In Loving Memory

Sylvia G. Bullock

Tributes from those who love Sylvia

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Mrs. Sylvia G. Bullock passed away on Saturday, August 4, 2018.

Mrs. Bullock grew up in Bethel where she graduated from Bethel High School. She attended Meredith College and received an Associate Assistant Degree from Lenoir Community College. She retired from employment with East Carolina University where she worked at the Children’s Developmental Services Agency.

Mrs. Bullock is preceded in death by her parents, Bruce and Melvin Gardner, Jr.

She is survived by; husband, Marty Silverthorne; three sons, David Bullock and wife Jo, Chris Bullock and wife Selam, and Michael Bullock and wife Tu; sisters, Terry Clark and Diane Adams; and grandchildren, Catherine, Chloe, Sarah, Sophie, Gabrielle, and Brody.


As told by Mary Silverthorne, November 8th, 2018 in Greenville, North Carolina.

When we met, I was broken,
My mother was carrying me to doctor appointments. I was 30 years old.
And you were a receptionist, interested in my books and my writing.
And I was broken; I wasn’t interested in anything.

And you wrote me a letter
and you wanted to come over…

And later you answered an ad in the paper for a job, and you came to my apartment.
I was writing a poem about Vietnam and watching Full Metal Jacket.
I was sure the cussing would run you away. I was embarrassed about that side of me.
But you stayed…
And you picked me up
piece by

in five months we were sharing a little house off of Arlington Street.
It was so warm and cozy. It was home.
I could feel it.
But I was frightened.

You asked me every night before you put me in the bed, “Is there anything else?”
I didn’t know what that meant, and I was afraid to ask.
I was lonely, broken, but I could feel you caring, and I was afraid.

On November 28, 1989, I got the courage to ask you to be my girlfriend.
And we fell in love hard—high school love!
You taught me how to love.

I had dated young girls, but never a woman… and I was changed.
You met all of my needs.

And continued.

We moved in ‘90 to our first townhouse, and we lived.
Poetry readings, concerts, flea markets, movies, family.
You made everything possible.

Never saying no to any of my harebrained ideas—like
driving through the swamp, catching the ferry.
And you were afraid, but you came anyway.

Not many roads in eastern North Carolina that we didn’t travel
looking for herons, ditch flowers, taking pictures of old barns and houses.
You loved horses and remember writing at Meredith.
You were teaching me and I was an eager student.

You brought the boys home—David, Chris, Michael—and
our “love shack” began to be a family place.
Christmases with Dr. Seuss and the Grinch.
You were bells around your neck
and snowman earrings.
Kids loved your Pimento cheese and chicken salad.
We drank coffee by the urn-full.

Years slipped by.
We buried your mother and father;
my mother, my father, my brother.
Michael got married.
Chris got married.
Michael got divorced,
and Michael brought Chloe to our house; the game changer.

It saved us.
We were broken, drifted apart.
But Chloe’s eyes and funny little speech—calling you “an-ma”
Calling me “mar mar.”
Daddy was a “reem” (not a Marine).

We were healed.
We took our roles as grandparents seriously.

Chris brought us Sarah and Sophie,
two quiet, beautiful, cerebral mixed children;
eyes so deep brown you got lost in them.

And then the world started to change.
I was getting sick.
And you were tired, never complaining
but wilting—slipping away.

Nothing I could do could reverse it.

And I saw you last August 3, 2018 at five o’clock,
when I left to come back home and prepare a place for you
once you were discharged from hospital…

and you never came back home.

I never saw you again, but your blue eyes have never left me.

And the nights of lovemaking at Arlington Circle are the things dreams are made of.

And caring for me when I was broken are the memories that made me push on.
There’s so much I don’t know about life and the hereafter.
But I know one thing:
Wherever butterflies are dancing, you are there, inviting me to come out and play.