I have emerged from what turned out to be a very busy and emotional past two weeks- for several reasons.  I attended two memorials over the weekend:  one for an unfortunate and sudden passing of a colleague’s husband who was in a car accident, made exceptionally more untimely because they are expecting their first-born child in June.

The second was for a celebration of life to remember one of my longtime friends, Wayne.  He had battled Leukemia for years and lost the battle in early February this year.   Wayne’s courage and determination has inspired countless people.  The celebration of his life yesterday was just as it should have been.

Earlier this year, Wayne’s wife held a last hoorah for Wayne, at a local favorite microbrewery.  Hundreds of people showed up and stood in line to speak to him.  It’s no surprise, really.  Wayne was such a hero to so many people.  He was also the biggest Cincinnati Bengals fan I have ever met.  He might even be the only Bengals fan I’ve ever met as well.  Not many of them in Arizona.  The head coach, Marvin Lewis, got wind of Wayne and called him personally to tell him to keep up the fight and stay strong! That was such an awesome day for Wayne!photo 1 photo 2

My husband likes to remember that when we first began dating, I asked Wayne what he thought of him after they met.  Wayne told me he thought my then-boyfriend was a good guy and I should keep him around.  I did.  Best decision ever.  Thanks, Wayne.  They eventually went on to become XBOX Live cohorts, although, my husband will admit that he came nowhere near being as good at any video game as Wayne.  Wayne was awesome at video games.  The hospital, at times, would allow Wayne’s wife to bring his system into the hospital so he had something to do during the long stints he would spend there.  Sometimes, they even looked the other way when he would sneak out to go get non-hospital food from nearby with a friend.

If you’d like to read more about Wayne’s journey against cancer, you can read his wife’s blog, here.  If you feel so inclined to donate anything to help his wife offset medical costs (5+ years of fighting this garbage adds up!), do so here.

Continuing on, orange balloons were released in Wayne’s honor yesterday, and it was beautiful and serene:

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Two lives lived very differently, but both so beautifully, celebrated this past weekend.  I am a better person for having had the chance to have met and known them both.

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