There have been so many stories written about my dear friend Betty Benson. Her life was tabloid-worthy from childhood on. While she was still a little girl, she got caught between her parents, during a fierce custody battle. Her mother was awarded with Betty’s care; so they moved to Virginia Beach.
Betty was tall, slim, and beautiful. At some point in her life, she started to receive countless offers from a New York modeling agency, until some day, she caught the attention of Sam Spiegel, Hollywood’s most iconic producer. She became his third wife and led the most fantastically surreal life ever possible. Sam’s shark-like personality and Oscars-worthy obnoxiousness redesigned Betty’s attributes. According to her close friend George Hamilton’s autobiography DON’T MIND IF I DO, Betty Benson Spiegel who always liked to be where the action was, in actuality, was too modest to admit the action was wherever she showed up.
After her husband’s death, Mrs. Spiegel moved back to Virginia Beach and married her second husband, Mr. David Resnik. He was the agent to many celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman… just to name a few. Betty and David were the happiest two people I’ve ever known. They were like little kids around one another.
I believe Betty’s only earthly nightmare happened when David died. She was already eighty-two and broken to pieces for the first time as she put it, “I’m too old to get over this Alis.”
I laid next to her as she moved the mahogany box filled with David’s ashes, and rested my head on what would’ve been David’s pillow. Betty was bedridden. She rarely left her bed, only to cruise around in her electric wheelchair. We talked for a long time.
I finally discovered her main torment when she said, “I’ll miss him eternally.” I said, “Honey, God’s grace and mercy will take care of this. Please don’t worry.” That’s when she told me she wasn’t a believer; that she didn’t know God. I said, “Sure you do…and I’ll prove it to you.” She looked at me with this “You must be the craziest person I have ever known…” kind of look. I didn’t let her looks intimidate me. I asked, “Did you love David with all of your heart? Did you do all you could to see him happy?” She answered, “Of course I did.” Then I asked, “Where do you think that love came from? You know God is love…and love is God. Without Him, we could never experience the limitless and unconditional love…” No one had ever told her that, in order to experience one of God’s attributes, we must possess a portion of Him inside of us. She was bewildered, yet hopeful all at the same time. So I offered the prayer of salvation, and told her she didn’t need to repeat after me, so long as she was in agreement with me. At the end of the prayer, I heard her deep sigh, as she said, “Amen.”
Betty Benson Spiegel Resnik was instantly filled with joy and gratefulness. With tears streaming down her sunken cheeks, she said, “God is good.” She continued to call me two three times a week to keep me up to date with all of the awful news about this world, since she knew I didn’t watch TV. And I still don’t. She kept telling me about her constant prayers over those poor innocent people who were struck with the disasters of this fallen world.
I believe Betty noticed them because of the intense darkness she experienced after her husband’s death. And I believe her prayers made a difference. We might shun the shadows of this world; but often, they are necessary elements that lead us to the sunlight. Betty lived another two years after that, and continued to grow as a prayer warrior. I miss her for the time being but never eternally. I know where she is.