Today I should have attended the funeral of a dearly loved friend and family member, but physical limitations prohibited my being there. Following are some thoughts on this remarkable woman. ~IndigoIn the Beginning - - -
there was Alberta. At least in my beginning there was Alberta. I have no recollection of a time in my life when there was no Alberta. Fourteen years my senior, her presence and smiling face spring forth in my mind's eye from my earliest childhood memories. There she is -- involved in every family event, whether it be glad or sad, always doing something to make a glad event more fun and memorable, or a sad event easier to bear. She was the quiet, behind the scenes example for our family to whom other family members could only aspire. Alberta's life was totally enmeshed in her husband's family. She was a modern incarnation of the biblical Ruth who said "whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people."
Under hardships that would have devastated a lesser, weaker person, her spirit came through strengthened. The loss of her first born child was an early blow for her to overcome. Later, as a young woman with a new baby, like millions of other American wives, she bravely faced her husband's World War Two absence with "the right stuff" and got through it mostly on her own. At a point in her life when women need their mothers most, she lost hers. Her father also was lost too soon and Alberta had only a sister and a brother left of her own blood relatives. The sister and brother did not live nearby, so her role as biblical Ruth came into her life early. The frequently difficult in-laws became "her people", and the Dale name was enhanced and enriched by her taking of it.
Her efforts and attitude in meeting the challenges of a physically handicapped child can only be called heroic. Never once did she show anything but optimism and courage in the raising of her little girl, and never once did she convey a hint of "poor us" to the world. On the contrary, she imbued the child and our family with positive confidence. She dealt with the early loss of her husband in the same manner. She was always a beacon to me and one of the few members of my family I would choose to emulate.
Alberta Smith Dale brought honor to the Dale family name and was the exemplar whom we could all strive to be, although never quite attain. Many lives, including my own, will not be as rich now that she is gone.