This lovely lady, Bessie Stallworthy, is now 101 and is my mom’s best friend. I know she is celebrated daily by her community/tribe in the Beach, in Toronto, as those lives she has touched, never forget being touched by Bessie. She’s a giver. In every sense of the word, she gives and gives and gives and this is what fortifies her and blesses her with so much fairy dust, you seriously need sunglasses when you are close to her because the world becomes so intensely bright.
This image was taken last July (2015), at the bake shoppe, for her 100th birthday. I sent a limo to Toronto to collect Bessie, my mom and their two dear friends for lunch and cupcakes at the bake shoppe and Lettuce Love Cafe. They had the time of their life!
We’ve been exchanging emails over the past couple of years and I sent my mom and Bessie this link last week on, “What Really Makes Us Happy and the Longest Study on Happiness”, on the Collective Evolution website.
She responded with these words and I have simply copied and pasted her email below to share with all of you. If we could live today like Bessie, in this very moment, with gratitude, life suddenly becomes stress-free and full of everything we could ever wish for.
“Hi Kelly, I realized a long time ago how to be happy and healthy. Relationships are the key! I have been alone now for 28 years and it is family and KRU (Kingston Road United Church) that has made my life for me. I don’t wait for people to come to me. I reach out first most of the time. I meet new people every day and each time we meet, a bit of them rubs off on me and I on them. I also, I make a point of counting my blessings and make sure I don’t miss going to church, it reminds me of my promises. I sure appreciate your emails. You are such an amazing inventor. Your cupcakes look gorgeous.
Keep a balance on you life too dear. Much love to you. Bessie xoxoxo”
At 101, she lives on her own. She emails people daily from her ‘tablet’. She ‘Facetimes’ her family that are all over Canada. She preaches at Kingston Road United Church when the minister is away. She takes in homeless people, she takes in lonely people, she invites in people that just need a friend. Bessie NEVER locks her doors of her home, as her deeply engrained words she lives by are, “everyone is welcome”. She has written books. She helps young people that are alone and need a shoulder to lean on or a hug. Bessie invites in everyone and anyone that simply need a safe space full of love, and understanding and they find it in Bessie’s home. She calls her low moments, “Pity Parties“, and that we should not have too much time for them as they do nothing to really help us at all. Bessie works in pastoral care, at the church, and when members of the congregation have become too old and perhaps sick and unable to attend church anymore, Bessie goes to visit them and let them know they are not forgotten. Bessie has even recently attended a medical conference, a few months back, to speak to doctors as to why she has lived so long and why she is so happy. Trust me, she is impossible to keep up with.
With tears of joy and sheer, utter gratitude, I wrote this blog today just wanting to share the love I have inside of me because I have been fortunate enough to know Bessie. If you are ever get to meet her one day, I promise you that your life will be infused with gratitude forever. A shift will happen.
Life is a miracle for all of us and when we take in that moment of gratitude, you move to a mindful and joyful place in your heart that is so deeply entrenched within you, it can never be taken away.
With a wide open heart,
How lovely to read this remarkable story of Bessie. I enjoyed every word and felt like I was at the cupcake party pictured. I am an 80 year old blogger and Bessie is an inspiration for sure. Her life sounds like mine. My church is tops, pastoral care, people visiting, but…I draw the line at keeping my doors unlocked. Bessie is much braver than I. Thank you for this lovely article.