Belinda Blain Slütman moved peacefully onward in her supernal journey August 19, 2009, in Mountain View, California. Born September 22, 1952, in Halifax County, Virginia, Belinda was a longtime resident of Hampton Roads and the Washington, D.C. metro areas, as well as Tokyo, Japan.
"B", as she is affectionately known, did not limit her existence to the average homestead. Her abode was the world. B traveled the globe, as she had always dreamed to, ablaze with curiosity. Inquiring and observing, B was a collector of snapshots of what the world has to offer. She shared those images with her many friends and family, chronicling her voyages throughout the years. Upon meeting Belinda, one was immediately bonded, her gleeful exuberance for life contagious. Generous in heart and spirit, humble in her wisdom and presence, B was a most resplendent friend. Belinda is survived by her adoring husband. Jim Slütman, of Mountain View, California; her sisters (spouses) Karen Deibler (Jim), Hampton, VA.; Denise Stefula (Billy), Poquoson, VA.; and Michelle Blain (Blair Toland), Cambridge, Mass.; and neices and nephews, Casiphonie, Braxton, Hunter, Conner, and Haylie. B is also survived by the loving "global" family that evolved from the connections made whenever and where ever those similar hearts were revealed.
At B's request, there will be no formal ceremony marking her passing. Should you feel inclined to do something, Belinda asked that you do whatever comes naturally - a family outing, a gathering of friends, a donation to a favorite cause, or a random act of kindness - and simply think of her in the process. A celebration of her life is being planned for September 27, 2009; details may be obtained at Belinda Blain. Belinda touched us all in different ways; what we all have in common is that she made us each feel very special. So please feel free to remember her in your own special way . . .
Belinda supported endeavors to the broader study of cancer, and particularly breast and uterine cancers.
January 3, 2004
Ladies and gentlemen; members of the family of Valerie Trivett:
More than eleven years ago, I met Valerie--introduced myself, really--during my third visit as a prospective buyer of the property that would become my home. It was a hot, humid, summer afternoon so typical of Washington July or August. I was pursuing "due diligence", to use the industry term, asking about the neighborhood and the neighbors so that I could be as informed as possible before undertaking the biggest commitment of my life to that point. The Trivetts - Steve, Valeria, Lakota, and Halona--were recently returned from somewhere, and by chance were the only neighbors present at the time. Their home was conveniently next-door. Of that first encounter, I remember two things. First, that Valerie did most of the talking; and second, that her answers satisfied my lingering concerns about buying into the neighborhood.
Several months later, I would know that much of the information furnished that day was not completely accurate. In fact, if the misinformation had clashed with reality in a space of days instead of months, I might have flattered myself to think that Valerie had taken an instant liking to me, providing that information she thought most encouraging to a new home-buyer. But I would have been mistaken to think I could create such a good first impression. I was just one more person that Valerie had welcomed into her world. That was the way she did. Valerie lived a people-oriented life, dedicated to the well-being and happiness of those close to her. She sought to be close to family and friends. She (with Steve) invited friends into her home, her personal space, for extended stays. And sometimes friends of friends. And sometimes strangers. And sometimes strangers who became like family.
One of her prouder achievements was a successful conspiracy to bring her friend Cindy into our LowPond neighborhood, a conspiracy that was instigated as a blind date between Cindy and myself. Ater our wedding, Valerie ad-libbed a happy, in-your-face dance for my benefit, and just so I wouldn't mistake her meaning, she interpreted for me: "I won. I won.".
Her life was contemporary with fundamental shifts in the nation's social structure. She grew up in a country caught in a cycle of riots, governmental misconduct, protests, and political assassinations. Valerie witnessed the emergence of the children of the 60s, and the conflict that necessarily followed as they failed to separate their ideology from their identity. She lived through the implosion of directionless energy in the 70s, and the re-birth of American pride in the 80s. But her times flowed around her as water flows around a rock at the bottom of a stream-bed. Valerie took no interest in the self-indulgence of the "Me" generation. Nor was she interested in popular music, never experimented with drugs, and had little interest in politics. Her identity was, and always had been, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend, and ultimately, as a wife.
