My last visit to Wendy, just days before she passed, was a bittersweet reunion. I brought my infant son for her to meet, and even though she couldn’t see him, I took her hand and rested it on his head, and for those few short minutes I know she knew we were there. On that same day, we reminisced about the years gone past, looking at old photos and laughing as the memories that resurfaced. I like to think that Wendy was laughing with us.
Wendy did not go alone when she passed - she took with her a piece of everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. I told Wendy that she will shine again someday… but I was wrong, she never stopped shining. Wendy sparked something in everyone she met, and that flame lives on in all of us.
For Wendy, the suffering is over. For those left to mourn her passing, the journey is just beginning. The hardest thing for a person to do is to helplessly watch someone you love die, and I now pay tribute to one person who stayed by Wendy’s side throughout her entire battle. I remember Wendy’s and Greg’s wedding, and how Wendy toasted Greg. She said she’d have never made it even that far without him by her side. And then when her illness recurred, he was still there, always by her side until the end. So now I pay tribute to Greg. For Greg, a new journey is just beginning. It won’t be an easy ride, but know that you are not alone. You are being thought of and remembered as you go forward with your life.
Finally, my heartfelt condolences go out to Wendy’s family… Frankie, Janice, Kelli and John, and to the extended family and friends - too many of us to name. Life is a gift, one that is so easily taken away without warning. There is no fairness or justice in it, and there is nothing positive surrounding it – it simply just sucks. May it bring us some small measure of comfort knowing that Wendy’s pain is over, and may memories of her ease the pain and emptiness we feel inside.
Editor's note: Greg wouldn't have made it without the support of Wendy's family, too. Fran was by her side as much as I was in that final week and through much of the final five months. Kelli was there almost as much and the most of the rest of entire extended family made the trip to see us and support us.