I am not sure if anyone is still out there, checking this blog, but I must admit that it feels a bit cathartic to come here and talk about Rene.
The pain of missing her doesn't go away, and the pain of the family challenges which resulted from her death keep the wounds a bit gaping, but I must say that I felt spring coming on this year like warmth seeping through my pores and into my nerves. It is a warmth of new beginnings, a warmth of rebirth. It is strange not to have Rene physically present for a birth of any kind, as I thought that of all people in my life, she would be here the longest and most frequently. But she is here in my heart. I keep her close to my decision making most of all. "What would Rene do" is often a mantra that I pass through my mind, like a calm chant reminding me to think before I speak, to pause before I act, to remember that all people have their own pain that they are contending with, and that I should always remember to give them the benefit of the doubt. She has become a sort of conscious for me, but she also reminds me to think clearly for myself. To be confident. To have courage and conviction. To look to God in all things. Not that I always listen...but she knows that about me too. The thing about Rene is that she knew I wasn't perfect. She knew that she wasn't perfect. She understood and encouraged others to make mistakes, to brush themselves off and say they are sorry...to course correct. I hope to give others that liberty when I am able.
I heard from a friend at Notre Dame today who let me know that a recipient of the Rene Lepiane Student Leadership Award for 2011 was selected. I won't type her name in order to protect her privacy, but I wanted to copy a couple of lines from her essay:
"Good leaders show confidence and pride in their work. Also, they ask opinions of their peers to make better decisions. Leaders should be humble, knowing that they are not superman and cannot do everything...My experience has taught me a number of things. God's plan requires us to be strong and gives us the opportunities to become more mature. Although these chances are hard and heart-wrenching, they are worth it in the long run." - Anonymous
I am so proud to see that this type of message is coming from some of our own young women in the bay area. This gives me great hope in our future female leaders, moms, sisters, bosses. Rene tried her best to spread this type of message to all of the young people that she touched, and would be proud to know that these girls are at her very own school. She was proud of the young people in her life, and quietly revered them for the individuals that they are, and the incredible adults they will be.
I am thinking of Rene today, and thinking of all of the people whose lives she touched and those who touched her life. I hope that these words, should you read them, will give you a little boost today. Enjoy the sun and happy 4Th of July!