It is surely one more example of opposites attracting that Valerie would come to love and to marry Steve Trivett, a man who zestfully, zealously embraced the music, politics, and mores of his own generation. Through him, Valerie learned of worlds, cultures, and values beyond Fauquier County. Steve was well-suited to this task, and his easy touch educated, without creating yet another cynical malcontent to be loosed on the world.
Average in height and build, modest, not stylish in dress, Valerie was not someone who stood out in a room, unless you were looking for a ready smile. Her smile was an outward manifestation that spoke of a genuine inner warmth--her response to seeing a friend, or encountering a friendly face. Normally light-hearted and easy-going, Valerie could be agitated if one knew which buttons to press. For example, it was possible to get a delightfully panicked, teen-aged reaction from Valerie by turning out the lights during a scary movie. It was a prank that never got old.
I am still struggling to come to terms with Valerie's death, and in speaking of the hurt and loss that I feel, I endure some embarassment in the presence of Valerie's family, they, whose hurt and loss must far exceed my own. To the last, I hoped for some miraculous healing; if Valerie did not deserve such intervention, then who does? In moments of contemplation, I have tried to see beyond the wrongness of what anyone else might describe as a natural consequence of living. And I am offended and outraged that this could--did--happen. And I regret that for all my reflection, I have nothing that I might share with you today. My insights remain myopic and forlorn. But to admit my ignorance is more honest than any vague platitudes I could offer. My comfort these days is not some intellectual perspective, but embracing my sadness, loss, and regret.
Valerie's experience with melanoma was a series of highs and lows. For the first year, we hoped and cautiously believed that the doctors had acted promptly and skillfully enough to eliminate her disease. On the day we learned that her melanoma had metastasized, Valerie told me what bothered her most was the possibility that she would not see Cory, her step-grandchild, grow up. That day was one of her lowest.
I never saw Valerie feeling sorry for herself, or afraid, and I would like to think that I could handle my own imminent mortality with similar even-mindedness. If in her last weeks she experienced doubts and fears, if she regretted the years that would be denied her, she did so privately, among the family that gathered to provide her care. They were with her, as she no doubt wanted.
Although Valerie was not a regular church-goer, I would say to you, Good People, that her life was a exemplary practice of
Christian ethics. It was a life that sought to include people rather than exclude people. It was a life spent striving for the benefit
of family and friends, rather than striving for authority, wealth, or material goods. It was a life spent reaching out
rather than asking, "What have you done for me lately?". It was a life spent in good-humored contentment with her lot
in life, rather than unhappy fixation on that which she did not have.
What a privilege to know her.
What a privilege to be among those she considered her friends.
You probably don't know me. My family name is probably unfamiliar to you as well. So, let me share a journey back through time to the 60's. My father was chief engineer at WHRO for several years. I as a boy grew up in the studios of WVEC and WHRO. While other youngsters were playing catch with their dads, mine was teaching me the finer points of broadcast electronics. I remember when the transmitter building behind WVEC on Pembroke Ave was built, when the first transmitter was installed, AMPEX video machines half as big as a car running the old huge video tape. I was loading tape for my dad when I was 10, doing meter reads and learning why a television station works. Many Saturdays I wandered the empty sets of the Norfolk studios, observing as Public Television history was being made.
Do you perhaps remember reading somewhere of those days? My father was there, as was I. I was there when an antenna was dropped while being lowered from the top of the tower and landed on the building. I was there when lightning severely damaged the transmission line on the tower in Hampton effectively shutting the station down. Dad wasn't home for a week, working out what needed to be done and engineering a plan to fix the problem. What of Tom Chisman's, WVEC's CEO, invaluable help in expediting the repair work? It should never be forgotten, don't you think?
