I had the privilege of seeing Rene and spending some special time with her yesterday. As Kristen and Jay have mentioned, she is communicating more with her eyes and gestures than she is with words, yet nothing has been lost in this way of communicating. We all know Rene to be such a stellar communicator and because of this, somehow, there is more depth and more meaning in the few words that she does choose to say and the gestures she makes.
I am so humbled and honored to be considered a part of the family and I feel it so powerfully in times like this. When I drove over yesterday, I wasn't sure whether I would even be able to see her for more than just a minute or two, but I wanted to be close, if even for a short time. My time with Rene was so special, and the words that were shared between us will stay with me forever. I have been having a hard time trying to sort out the emotions that arise when I recall our conversation and time together. There are many, but the following three keep coming to the forefront.
I experience sadness. Sadness that Rene won't be with us, physically, every day. Sadness that Kristen, who is more like a sister to me than my own, will not have her mom here to live life with every day - and all that that entails. Sadness that Christopher is losing his best friend and wife. Sadness that her dear cousin Nancy, is losing her best friend and 'sister'. Sadness that Honey and Al are losing their baby girl. There is much to be sad about, yet, even in the midst of this sadness, there is so much more to be thankful for and so much more to focus on.
I am experience pride. Pride in being able to call this woman 'mom' and friend. Pride in knowing that she has lived and IS living with so much love - when we are trying to lavish it upon her, she is lavishing it upon us. Pride in knowing and reading how she has touched each of your lives. Pride (and maybe a twinge of jealousy) in knowing that she will be before Jesus soon.
I am experience awe. Awe of WHO Rene is, not only in my life, but in the lives of so many of you. Awe of the woman she is, the friend, the wife, and the mother she is. What an amazing mother she has been to Kristen - and to me, and to so many. Awe of the pillar that she is in the family. Awe that she is choosing to live this life, her last moments of it, with such love and such grace. Awe that in the face of tragedy she is exhibiting strength and peace - and in turn she is giving strength and peace.
While I will not share all of what we talked about in my time with her, I did, however, want to share a bit of it. The moment I walked in her room, she opened her eyes and raised her hand for me to hold. She focused her eyes on me and instantly all I could do was tell her how much I love her, how proud of her I am, how amazing she is and her response was, "I love you, I love you, I love you." I thanked her for being such a fabulous mom to Kristen, which I know she loved hearing as she said, "Love. Love. Love." I prayed for her. I told her about all of you...how many people love her and how many people are thinking of and praying for her and she put her hand on her heart. I asked, "Do you have a happy heart right now?" (that is something I ask my 3 1/2 year old daughter quite often and Rene always loved that saying). She nodded and continued to pat her heart and hold my hand. She really does have a happy heart.
She is choosing her happy heart by choosing love. She is continuing to love all of us (you included) in this time. You give her a happy heart. I think it is safe to say that she has and continues to give all of us happy hearts. Rene doesn't want us to be sad. She wants us to choose joy, to choose love, and to choose a happy heart. It is much easier said than done, living this simple statement, and choosing a happy heart. But we can choose these things, now and in the future. We can choose to live each day to the fullest and with great joy and love. When we do this, we are honoring Rene and the person she is.
Thank you for your love and support of the family, and thank you for being part of Rene's life. Your thoughts, prayers, notes, and comments have been so encouraging. For those of you who have asked, there are tangible ways to help. Please note the support tabs on the side bar. If you have any pictures of Rene, any pictures at all, please pass them along to Kristen. They are going to make a book or slide show of Rene's life. And what a rich life it has been! If you would like to donate financially, you can do so, (anonymously if you choose), by clicking the donate button. If you would like to provide a meal for the family, please click on the link in the meal support tab. Please do continue to pray, send letters, and place comments. Rene receives them all.
Here's to choosing a happy heart when we would rather choose anger and sadness!
We love you Rene!