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I did not know Bea, but after meeting her beautiful, intelligent and gracious daughter, Leslie, I am sure that it was because of Bea's influence that Leslie is an amazing woman.
I'm sure that Bea will continue to live on through her beautiful words.
Set the Table, a poem by Melinda Pearce for Bea, read at her Memorial:
A dozen eggs in the coconut cake
The delicious smell of chicken enchiladas
Passion and excitement in every thing you make
Hey clever lady
So observant, bringing the symphony to us
Do you hear it?
The beautiful tanned blond said
You must stop and listen to their music
She is gifted, a unique kind
For the music is the harmony of the katydids
Adding the cream to the spinach
Just a pinch of nutmeg
Did you hear that splash?
See the beautiful fin
How many Royal Doulton place settings did you say?
Twelve, thirteen, or fourteen
Let's add another table
Red roses from the garden, aye?
Strong in your spirit, but tender in your heart
Serving a French Beaujolais
Artistic paintings up the stairwells
Clever, creative and remarkably smart
Mixing avocados in the California spa salad
Filling the cream tangerine tart
The lovely mermaid Bea is gracing the sea
She is wearing a grass skirt and belly dancing with glee
Chilling the ice wine
And all is fine.
A statement by E. John Smart about Bea, read at her Memorial:
There were so many sides to Bea.
She celebrated both our individuality and our commonality.
She taught us all, always, about unconditional love.
Hope, Joy, Love, Goodness, Beauty, Truth. These were her watchwords and aspirations.
She believed that happiness is a choice, not a consequence.
That we can find not only redemption, but universal progress.
That she was her pattern, not her matter.
Her pattern lives on in all of us.
We celebrate her by emulating her virtues, as best we can.
I took care of you in the ICU and transferred you to a regular nursing unit. When I last saw you, you were talking on the phone, smiling and laughing. I didn't even have a full 12 hour shift with you and I still think about you. You read me some poems and were supposed to email them to me when you were discharged from the hospital. I waited and waited for an email that would never come. I found out that you had passed away (several months later) and I want you to know that you are one of the patients I have never forgotten and will never forget. You told me about your family, your battle with cancer. It was an honor to meet you. I only knew you for several hours and you touched my life. I am very happy to find this site and your poems, but I am very sad that you passed away. I know you are in a better place where cancer cannot cause you pain.
Cousin Bea, I can't believe you will have been gone 1 year May 3rd. I miss talking with you, especially last week on my birthday. So I am sending you this message just in case God gave you your own computer. I put the birthday card you sent last year out with all the ones I got this year. In hindsight you sent it 11 days before you died, I was so blessed you found the strength. Saturday we rode Ed's new Harley to Leesburg. I felt so free. Is that the way you felt when you drove your MG with the top down to our cottage? You must have thought it was a mini truck, water skiis hanging out the passenger side and plenty of snacks for the trip. I'm not sure why Ed took the Courtney Cambell Bridge last Saturday since it was out of his way but I felt your presence so strong that I couldn't get you out of my mind. Were you on that bike with us, sure felt like it. I smiled when we went by the Shriner's Headquarters where Auntie Bea and Uncle Claire spent many wonderful times. And there on the left Rocky Point. Remember when we went water skiing there and you neglected to tell your Canadian cousin that barnacles are very sharp so don't get near the pilings. Lucky I heal fast! And the time when John Eric was a baby and you asked my Dad, Uncle Ron, if you and your precious baby could catch a ride in the back seat to Florida. It was his pleasure to have you go with us. I think of you everytime I go shopping and pull out my Trader Joe's bags. The care packages you would send of trail mix and cashews meant so much. Bea, I miss you so much and I just wanted you to know. So cousin, until we meet again, I love you. Sue Deitz
Wow....thanks for making this available to all cancer survivors.....Cindy
A brilliant star crossed the heavens in early May 2009
Now shining light on us from afar
Bea will be ever present in the hearts and minds of family she was so devoted to
Friends and acquaintances whose lives she touched so tenderly
She had so many amazing gifts
Compassion... brilliance... courage... creativity ... beauty and more...
A special gift to others was seeing their potential and best qualities
And in so doing creating the inspiration for them to be more evolved, loving, and kind
Her joyfulness, generous nature, and ways she touched our lives will be missed
Forever in my heart I will hold the memories of our laughter, tears, hopes, and dreams...