It is unfortunate that the legacy to Hampton Roads from dedicated individuals like my late father should simply vanish into obscurity. Had it not been for the love and dedication, the blood and sweat, of folks like Samuel F. Edens, WHRO and public television would not exist today. Dad cared deeply for and was totally committed to excellence at WHRO. I never knew him to give less than 110%. He nurtured and caressed that station through those growing pain years, through crisis, through the madness that was the sixties. He always demanded adherence to the higher standard and was committed to excellence. WHRO owes what it has become to people like my father.
Some of us remember................. I write this in memory of SAMUEL F. EDENS SR. ( too many associations to list) born February 16, 1929 , passed away August 28, 1999
He had an extraordinary life. Was born into a coal miners family during the Depression, taught himself electronics, moved to Hampton in 1949, became a senior electronics broadcast Engineer for Tom Chisman (WVEC) helped develop the fledgling cable TV industry in Tidewater, became the chief broadcast engineer for WHRO, he helped build it from the ground up. In 1971 Dad went to work at Kennedy Space center. His awards and commendations for the Pursuit of Excellence awarded by NASA would fill volumes. As a Broadcast Engineer dad was respected by the entire industry , considered by many to be the BEST. The same pursuit of excellence he strove to achieve at while at WHRO...I just thought you should know from what superb stock your HISTORY has come.Respectfully,
although I'm not one of Garland's kayak friends, I guess I'm a bit more fortunate than most of you in that I met him when we were about 5 years old.During our formidable years, our families grew close through the church. We grew up doing all the church and scout things together. During our early teenage years, I remember Garland telling me "man, you gotta hear this new album by a guy named Jimi Hendrix. It's far out!" Even back then he wanted everyone to enjoy the things he loved so much. In the years to come, we were typical rebellious adolescent teenagers. Sometimes now, when looking back, it's a wonder we made it through life as far as we have. At a young age in high school, I got married and had a family. We moved into an apartment and couldn't really afford the $121 a month rent so Garland and another friend moved in with us. It was the first time any of us had moved away from home so there was quite a bit of bonding between the 4 us. As the years went by, we remained close and he managed to get into a state sponsored school for machinist. He was so impressed with it that he got many others interested and started in it including myself. He always looked out for his friends like that.
Over the past few years we drifted apart as friends often do but we were still as close as ever when we caught up with one another. It was like we were teenagers again!
although I never got to go on the river with him, it wasn't because the invitation wasn't there. However, I feel grateful and lucky to have had 44 years of close guidance, teaching, fellowship, laughter, true friendship, and love from a brother that never will be forgotten or replaced.Brothers Forever
I met Garland what seems like forever ago. I was asked to join a 'pick-up' band for a weekend gig by a mutual friend Jeff Bowen. Jeff called me on a Sunday saying he needed me for gig that following weekend. When Jeff showed me 20-odd songs and explained that "he didn't recall" the other 20 or so we would need to finish the night, but that "he would remember them once we got onstage", I was a bit...ummmmm...trepidatious :)
That weekend I met the drummer Ronnie Cole and the bass player Garland Reese. The name of the band was Powerhouse, and while it was probably one of the lamest names a band could ever hope to adopt it was quite appropriate. :) It was one of the most amazing bands I have ever played with :) Not that we were really that good or anything, but I found these guys to be totally fearless :) Someone in the crowd would shout out a request and if one of us new half the chord changes and another knew half the lyrics we'd launch into it as if we'd been playing it for years :) We played nearly EVERY weekend and NEVER had the first practice or rehearsal. These guys rocked.The first time I had the pleasure(?) of hearing Garland sing was that Friday night.
Ok, now I loved the boy but holy moly....I was quite frightened actually....I looked at Jeff with a somewhat wide-eyed dazed expression on my face.. he laughed and motioned out into the audience. People were dancing, laughing and the girls were absolutely mooning over the boy. He was like, I don't know, a skinny Winnie the Pooh or something with a bass. They just didn't come any cuter than Garland. He had the hair thing goin' on. the bushy moustache, that wry little smile that just screamed 'Party on dude', and a twinkle in his eye that would completely mesmerize you. A girl came up to me later that night and asked me who he was. "He's so cute I just want to snatch him up, put him in my purse and carry him home with me for later." Everyone loved Garland. By the third set, I was in love with these guys.
