One LEM’s Remembrance of Beatrice Paget

I met Bea in the fall of 1993 and rather than The Skilled Pastor, or annual autumn brush-up classes at Trinity, or any other resource material, it was she who most skillfully taught me through experience how to be a Lay Eucharistic Minister. All I had to do was follow her lead, because for the next 10 years I was her student and she, my teacher. On her chalkboard that day, right next to the front door with the special sliding wood panel to greet guests, were Bea’s instructions. “When I get to heaven, call Finlays.” Talk about an overwhelming statement of faith! Because I did not know yet of her home-care situation, a survey of the neighbors was important, and yes, indeed they were all looking in on Bea.

Bea radiated God’s love through his risen Son, Jesus Christ. If I had forgotten, her very essence reminded me that we human beings are all sacraments. What a gift! If you were fortunate enough to have your picture taken with Bea, the evidence throughout her dining room demonstrated that you were all the more photogenic being next to her, and that goes for Snowball, her horse, as well.

I realized just under three months ago that it would benefit me to be spending more time with Bea. With Becky, her caregiver’s blessing, we started a new home-communion service with new sacraments. As Mitch Albom had his Tuesdays with Morrie, I had my Thursdays with Bea. We talked about diverse subjects that enthused her, but even when Bea didn’t talk, she was instructing with her body language and connection to larger truths. We read from a number of books including The Prophet and Nobody has a Funny Name … twice. We sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and the implied accompaniment rivaled that of any heavenly choir.

On our last Thursday, May 30th, Bea’s opening remark in the midst of her own pneumonia was, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” That was the day I mentioned I loved her. To incorporate one of Larry’s favorite words, Bea was the quintessential authentic example of God’s abundant love in action and she still is.

Brad Mersereau

Beatrice and Brad

Beatrice Paget, 105 years Young at Heart.

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