I still miss you and think about you all of the time. Whenever I get down on myself or am feeling troubled I just squinch my nose, grab the air with my fists and squeal. I find a juicy part of life to be excited about just like what I know you would have done. Then nothing else matters. But it's a lot cuter to watch you do it.
I am so sorry. My life has been enriched by your Mothers presence in my life.
Thanks for this site-
I've really been poring over these poems by Bea Smart. Beautiful stuff.
A guy I know, JimBob Pellitteri, told me about Bea and about these poems. I lost a little brother to cancer (he was age 6, I was 7) and the thought of having these poems of Bea's life and struggles with cancer out in the world to be shared --and JimBob's interest and stand for Bea to get them out before her death-- was very moving to me.
Honestly, I would like to compose music to some of these poems and would like to get permission to do so, to perform and even record them.
If someone checks on this site regularly, please get in touch with me as soon as possible at my email address or at (310) 621-9803.
Thanks and Thanks again,
I got to learn about Bea from my friends, Jennifer and Jimbob. She taught me a lot even though I never met her! I'm honored.
Our deepest sympathy to the family and indeed the friends of Bea. We sometimes feel that the loss of a loved one is all too much for us, but God knows what He is doing and will not put more on us than we can handle. We shouldn't cry or feel sad when God calls his children home but rejoice because we know that we will meet them again in a place where pain is not known and sorrows are far away. Bea's passing is a reminder to us of the fragility of life and how we must show our love for people while they can appreciate it. Dry your tears and clear your heart of sorrow, for dark is the night but joy comes in the morning.
God looked around and saw the beauty of heaven and wanted to put that beauty into a form that mankind could relate to. So he called the a scientist but his words were too calculating. He called on a chef but his ingredients didn't quite have the right flavor. God even called a preacher but his testimony was too judgmental. So finally God called a poet, He called Bea and with her words she captured heavens beauty so well that God said " I think I'll hold on to you." You see God Doesn't settle, He only picks the best for the job. Bea was the best. Now she's writing the poetry of the heavens.
R.I.P Bea. We loved you but God loves you best.
I have been very lucky to have you as my landlady for the last 18 years. From our very first meeting you left an impression of a classy and wise Lady.
I'm not a devoted swimmer, but many New Year's Days I went to Cabrillo Beach to admire you jumping into the cold water. What a wonderful Lady!
My deepest sympathy to all Bea's family.
One of my fondest memories was visting cousin Bea and her family in California in 1973. Myself and 2 other friends were still in University and we drove to California in an old beat up ford. Bea made us feel really welcomed and showed us a great time. Bea accomplished many admirable things in her life. She was very creative and had lots of great ideas. She did a great job of helping Aunt Bea. She will be turly missed.
Just to let you know that i feel your sorrow..it's not easy loosing someone you love to that monster called CANCER..Since i lost my sister to cancer.,she had breat cancer then bone cancer and died 2 years after being told she had that monster..she was a true fighter since she fought till the end..she lost her batter in july 08 /2008 at the age of 48...then to make matters worse that monster(cancer) came and got my dad on september 19/2008 he had cancer of the stomach and also I myself had to battle with this monster twice,first time in march 1998 then was back in december 2007..so far i'm doing well but still wonder if i will have to face that monster again sure hope not i had enought of dealing with him..So i know how you are feeling and i'm soooo sorry about your lost..now your mom is not suffuring no more and is swimming at her favorite place..
your friend Nicole Jansson..
You have been an inspiration to me like no other patient. In my 28 years practicing medicine I don't believe I've met anyone as brave and determined as you. You have the fight in you like a heavyweight champ and more. You have endured so much. Breast cancer 3 times, melanoma and then the fibrosarcoma in the spine.
And you have handled it all with your usual class and grace. You chose not to feel sorry for yourself but to use your amazing mind to have a relationship with your cancer that is a template for how it should be done. And the book Sometimes You Dance the Monster will help so many other who do not have the creativity and intellect to understand how to deal with cancer like you.
I met your MRI of the pelvis before I met you. I diagnosed the chronic insufficiency fractures in your pelvis and called your doctor and suggested we do a sacroplasty and fix those fractures with bone cement. This had never been done before at Torrance Medical Center. The doctor didn't even know what the procedure but she did a little research on the internet and called me and said that sounds like a great idea.
