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barbtries a blog
Sunday, August 03, 2003
from an email to a friend
Bekah's 23rd birthday was July 6. on her birthday bekah gave us a very special present, a miracle as far as I am concerned. Here's what happened, but you need to know about bekah and turtles first.

[bek's best friend] was the butterfly; bekah was the turtle. this was something they shared from the days of notes passed to and fro in high school. when bekah died we buried her with one of her turtle collection pieces. john and i both have tattos memorializing bekah, with turtles. since her death i collect turtles as a means of working through my grief, to keep her memory near.

we even put a turtle on her headstone.

john and his family live in no. redondo near Vail and Robinson, a fairly dense suburban area, a good two hours away from any remaining habitat. they do have a huge backyard. on july 6, 2003, when denise and micah walked into the back yard they discovered a living, foot by foot desert tortoise had moved into the backyard.

john called me right away and his voice was full of awe. you know turtles don't just meander around the streets of LA. i have never in my life known of an instance where one just took up residence in people's yards. especially not on her birthday!

so. we spent hours at the cemetery, released a bouquet of 23 balloons into the sky, etc. afterward i wanted to take pictures of the turtle, but we couldn't find it. it appeared to be gone. i was disappointed but i comforted myself that anyway if it belonged to a neighbor, still it chose bekah's 23rd birthday to stray into john's yard, so i still took it as a sign from bekah.

the next morning at 7:30 or so denise called breathless saying, "i'm sorry to call you so early, but i didn't want you to miss it." rory and i drove right over. i laid down on the grass in the backyard and that turtle walked right up to me, and let me touch the top of its head and its legs when it came near. it has moved into the backyard and remains, a part of the family as far as we are concerned.

i don't know why the story hasn't been picked up by the daily breeze, LA times, CNN, etcetera. i sometimes think that people have as hard a time believing in miracles as i do believing in god. anyway here's a picture of the present bekah gave her family for her 23rd birthday:

the second anniversary of her death, July 19, i was traveling home after six days in taos, NM, where i attended a writers conference and visited my friend whose 17-year-old son was murdered on 07-20-00, one year minus one day before bekah. it was a good trip overall though the teacher of my work shop was not all that great and i was more committed to spending time with my friend than participating. :) at any rate i still plan to try and get my book published.

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