Cliff Belliston

Cliff indirectly taught me one of life's biggest truths, which is the fact that our hearts don't forget or replace those we've loved with other people. Instead they expand and grow, allowing us to share and experience even more love than before. 

The first time Cliff came over to our house for dinner, I thought of him as a heartbroken lonely man. His wife, Judy, had recently died of cancer and I knew he was going through a hard time. Cliff always spoke of Judy in a reverent sacred way. He carried a picture of her in his wallet and I'm sure he always held a piece of her in his heart. 

Cliff seemed to enjoy the activity and environment of our home. I thought it probably distracted him from the heartache he was experiencing. He started coming over more often, and even helped repaint one of the rooms. I didn't realize that my mom and him were in a relationship until she told us they were getting married. I was upset with her. He was the grandfather of one of my friends and old enough to be her dad. I was so confused. My mom is an intelligent, beautiful, independent women. Why would she chose to marry Cliff? 

Although I have to admit, as a sixteen year old, I would have been angry with any man she chose to marry. My parents had been divorced for eight years and my mom, two sisters, and I had finally made it out on our own. In my opinion, our family was compete. We didn't need anyone else to be a part of our family. 

But I was wrong. 

We needed Cliff in our lives as much as he needed us in his.     

My heart was softened for Cliff by the way he cared for and loved my mom. He was always anxious when my mom was away from the house, often calling her just to make sure she was alright. He expressed concern about her physical well-being and encouraged her to seek the best medical help when it was necessary.  

As I watched my mom and Cliff interact with each other, I noticed how happy they both were. I hadn't seen my mom so excited about life in a long time. I realized that if they were happy, then I could be happy for them.  

Eventually, I grew to love Cliff for the person he was. What I admired most about him was his love for his family, friends, and life. He was just as quick to tell a joke as he was to lend a helping hand. I often thought of him as having a young man's spirit trapped inside an aging man's body. He reminded me of a quote from a movie: 
"A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and as restless as ever. And him - in his day, he had more spirit than twenty men." 

I will always remember the spunky and determined way Cliff lived his life. He believed in himself enough to make his dreams a reality. Who would have thought that a scrawny poor kid from Nephi would go on to cinch his rodeo dreams, own his own ranch and business, and reach financial stability? Cliff promised himself that he would be a better man than his father and that he would give his kids a better life than the one he had - and he kept that promise. 

A step-parent's love is special. Cliff didn't have to love us like his own children, but he did. He became a second dad to my sisters and me. The love I have for Cliff didn't diminish the love I have for my own dad. Instead, my heart expanded, and grew to love them both. (How lucky and I?) 

It was an honor to have been a part of Cliff's life, and a privilege to call him my step-dad. 








Thank you to everyone who has shown love, kindness, and support to my mom and my family during this time. Everyone who said a kind word, shared a hug, cooked a meal, sent a card, gave flowers, spent time preparing for the services, or said a prayer for us - we appreciate you. You helped carry us through this difficult time, and your love and kindness will always be remembered. 

***

Please click here if you want to read Cliff's obituary.  





1 comment

  1. I am so beyond sorry for your loss -- losing a loved one is so difficult. Cliff sounds like an absolutely amazing man and the perfect fit to your family. That he made your mom so happy and full of life is extraordinary ♥ My father passed away in December and, while it still hurts so bad, I remind myself to be thankful for the time that I had with him and to cherish the memories we had.

    ReplyDelete