We met and discussed it and you said let's go for it. Fortunately the procedure was a success and for the first time in a year, you could walk without pain and without feeling and hearing the bones moving and crunching in your pelvis.
You were so grateful and you gave me a very special gift to show your appreciation and I explained to you that your recovery was all the gift I needed, I told you that I was grateful to have the honor a taking care of a patient like you.
And it is so ironic that your breast cancer treatment was ultimately worse than the disease itself.
The broken bones in the pelvis resulted from damage caused by the radiation therapy for breast cancer. And the fibrosarcoma in the spine was induced by the radiation therapy.
But you were a survivor not a victim and managed, regardless of your illness to focus outward and not inward. You beamed with love and pride when you spoke to me about your children and your grandchildren. They were all so lucky to have you in their lives for as long as they did. They will all be better people as arel just about everyone who ever knew you.
We kept in touch by email and phone conversation over the years and when you developed that new spine lesion on the PET scan you called me to try to help you. We injected cement into that fracture too but more importantly I did a biopsy and found that it wasn't recurrent breast cancer like the doctors thought but was fibrosarcoma.
You oncologist wrote you off. You have a few months left, no treatment available.
But I referred you to the sarcoma group at UCLA and your tumor surprisingly responded to chemotherapy. So much for that oncologist. Like you said, he sucker punched you but you got up and kept on going.
And then you told the spine surgeons to cut out the remaining tumor. An ambitious operation would be the understatement of the century. You would have several vertebrae removed and the involved soft tissue next to the spine too. This would all have to come out as one piece, so called en bloc resection, to have any hope of a cure. And it was a risky operation, you could be paralyzed if it didn't go just right.
And I'll never forget what you told the doctors, you said you didn't care if the operation resulted in you being just a talking head, you wanted to live. You wanted to be there for your family, for those beautiful grandchildren. And indeed you convinced them to do the operation.
A person half your age would have trouble surviving such an operation but you were no ordinary patient. And those doctors at UCLA probably had never laid eyes on someone so brave, resolute and strong as you.
And the recovery was very tough and painful, but you used mind over matter or should I say more accurately mind over pain. No complaint from you when we spoke, you described the pain and I suggested you try pain medication but you weren't about to have your mind fogged by medication. It wasn't the right time for that.
You wanted to swim in the ocean; one of the loves of your life. You had a beautiful view of your Pacific Ocean from your home but a much better view during your regular ocean swims, not to mention you and your fellow polar bear club members swimming in very, very cold ocean water every New Year's Day. I'm sure it was cold but you could control that with your mind, for most of us we would have hyperthermia. Mind over matter, a recurrent theme.
And I loved the ocean too. We spoke so many times of the sea, your visits to Hawaii and my surfing as a high-schooler in the 60's and a sailor since college days at UCLA.
You know some people think that there is not much difference between a Canadian and an American. They couldn't be more wrong. I married a Canadian as you know and we chatted often about the differences. And in most cases, you Canadians have us in the States beat hands down. And by that I mean you are so much more down to earth. Not impressed by materialism. Relationships with people meant more than relationships with objects.
OK you loved to drive a nice care like a shinny Jaguar, but that wasn't to impress others, you just like a nice car.
And after the big surgery, when we had hoped you were cured, you developed a recurrence in the spine and it spread up and down your spinal cord and nerves inside the spinal canal. It is called meningeal carcinomatosis for the record.
And you knew there was the Gamma Knife and intrathecal chemotherapy and without these you would soon be paralyzed from the chest down. But you knew when to say enough is enough. You could have endured these treatments and been given more time but you told me it was time to show your children how to die with dignity. And that you did. You accepted hospice and morphine for the pain. And you opened your home, literally unlocked the front door and asked anyone and everyone to visit and celebrate your life with you. You weren't frightened, whimpering with self pity. You somehow, someway embraced the opportunity and made the best of it.
The last time we spoke, was on the phone just before the party on Saturday. I couldn't attend because of my trip out of town. I'm so glad to have visited you in your home just prior and we talked for a long time and I had the pleasure of meeting your three lovely and very special children. All of them have parts of you in them. One is a thinker just like you, one loves the outdoors just like you and one is artistic just like you.
