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On February 28, 2021 my father, brother, sisters, and I gathered at my parent’s log cabin home in Smithfield to write an obituary for my mother. As we shared memories and stories about mom’s life, we celebrated her accomplishments and each of us contributed to the following acount honoring her memory:
Obituary of Bonnie Sue Byer Sizemore January 15, 1954 - February 26, 2021
During the afternoon of February 26, 2021, Bonnie Sue Byer Sizemore passed away unexpectedly at her home in Smithfield, Virginia. Bonnie grew up in Covington along Virginia’s scenic Alleghany mountains. She graduated from Alleghany County High School in 1972 and married her high-school sweetheart, Samuel Gene Sizemore.
Bonnie and Sam enjoyed a loving, faithful marriage of nearly 50 years during which she gracefully overcame the challenges of being a firefighter’s wife, lovingly raised four children in the safety of a secluded log cabin, sacrificially cared for her aging parents, and devotedly served in various roles at local churches. Her favorite ministries were singing with the Liberty Baptist Church choir and leading the preteen Sunday School class at Great Spring Church of the Nazarene. Bonnie was known for her love of eagles, inspired by Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV): “but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Prior to focusing on homemaking, Bonnie worked as a clerical professional for Prudential. When her children grew older, she returned to work part-time with Smithfield Jewelers and UPS. Later in life, Bonnie found great joy in caring for her faithful furry companion, “Charlie Brown Booger Bear,” whom she adopted from the Suffolk Humane Society.
Bonnie was 67 years of age and is survived by her husband and children and their spouses: Kevan and Kimberly Sizemore, Kristopher and Kristen Sizemore, Amy and Ches Weeks, and Andrea and Micah Hunt. “Nannie and Pop-Pop” are proud to be blessed with ten grandchildren: Brayden, Camryn, Mikayla, Chessa, Fiona, George, Henry, Krista, Theo, and one more expected to arrive in August of this year.
Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents Rodney Earl Byer and Lee Ella Ellinger Byer, and her brother, David Harmon Byer. Bonnie is also survived by her sister-in-law, Dreama Byer, and her niece, Lewanda “Sissy” Spencer. Dreama and Bonnie shared a special relationship; Dreama was a nurturing, maternal influence throughout her life. Bonnie also enjoyed a relationship with “Sissy” closer than a friendship; they were sisters in spirit.
Bonnie’s family will celebrate her life at a private service in Covington. The family welcomes cards, letters, or phone calls; instead of sending flowers, please consider donating in Bonnie’s memory to either of the following:
Liberty Baptist Church Choir 1021 Big Bethel Rd. Hampton, VA 23666 (757) 826-2110 https://libertylive.church
Suffolk Humane Society 412 Kings Fork Rd. Suffolk, VA 23434 (757) 538-3030 https://www.suffolkhumanesociety.com
Online condolences may be registered at: https://www.littlesfuneralhome.com/obituary/bonnie-sizemore
Once the shock of mom’s passing subsided, I found myself contending with a level of grief I’ve not experienced before. Having witnessed friends and other family members go through losing a parent, I knew it would be different. Even so, it hit me harder than I expected; it’s one thing to know about grief and something else to experience it first-hand. I’ve reflected on my experiences with grief and tried to capture some insights along the way:
- Grief is another form of love.
- Grief is the outcry of love separated from its affections and passions; it laments both what was lost and what will never be in this lifetime.
- Grief can be a beautiful expression of enduring love. Just as poetry, music, and art can reveal the beauty in depictions of sadness, loss, or tragedy, grief reveals the depth and breadth of love.
- Grief is a natural consequence of love in this lifetime. To aspire for a life without grief is to aspire for a life devoid of love. Therefore, love and grieve with affection and passion; it’s what hearts were made for.
I hope you find something helpful or something that resonates with you in what I’ve shared.
I’m beyond grateful for the kind and thoughtful cards, letters, and gifts so many people have offered my family and me during this difficult time. You have shown us a constant stream of encouragement, love, prayers, and support. To each one of you, thank you so very much.