True Beauty

My title to this blog entry refers to my wife’s best friend. I always hate to make a statement like “best friend”. There are many that we may refer to as our best friends throughout our lives. Different chapters of life, different best friends.

But you know that kind of best friend where you reunite and it’s like no time has passed for either of you? You simply pick up where you left off and realize that bond of love is as strong and bright as it ever was – that no matter what this person will love you for the rest of your life, and you’ll love them too.

Darlene is that kind of friend to my wife. I think my wife is that kind of friend to Darlene. Best friends.

Darlene lived on a farm growing up, and at a very young age was run over by a tractor. Can you imagine? The fear as the child? The sickening guilt of the person driving the tractor? The shock of having something like this happen to your daughter?

It seems like it could be overwhelming – I’ve experienced stuff kind of like that with my kids. I didn’t know Darlene or my wife at the time. I can only imagine.

Her face is still disfigured. She has had many many (in the high teens) operations to repair the damage. I get the impression from talking to Darlene (or LeeAnn, my wife) that there could be more, Darlene has decided not to continue. She’s fine with who she is and is happy with her life.


Here’s the point of all of this. Darlene is truly a beautiful person – one of the most beautiful people I’ve met in my life. It’s hard for me to put into words – but I’ll try.

First of all, from where I stand, Darlene is completely at peace with herself and her role in life. She is funny, outspoken and charming. Always interested in others, delighted and happy at the success of others, empathetic and caring for the challenges we all face.

Secondly, I feel completely accepted when I am around her. I find conversation with her and her family (husband and two kids) easy and friendly. But beyond that, I feel peace. She is just calm and peaceful. I’m not sure what I write will ever do justice to her beautiful nature.

The first time I met her, I was less than gracious. I held back, said “hi” and waited in the car.

Really, I think I was just afraid.   

Afraid of hurting her feelings on accident.

Afraid of offending Darlene, or her best friend LeeAnn.

Afraid that she would be pitiful. That she would expect pity from me – or maybe even just need me to be more empathetic than I thought I had the capacity to be.

I was a fool. She is stronger than any of that – so far beyond needing anything from me. Not only a beautiful woman, but a powerful woman too. Not in the sense that she’s going to be a CEO somewhere someday, but in the sense that she is strong enough, compassionate enough to accept me for what I am, and fill in all those personal attributes I’m lacking with her own. She lifts those around her with her strength and example.

I feel like a better person after spending time with Darlene. Her beauty lingers with me and makes me feel content with way things are. She’s one of the great people on my path of life.

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2 Responses to True Beauty

  1. Sheila says:

    It is amazing to have something of this nature happen and yet be so strong in so many aspects of life. KUDO’s to Darlene. (and Doug, for seeing the beauty on the inside!)


  2. trailerparkqueen says:

    Beautiful and touching photographic and literary portrait, Doug.


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