We'll we spoke on the phone for that last time and we had a very upbeat talk. However I did finally say, we are really going to miss each other and you agreed. And I already do. But just like I told your children, I'm very fortunate to have known you as long as I did. You made an indelible impression on me that will be with me for the rest of my days. And you have helped me be a better doctor for all of my patients because I saw how one could prevail over adverse circumstances if you put your mind to it in just the right way. You can say it was just common sense, but to me common sense is a genius in overalls. That was you, everything except the overalls.
I believe we loved each other in a very special way. Not romantically but much more fundamentally. We developed a deep respect, trust and regard for one another over the years, like great friends. We accepted each other unconditionally and wanted the best for the other.
I know you are a woman of faith and if there is a heaven, I'm sure that is where you are and showing the rest of them by example how to do it with class and dignity.
I miss you but I'm relieved you are finally at peace and in a better place.
My best regards,
Joel Garris MD
Our sincere condolence's on the death of your mother! What a gifted person she was! We are all blessed to have known her. Bea's creativity, her artistic ability's, writing's, the gift of hospitality, and her incredible ability to present and prepare the most wonderful dinners! These have been passed on to us through the gift of the most caring, loving, generous, compassionate, talented, Godly women, our daughter-in-law, Leslie! Leslie would not be who she is without the nurturing care of Bea! She will be a constant reminder of who "Bea" was. You are so blessed to have had her for a mother, and we to have known her! May you find comfort in knowing that Bea is "pain free" with her Heavenly Farther! Blessings to all the family of Bea Smart. John and Bev Friesen
Aunt Bea. It seems after reading these incredibly heartfelt messages, Bea was everyone's Aunt Bea (in one sense or another). Mother, grandmother, aunt, friend etc. Bea was a woman who had so much love, wisdom and whimsical thoughts to share. Bea became my "Aunt Bea" when I was lucky enough to spend a summer with the Smart family - the Buttner's and Smart's were very good friends, and knew I was in excellent hands. I will never forget learning about: scorpions in your bed, tarantulas, oscar fish feedings and hunting rattlesnakes with bows and arrows right across from the house - which of course, she made some sort of soup from! This all happened when I was nine - needless to say, I am much older now and that woman has always kept in touch; with love, inspiration and a smile to life. E.John, Paul and Leslie - I am so glad I was able to share such an incredible woman with you!
xo Lara B
My beautiful Bea,
Little did i know that walking into your lovely home 35 years ago would have such an inspiring effect on my life and those around me.Leslie befriended me in elementary school, and there God's loving work had begun.Coming from a troubled home myself,there was this magical magnetic connection to Bea. The love that poured out of Bea as if i were one of her own children was greatly absorbed filling my heart. I watched her every move in amazement,I listened to every beautiful positive word she spoke from her heart.She had the utmost respect for anyone who crossed her path. Every word Bea spoke had great meaning and inspired me to be a better person.I was so young but knew then there is something so special with this lovely lady.I had this dream of being just like Bea when i grew up.I knew i could be the best i wanted to be.Bea u taught me selfconfidence,inspired me to be a good soul, patience,kindness,understanding,forgiveness.To this day i still cook and bake your wonderful treasures you taught me,along with my children.Thank you for teaching me about God and bringing me to church,thank you for accepting me and loving me as i am.When i told you i was going to have a baby at a young age,not only did u support my decisions, you blessed me and told me i would make a wonderful Mother....Your support and love you showed me by giving me a bridal shower and partaking on my wedding day has meant so much to me everyday of my life.I knew everything you gave me and showed me is what every child needs and wants and can make a differance.Bea you are the differance in my life forever.I used to think how lucky E.John,Paul,and Leslie were to have such a beautiful role model..I too am the lucky one..I had a great opportunity of sharing all this with Bea last year.We cried,she told me she knew I needed all of that.I am the person I am today ..Thank you Bea I will always love u..And for u my friend Leslie,thank you for sharing your mom with me all those years and thank you for being Candices Godmother..I miss u so much always You are a beautiful minnie Bea.I am very saddened for your lose,E.John,Paul,and Leslie you are in my prayers.Love JoAnn
Missing you always, dear cousin.