Lifetime of Love

Published 7:33 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The official holiday is today, but for one Ironton woman, every day should be Thanksgiving Day if you count your blessings.

Elizabeth Bibb, of South Ninth Street, will tell you she has a lot of blessings to count.

Bibb said she is thankful this year for family and friends and for a God who blessed her with both — and more than she ever asked for. Today and every day, Bibb said she counts those blessings.

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“Thanksgiving is being thankful to God for what all he has given to us. He has blessed me with a wonderful family and a wonderful church family.”

Bibb’s immediate family includes her husband, Jerry and two children, a son, Taylor Clemons, who is a student at Columbus School of Art and Design and a daughter, Bethany Bibb, who is 14 and an honor student at Ironton High School. The children are OK and mom is thankful.

“They’re good people,” she said with a smile. She is thankful that Bethany has beaten the grim prognosis doctors gave her when she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. They said she probably wouldn’t survive the disease. But she has outlived their expectations — and then some.

“She is a vibrant person,” Bibb said of her daughter. “She is full of life. She has been a true blessing and she has been truly blessed.”

She and her husband, Jerry, once mused that they have never had to cajole Bethany into doing her homework— maybe it took a little persuasion to get her to do other things, but never the homework, and Bethany’s attention to school work has paid off.

“She gets honor roll ever year and she’s had the president’s award two times and twice she’s been in the Who’s Who of junior high students.

Bibb has also raised a nephew, Darrien Gantt, who came to live with her after his mother’s death. Now 22, Gannt is out on his own.

While others sometimes expressed awe at Bibb’s devotion to her late sister and her child, Bibb said matter of factly, “What else was I supposed to do? This is what family does.”

This year the family will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with one less place setting on the table. Bibb’s mother’ Sarah Taylor, died last month. While Bibb admitted it will be “hard to see the holidays come,” she can look back on the many years of seeking counsel and comfort from a woman she said was the epitome of the word “mom.”

“She was a very strong person,” Bibb said. “She always made sure her children had a home and food and clothes. She didn’t have a big job, but she took care of her family.”

Bibb’s father, Marshall Taylor Sr., is 86 years old and still independent, she said with a smile.

Like many people, Bibb’s sense of family extends to people who may not be related by blood or marriage, but by the bonds of Christian brotherhood. She has attended New Jerusalem Christian Center for 13 years and is thankful for the people who have become her church family.

“They are wonderful, wonderful people,” she said. “They are people who understand. I believe everyone has been through something. We might not all go through the same thing, but everyone knows what pain feels like and we should be able to feel for each other. All we have is each other.”

At the center of all of this is God, Bibb said.

“He is my source. He’s where I go to. And he has been good to us,” she said.

There have been heartaches and joys, some sadness and some things for which Bibb is happy. Is her glass half full or half empty? Neither, she said.

“I feel like my cup runs over. I may not have much in material things, but I have love and I am blessed. Whatever I’ve needed, God has provided,” she said.

She credits her parents for instilling in her this love of God that has sustained her this day and every day.