Garland would stand on my right all of the time. At the time, he was pretty much stone deaf in his right ear. It was my job to cue him on the next song and often I would turn to see him just looking around the club at the end of a number smiling at everyone, sort of reminiscent of the little league right fielder picking daisies :) I would gently grab the headstock of his bass and spin him to where he could see me to tell him the next tune we were going to play :) He and I often made a running gag of our height disparity, my being 6'3" standing next to "The Mad Munchkin" was always a lot of fun. On more than one occassion, when we would be running late on a break, I would walk up behind him, squat down, grab him around his waist, pick him up and carry him across the club to the stage as he would casually sip his drink and smile and wave at everyone as we passed by. His favorite line after I set him down behind his microphone was, "Well I guess he put me in my place."
I loved his speaking voice :) It sounded to me like a southern boy that had spent a great deal of time in the LA Surfer scene, an odd amalgam that could not be interpreted as anything other than nice, friendly, and laid back. His tonal quality and choice of phrasing belied how intelligent and cognizant he was. One evening a club patron who did not 'know' Garland looked at me and whispered, "Not exactly a rocket scientist is he ?" I laughed out loud and told the guy..." Well actually..." LOL I loved that about Garland. This guy nearly glowed in the dark he was so bright but he was never anything but down to earth and just a good ol' boy as all of you can attest.
I learned a lot from Garland. I adopted his goofy stage persona of being the "not the sharpest pencil in the pack". I STILL use to this day one of his favorite lines about being "The Third Best Garage Band In America". In fact, when Jeff left Powerhouse and we acquired Tommy Clark, we changed the name of the band to TbgBIA ( pronounced Tee-Bee-Gee-Bee-Uh ) which was the acronym of that joke. It looked GREAT on club marquees...LOL
Over the passing years Garland and I played together at parties and socials, we would go out to check out each others new bands and would often 'sit in' for a number or two.
Garland was an extraordinary guy that made a very large impact on my life and I will always remember him and miss him terribly. I doubt I will ever be able to listen to "Your Mama Don't Dance And Your Daddy Don't Rock And Roll" again without crying.
I hope to see him again one day, but NEXT time, he has to stand on my LEFT side :)Charlie Sillery
My sister, Pygen, and I were making a meditation tape for Garland to help with the interferon treatments. We asked him to tell us about the Hep C treatments and how the river made him feel so we could incorporate that into the tape, this was his answer:
The major meds are Pegylated Interferon and Ribaviron. All interferons are a naturally occurring protein and help to accelerate the immune systems response to Hep-C. The Pegylated is more long lasting meaning only one shot a week as to 3 times a week. The R-viron enhances it's effect. The interferon makes me nauseous, chills and fever, muscle aches and you kind of lay in a fetal ball for about 4 hours, then it feels like the flu. I get that once a week. The R-viron I take every day and makes me anemic and brings on extreme fatigue. I wear out very fast and just taking a shower can be a two hour venture. If I could make one thing go away it would be the fatigue. I can't ride my mountain bike, paddle or do anything to get outdoors and breath the fresh air being forced into my lungs by pushing my limits. I can't feel the elation of pulling off a great looking rodeo (trick) move in the kayak and knowing that it looked good to others as well.
Now I would like to feel true joy in the things that make me happy. To be rid of the external stress that has nothing to do with treatments, but everything to do with life. I want to have a party on the day of my last injection and within days get the news: "Virus is undetected". I want to sit at the top of a challenging drop in my kayak knowing that it's me against the river and I am not at the top of the food chain anymore. I want to sit at the bottom of that drop and look back with the elation of knowing that on that day all your training paid off and you are better than it is. I want to come over the top of a long winding downhill on the mountain bike and have to make the decision to hang it in the wind or not go for it today.
