Tuesday, August 28, 2018
REMEMBERING CELIA by CHERYL PIERSON
Last month, many of us lost a dear friend, Celia Yeary. She was a woman I had never met in “real life” – but I felt like I’d known her forever, and I'm sure many of you felt the same way.
Celia was “a bit” older than I, and a wonderful combination of big sis/surrogate mom in a lot of ways—but most of all, she was a dear friend.
We talked about everything over the years. I always admired Celia’s determination and her courage to face whatever life threw her way. She chalked it up to being a fifth-generation Texan, and that might have been part of it, but I believe most of her inner strength came from deep within herself—no matter where she had been born and raised.
Celia went to college AFTER she was married and had small children—and that had to be tough. But she persevered. She received her BS in biology and went on for her Master’s degree in education. She taught school for many years and told me how she loved it, and how she missed it after retirement.
I knew Celia after that phase of her life was past, and we shared our passion for writing. We both wrote western romance stories, and loved to talk about our characters, and run scenes by one another. Celia was very meticulous in her writing process—more of a plotter than I am. We talked about everything under the sun along with our writing conversations. I treasured seeing her name pop up in my INBOX—she always made me laugh.
When we learned she had passed away, I felt like the world became a “dimmer” place—and of course, that’s true. Celia was one of the brightest stars I have ever known. I miss her. She was one of those people that is truly unforgettable, though I can hear her in my mind saying, “Me? Lands sakes, why would you say that?”
One of the main things I’ll always remember about Celia is her big heart. All you have to do is read one of her books and you’ll see it shine through. She spoke through her characters, and as all writers do, put some of herself into the people she created in her stories. She often told me this book, WISH FOR THE MOON, was the "book of my heart" and how glad she was to have it in print. I understood why--there is a LOT of Celia in these characters!
Her birthday was this past Saturday, August 25. Hard to believe she’s gone, but she’ll always be in my heart—a dear friend that I was so lucky to have known.
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I feel like you and also felt a pang when her birthday showed up and she's not here for it. I hadn't wanted to remove her from the friends' list as she still felt like a friend. She was so supportive of other writers and that was much appreciated by many of us where sometimes writing can be lonely and even depressing. I kept hoping she'd be back after the procedure and then came the shock. I am glad you wrote this about a gentle, sweet lady, who is still missed. Sometimes the friends we meet on the internet seem more real than ones closer because it's all about the connection.ReplyDelete
Rain, I think so many of us felt the same way--hopeful that things would turn around for her and she'd be back. And I think she believed that to in the beginning. She was always such a force, in a quiet, steady way. I agree about friends on the internet. We meet so many people we never would have been able to meet without the internet, and we're able to share things with them instantly, rather than waiting on a letter. I always felt very connected to Celia. Probably because we both started out at the same time with getting our books published by the same company, etc. and had that camaraderie. But our friendship grew by leaps and bounds through the years, and I just thought the world of her from day 1.Delete
I had the pleasure of reading Wish For The Moon and it’s a wonderful book. I still can’t believe Celia is gone. A great loss to her family and friends, and to her readers. She taught at an all boys boarding school, and she and I bonded over that since one of my own boys attended a similar school. And she loved to socialize on FB. I miss seeing her posts and chatting with her. FB might not be face to face, but so many of us became friends this way, and it’s such a wonderful way to stay connected. I hope Celia knew how much we loved her and how much we miss her. I’m grateful for the time I had with her. Godspeed, Celia.ReplyDelete
Kristy, isn't it odd how people bond over different things like that? There is so much to a person--so many facets and experiences in life, and ways to share with others because of them. I really loved Wish For the Moon--but truthfully? I enjoyed all of Celia's stories. She had a way of telling a story that made you want to know "WHAT NEXT? AND THEN?????" I know what you mean about FB -- and she always had something interesting to talk about on there. I think Celia DID know she was loved by us all and I'm so glad for the internet and being able to know her for the time I did. She touched so many lives.Delete
