Bella Packett died April 1, 2013.
Bella lived the first 10 years of her life in Warsaw.
There she stayed with Bernard Packett. The two of them were very close. Bella considered the front passenger seat to be her own on any vehicle trip.
She was welcomed into all the local businesses except the grocery store. Here the law prevailed and she waited outside until Bernard completed his purchases. She was his close companion until he died on Feb 28, 2007. Bella was the last Packett to see him alive; having kissed his hand as the gurney took him out the door.
After his death, she accepted the invitation of Bernard’s son, Jim, to come live near Chicago with his family. There she lived with Jim, Leah, Jess, and Jim Jr.
She served as the family arbiter with distinction. In her role, she took the time to know each of the family members deeply. She had an excellent code of ethics, and a solid moral base which she used in her rulings. One quickly realized he had been too loud, too rough, or was otherwise inappropriate. During any member’s feelings of sadness or loneliness, she jumped in as a family counselor. No member of the family ever felt unloved during her stay. If a family member needed to discuss issues, she was a careful listener, acknowledging important points with a grunt, a growl, a moan, or a simple head shake. She kept a code of silence on those talks which she carried to the grave.
Visitors were always interrogated for intention. If they were determined to be invited guests, she treated them with respect and welcome. She could play gently with small children, and roughly with older chaps as needed. Visitors coming a second time seldom talked to anyone before greeting Bella; who had become their friend.
Bella took Jim for daily walks in the woods. She had a wonderful knack for turning a simple day into one full of adventures. She and Jim often stayed in the woods together for hours, sharing water and food, and a common love for the outdoors. Bella shared her knowledge of the forest on every occasion. She would simply stop, and wait, and stare at what needed to be seen; until her companions saw it also. It may have been a deer in the distance, or a coyote, or even a crayfish digging it’s way out of the mud. She was an all weather dog who was comfortable in deep snow, walking on ice, swimming a creek, or slogging through a muddy swamp.
Bella took many trips with the family. She was always ready to go; whether it was a journey to the store late at night, or a trip back to Virginia at 5 a.m. She needed no prior warning; a simple invite into the van was all she ever required. Bella showed great appreciation for beauty. She would sit and stare at overlooks, bathe in pools at the bottom of canyons, and lie in the comfort of tall grass. Of her companions on a journey, it was she who would be first to realize the day was special.
No one dies until the last person forgets….she will live in the hearts of those who knew her.
Pictures of Bella can be seen at http://bit.ly/10M3RiY