Unexpectedly though, this past June someone I thought so highly of, who I have spent many happy hours with, has died. Debbie Blanchard was one of the strongest women I've met. She was so full of life and light. Her joy and laughter were fierce and contagious. I find it a bit ironic that one of the things she was so adamant about, self-respect, was ultimately the reason for our so infrequent contact the last five years. Once I started to take back my self-respect and power, I realized I had to put some distance between myself and the person that brought Debbie and I together. I am sorry for that. I have wished many times that I had tried harder to keep the connection with Debbie current. I wish so even more now.
Debbie was an avid photographer. Her photos have been published and she was active in local photographers groups. She did everything with such gusto! I used to be on her and Jim's team in the bowling league. What fun that was! I will also never forget all the times we'd sit at the table and drink wine and eat cheeses and such and talk, just talk and talk. And of course laugh ourselves silly. Or the time she called seemingly out of the blue to see if I wanted to go with her and Jim on a Missouri wine tour. We just drove around in the country stopping at three or four different wineries and sampling their wines.
There are so many things about her to remember and love. Her jungle of house plants! But also I remember how much Jim adored her! My heart breaks for him. I hope fervently, and feel pretty sure having met many of their friends, that he will have friends there for him at every turn. She has left behind many many grieving hearts. How could we not grieve the loss of such a force of nature? But knowing Deb, she also wouldn't want us to sit around driveling. She would be glad to know that she has left us with so many things to celebrate about her life. She never hesitated to share her loves and passions with those around her, I intend to do the same. This life should be enjoyed to the fullest possible, and that joy should be shared.
Thank you Debbie, for being the strong, independent, and hilarious woman that I knew, you are missed and shall be for years and years to come.