I teared up when Celia's birthday popped up on my Facebook feed. And I sigh every time a comment from her shows up in my memories. Our interactions were always digital, but I considered her a friend all the same. Godspeed.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean, Keena. So many times I think about how times have changed, and how so many of our friends are connected to us through the internet and nothing more. The internet has really changed our lives in so many ways, and lots of times people want to look at the negative side of it (and I know there are negatives to it) but the positive side is being able to make friends and get to know people we never would have connected with otherwise. I got teary too, when I saw her picture and her birthday. I knew right then I wanted to write about her in this post. It's the first time since her death I've felt like I could do that. Thanks for stopping by, Keena.Delete
Celia was a smart and talented lady. I've always waved toward the town of San Marcos when we were driving south on I-35. We'll be heading south again in October and I'll still wave, but it won't be the same. I will miss her stories and seeing her pop up on my radar.ReplyDelete
She was extremely smart and talented, wasn't she? She had so many wonderful qualities about her, yet she was so humble about her own abilities and talents. She would still want you to wave, Carra, and know you were remembering her. XOXODelete
I, too, was saddened to hear of Celia's passing. I only knew her through our blog, but respected her and learned a lot from her posts. Thank you for posting this blog as a tribute to her.ReplyDelete
Paisley, Celia was one of those people I wish I had met much earlier and known longer. She was always so supportive and made you just feel like she was "there" to back you, no matter what.Delete
I never met Celia in person but she's always been a dear friend. I felt we knew each other so well. I could talk about anything with her and she would laugh and give her opinion. Her death was a big shock for me and I can't see her picture without tearing.ReplyDelete
Mona, the same with me. I never met her in person, either. Felt like we could talk about everything and anything--she was very fair-minded. I regret that we never got to meet in person--I would love to have just given her a hug and thanked her for all her support. Like you, I still get teary thinking about her being gone now and just seeing her picture.Delete
Thank you for sharing your memories of Celia, Cheryl. She was a caring, talented lady. Like everyone here, I miss her.ReplyDelete
Lyn, I should have done this sooner. I have just been trying to process the fact that she is gone.Delete
I couldn't catch my breath when her birthday notice showed up in my Facebook notifications. First I had to walk away from the computer to compose myself. Then I sent her a birthday wish through prayer. She was a beloved and treasured friend. And such a cheerleader. She could figure out a way to get through anything. She would study it and study it and take notes. Then she'd light a fire under everyone around her until things turned around, and she did it without offending anyone. She had such a way of gathering friends to her. I think she collected us, same as we might collect keeper books on our shelves. She was sweetly determined, devoutly loyal, and her Celia-vision and storytelling always made me smile. I'll forever wonder how the little girl from church turned out (good I'm sure because of her parents and because of Celia's special interest in her). I do miss her, but I can still hear her voice in my ear, and that's almost as good as being able to reach her on the computer. Thanks for celebrating Celia today, Cheryl. You're a good friend!ReplyDelete
Maggie, it's seldom we come across friends as precious as Celia, but to me, that's one very special thing about the writing community--there are some real "gems" who shine in the "friendship department"--and Celia was one of those. You're right about her drive and determination to find a way to get through things, and she always did! YES. I think she "collected" us, too, as you say. She treasured each of us, as well. Some of my favorite e-mails from her? "I've been worried about you. I haven't seen you around lately. Is everything okay?" Just normal, everyday caring. That meant so much to me. I miss her stories about that little girl from church, too. Celia had a way of making all her tales special, no matter what or who they were about. So glad you came over and commented, Maggie! XOXODelete
I still find it hard to believe she's gone. I waited weeks and weeks before I could take her name off this blog which she and I conceived it together. We had never met in person and always intended to do so. I'm truly sorry we never met face-to-face.ReplyDelete
Caroline, I know you must have been in such shock with the rest of us--especially since you and Maggie both worked closely with Celia on different internet and blog groups. Like you, I regret that I never got to meet Celia face-to-face. She made such a huge impact on so many of us, didn't she? I sure do miss her, and I know you do, too. One thing her death reinforced to me is that we need to all keep in touch and be as supportive as we possibly can to one another, just as she always was. Hugs, Caroline.Delete
I never met Celia, but I certainly enjoyed getting to know her through Prairie Rose Publications. I will never forget a FB post in which she lamented the lack of women 'fixing themselves up a bit' when they go out in public. She was distressed that so many women of all ages go shopping or to the hairdresser or to the gas station, etc. without at least putting on lipstick. It tickled me so much that I dug out my old tubes of lipstick, and I carry them with me now to be sure I'm fixed-up appropriately to Celia's standards. *wink* She was a true lady.