Being deaf I share a different relationship with the river. I don't hear the river goddess's roar telling me to stay away. I see the mist rising from below and maybe making a rainbow across the top of the drop. I smell the mist of river water and the mosses and fungi that are always on the drop. A special thing is to smell something like honeysuckle or spring flowers. I look at the lip trying to visualize what it looked like from the scouting point on the rocks. Where the hell did that big round rock I was supposed to go left of go? I watch the first person go and then float out into the peace at the bottom upright and looking oh so small from up there. It's my turn, and eyes wide I peel out (go out in the main current),now I can see the round rock, but everything happens so fast. Eddy out(a way of stopping in the peaceful water behind a rock) behind the rock and look over your shoulder at it one last time. There is the tongue of water I should ride on. Stay on the right side of the tongue and boof (go in the air) off the small lip in the middle. You peel out, pull your two or three power strokes, then that one last hard pull to boof you out over the nasty pour over at the bottom. The next three seconds or so are impossible to explain. You float thru the air and all is silent and in slow motion. Keep the paddle up! Your landing is great and you swing into the eddy below and try to act like it was nothing. Now let's take a look at this next sucker.......
The New River Gorge always feels like magic to me - I feel there are gnomes hiding in the woods and spirits of those that lost it all in poker games in the days when coal was king and everyone could get rich quick hanging out in the ghost towns. All stress pours off my back when I ride across that bridge and look at the Gorge 1000' below. I have paddled, climbed and biked it in all seasons and weather.
The Obed River System on the Cumberland Plateau in Tenn.- Everything there has that Alpine look to it because the mountains are taller and steeper. The water is aqua blue or emerald green and clear and no other colors allowed. The mountains and river gorges are so steep that there are no houses or that curse of the river, a railroad track, running beside it. My favorite run is from Clear Creek out into the Obed to it's Confluence with the Emory, follow that for a while and take out. Each section gets less steep and has a different river character.
MATHEWS - Capt. James Ernest "Ernie" Blanchard, age 56, of Port Haywood, died unexpectedly on Sunday,
Jan. 11, 2004. He was preceded in death by his father, W. Boyce Blanchard; his mother, Mary Dunn Blanchard;
and sister, Annette B. Freed. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Elizabeth M. Blanchard; his stepmother, Ruby
Blanchard of Stanley, Va.; three sisters, Barbara Pitchford and husband, Robert, of Richmond, Betty Burton and
husband, Leonard, of Callao, Va., Jeannine Blackburn and husband, William, of Troutville, Va.; three brothers, W.
Boyce Blanchard and wife, Carolyn, of Rocky Mount, Va., Tim Lamb and wife, Debbie, of Newport News, Va.,
Jerry Henry and wife, Judy, of York County, Va.; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. Ernie served his
country as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving with the 9th
Infantry Division in Vietnam. Following three years of service with the Newport News Fire Department, Ernie
joined the James City County Fire Department where he has served for over 27 years advancing to the rank of
Captain. Ernie received several unit citations and awards of merit while with the J.C.C.F.D. Funeral services will
be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, at Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Mathews, Va. The family will receive
friends 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home, Mathews, Va. In lieu of flowers, the
family requests memorials be made to the I.A.F.F. Burn Fund, c/o James City County Fire Department, 5077 John
Tyler Highway, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
(Sent by Michele Donithan)
First written on May 20, 2001, most recent edit was June 3, 2001
I have attended a lot of funerals lately and with each one it has become increasing important to me to outline exactly how I want my services to go when I die.
