in memoriam

We lost one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing this weekend. It doesn’t feel right to post a recipe and try to half-heartedly tie it in with a tragedy, so I won’t. But I’m at a loss for what to do or how to help, and all I can do is use this as an outlet to share some photos and talk a bit about what a wonderful person Beth Behr was.

I’ve known Beth all of my adult life. Kramer and I have been together for over 10 years, and I probably met her within a few months of first dating him. Beth was so excited when Kramer’s sister, Rachel, moved to New York for college, and just as excited when we finally made it out here around a year later. She was there if we needed her, especially for Rachel, and I think all of us would agree that we looked at her as our second mom. One of the first things I remember her saying to us is “don’t lie”. She wanted us to be honest and she didn’t want us to make up excuses for anything, be it coming out to visit or not liking a present. Of course, we’re family, so there were always little white lies to protect feelings or what have you, and Beth would immediately see through our bullshit and call us out on it via a slap on the shoulder or just loudly proclaiming that we were lying. It was great. Sometimes I’d even just stretch the truth to see how long I could keep her going, but she always found me out eventually. Beth’s insistence upon honestly and not lying just because it was easier than telling the truth is something that I’ll always remember and try to continue doing. I think she’d probably say that my stating the importance of this piece of advice that she had offered was just me trying to get on her good side, and I can feel her hand grabbing my arm and squeezing it all while her telling me to knock it off, but I promise, Beth, that it’s true.

An oldie but a goodie.

Beth always took her own advice. She never seemed to need to lie, though, because she lived as she was. She was loud, chatty, funny and quick to tell it like it was. One time, during a family vacation, she walked into the living room to see Kramer and me, sitting side by side on our respective laptops, laughing and sending each other GIFs or something (not actually talking, of course). “Are you two talking on the computer to each other?” she asked. We nodded. “You’re sick. That’s sick,” she muttered as we busted up laughing. Her dry, sarcastic sense of humor was what everyone loved about her. Her kids, Ian, Mackenzie and Grace, seem to have all inherited this trait to some degree, and her husband, Bill, is just as sarcastic and witty as she was. They made a great team.

I love this photo of Beth and Kramer’s sister, Rachel, at her college graduation.

Beth always made me feel like a part of the family, even from day one. She always called me her niece. Not her nephew’s wife, or whatever else, it was always “my niece and nephew, Sydney and Tyler”. It was never a question. We were family. Imagining life without her seems a little unreal right now. I keep picturing her hands, probably because she was always doing what mothers tend to do: cooking something, putting together a plate of this or that, tidying up, moving things around, loading things into or out of a car, physically moving people out of the way or into a photo, or, most importantly, pouring me a glass of wine. I will miss her so much, as so many will. She was too young and it’s not fair. It’s not romantic and there’s nothing cute that I want to say about it. I feel bitter and angry that she is gone so soon, but I don’t think she’d want anyone to feel that way, and if she were here to mourn with us, I know she’d be making jokes and laughing and finding a way to help everyone around her deal before worrying about herself. Beth, we love you. Thank you for giving us so much, even if it wasn’t for long enough.

13 Responses

  1. yoonie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Sydney <3

  2. Paola says:

    looks like you have a lot of great memories

  3. Joannne says:

    <3<3<3 Perfectly said, she is truly missed.

  4. Kate says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  5. Sydney and Kramer, what a beautiful tribute. She sounded like a remarkable woman! So sorry for your loss.

  6. Caitlin says:

    I’m so sorry, Sydney <3 she sounds wonderful

  7. Melissa says:

    You hit it on the nose Sydney and so true , she always referred to you as her niece and was so so very proud of you and your gift of culinary blogging. Your recipes , the photos and your hard work!!! She talked about you guys for a year before you got to NY and we enjoyed all the time we got to know Rachel and to live through her college life vicariously… I even tried dying my hair red… Not that red ;). Continue your success it’s what Beth would love to see from wherever she is watching !!!

  8. Lynn says:

    Sydney that was beautiful. We have never met but I’m Beth’s first cousin Lynn. I follow your recipes and blog and Ive heard
    all about you from Beth. I want to share this tribute so my friends can know how special my cousin was. Thank you.

  9. Mindy says:

    Ugh. I always read, but rarely comment. Just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. It brings back feelings of my own losses, always too early. My thoughts are with you and Kramer.

  10. Sorry to hear about your loss but those great memories tell me she had a life well lived. Very inspirational

  11. tworedbowls says:

    I’m so sorry to read this, Sydney — thinking of you and Kramer.

  12. […] only been a few days since our Aunt Beth’s passing, so things are still raw. I find myself opening up photos of her on Facebook and just looking […]

  13. suburbanmom2 says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. As another person said, I read you often, but rarely comment. i hadn’t been here in a while and was catching up on your posts and was shocked to see this one. i actually knew Beth years ago, my children and hers went to the same elementary and middle schools. We were casual aquaintances , would see eachother at school pick up time when all the moms would congregate together and wait for our children to come out. We shared a dear mutual friend so we crossed paths often in those days. I had not heard of her passing. Your memories triggered many of mine. She was always warm and friendly, always said hello and struck up a conversation even in the early years when we did not know eachothers’ names yet. I see her standing on the sidewalk in front of the school with other friends around her-she’d be laughing, making a joke or gently teasing our mutual friend about something. I’m glad I had the opportunity to know her.

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