Kaye, that made me laugh all over again, remembering her talking about that. The reason it tickled me so much was because my mom would always say the same thing. "Every old barn needs a little red paint." LOL SO TRUE! Yes, Celia was a true lady, again like my mom, and some of those thought she had were so common of days past--but yet, they sure did make sense, and made us all rethink "running to WalMart" with no lipstick on.Delete
I always appreciated that Celia would express her opinion even when she probably knew it would not be popular. I always thought it so kind of her to post reviews on our books.ReplyDelete
After my chemo treatments were over and my hair was growing again, I decided not to put any more chemicals on it. I left it gray and posted an updated picture of myself. Well let me tell ya, Celia sent me a note within seconds of that post and told me I needed to at least put some lipstick on. I obeyed because I respected that woman's opinion. I put some makeup on and some lipstick and reposted my picture. Oh God how I miss her and her good advice.
I, too, saw that notice about Celia's birthday and it was a painful reminded of her absence...no more birthdays. She still has a FB page and I haven't the heart to unfriend it. maybe it's because, as long as that FB page is there, then some part of her is still with us.
I've read all of Celia's books. I treasure them now. I miss her so much.
I agree, Sarah, with everything you said. I can't unfriend her, either. If nothing else, we can at least remember her there--and I still have her e-mails to re-read. That gives me a lot of comfort--it's like I can hear her voice through those e-mails, even though I never did talk to her on the phone. LOLDelete
Celia wanted us to all be our best as women--I believe that in my heart and soul, and hence the advice about the lipstick. LOL Like I mentioned above, that reminded me so much of something my own mother would say--I hear that in my mind every time I get ready to go out anywhere, and I do it for my mom and for Celia--because that is the "proper thing to do" and because we just want to look the best we can because that's how the women who came before us (like Celia) thought women should do. LOL
I love Celia's books, too, Sarah. She had a wonderful way of telling stories and always did that, no matter the length of the story or whether it was contemporary, retro, or historical. So glad you stopped by and "remembered" with me.
What a lovely remembrance. I didn't know Celia well, but I liked her online presence. I wish I'd gotten to know her better.ReplyDelete
Melissa, thank you--anything I can say here doesn't do her justice, but I have not been able to even think of writing anything like this until now, over a month after her passing. Yes, you would have loved her wit and wisdom. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
A beautiful and heartfelt tribute. She comes across as a strong, clever women who used her attributes to make the world better for others. Thank you for posting this.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Christine. There is so much more I could say, and still not include everything I wanted to. When I think of Celia, I always think of how encouraging she was to so many. I really do miss that.Delete
Thank you, Cheryl, for posting a sincere and well-deserved eulogy about Celia. I also admired her not only for her writing talents, but her unexpected wit that came across in her blogs. As many have expressed, it's amazing to realize how true friendships can be made on line, yet never to have met face to face. Celia was a "sweetheart" in the true sense of the word.ReplyDelete
Cheri, she really was. She was one of those rare people with a very accurate "moral compass" and though she might not always agree with you, she would certainly listen to other points of view and consider them--which is so important. Oh, I loved her wit, too, Cheri. She could always make me laugh, no matter what. I miss that so much. Thanks for commenting. I know we are always going to remember Celia and love her for so many reasons.Delete
I also consider Celia a dear friend though we only knew each other online. She was kind enough to post thoughtful reviews of many of my books for which I was grateful. More than that were the many emails she shared with our Bookspa Group. She always showed an interest in what was happening in our lives and offered helpful advice when asked. Her books reflect her sweetness.ReplyDelete
Amen to everything you said, Morgan. Celia was such a caring person, and even though she was so busy with everything she made time to e-mail and talk with everyone one-on-one as well as in the groups and on Facebook. She had that 'way' about her that made you feel important to her. Thanks for your memories of her.Delete