especially hard when the person seems too young to go.

Mari said...

I'm sorry for this loss. I'm glad you were able to spend time with him 5 years ago. I enjoyed your memories of him.

rita said...

Sorry you couldn't be there. This great tribute and wonderful memories will mean a lot to the family.