I am not a Christian. I DON'T want my service in a Christian church. I would like my services to be outdoors, in the woods, at the beach, or near a river. I don't want anyone standing up here in a last minute panic claiming I have now found Jesus and that that is what I want for all of you. What I want for all of you is that you have complete freedom to embrace and practice your own spirituality. I have no desire to convert anyone to mine. I think Jesus was a good person but I don't believe he EVER said "to be saved you must say you believe in me". I don't believe he was that full of himself - I believe he truly meant it when he told people that love and compassion were most important of all. I believe that those ideals are more important than any religious leader is, even more important than the Dalai Lama who I have immense respect for. I don't want a religious leader that I don't even know making assumptions about who I am or what I believe. I only want my friends and family to talk about me, it's OK if you cry. The tears you cry at someone's death are a symbol of love. Tears set buried emotions free to mingle in the universe.
I want my organs to be donated to hospitals and to science and I want the remains to be cremated and caste to the earth, wind and water at my services. I don't want my organs to be auctioned off or sold. I want them to go to someone with NO MONEY to pay for an operation. I want them to go to someone who ordinarily would not get an operation because they can't afford it.
My spiritual beliefs are a mixture of Buddhist, Native American, Hindu, Pagan. I take the best of all of them and reject the parts that aren't compassionate. I reject isms that allow rejection - of anyone. I embrace religions that accept that everyone else's beliefs are just as valid as theirs. I love the compassion and acceptance of the Dalai Lama. I love the Native American's beliefs that every thing on this earth is sacred - every rock - every tree - the earth itself. I love the rituals and honoring of the cycles of nature that the pagans embrace. although I have a problem with the Hindu caste system (one of the parts I rejected), I love the words of Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". Garland used to sign his emails to me with a quote of Gandhi's: "To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowed in prayer". There are some Christians, Garland for example, who give me respect for some of their beliefs too.
I'm not monotheistic. I believe that everything and everyone is God, that God is the sum total of the spirit of every rock, tree, and critter in our universe. I believe that not one thing, not one person is better or worse than I am. I believe the light is more important than the vessel carrying it.
I want every one of my friends to read "Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life" by Jill Brooke. I want you to stop being afraid to talk about death. I want you to understand that death is a valid part of life - not a secret to be locked away. If you avoid it until it happens - it is a surprise and a shock. It is going to happen to everyone of us. Celebrate and honor death as the Mexican and Asian cultures do. "Dia de los Muertos", light a candle for me, have a drink for me, rescue an animal for me, give someone a hug for me.
You don't have to sever ties with us dead folk, that is not healing, it's denial and it's dangerous to your healing and recovery to "cut ties and move on", to bury the memories and pretend you don't think about us anymore. You can remember us often - examine what we meant to you - how we affected who you are today. Our affect on you is the part of us that is still alive in your soul. We are still here with you, still watching out for you, still laughing at the dumb things you do, still loving you.
My greatest achievement in my life was reconnecting friends who hadn't seen or heard from each other in 30 years. Honor me by staying in touch with your friends, visit them often, talk about them often - dead or alive.
Keep my planet clean, restore it to it's former beauty - nothing you do is too small - I will appreciate every cigarette butt you pick up. Honor everyone and everything - bats and snakes come from the same source as bunnies and puppies. The homeless and the infirm come from the same source as the successful and the healthy.
I love you - everyone of you. Let me live on in your hearts. Talk about me often - laugh and smile about me often. But don't think you have to hide your tears. I will treasure all your remembrances whether you're laughing or crying.
Love and Peace,
Last Rites part II
And don't wear black to my funeral (unless you have something black that you look absolutely stunning in). Don't wear your best suit, I won't recognize you. Wear white. Wear Red. Wear pink. Wear green and orange day-glo with sequins and fringe. Wear peace signs and bells. Wear your American Lighthouse Hippie Reunion t-shirts. Wear your 25 year old bell-bottom blue jeans. Wear garlands in your hair.
Play good music - nothing sad. Play my favorite song - "Samba Pa Ti" by Santana. Play "Here Comes the Sun" which always brings a smile to my lips no matter how awful I feel. Play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and know that that's where I've gone - "where troubles melt like lemon drops". Dance. Blow bubbles. Hold hands with each other. Be silly."Let the change you wish to see in the world begin with you." Gandhi