Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blog Dedication - In memory of Deb


We just returned from a weeklong sojourn to the Chicago area. We laid to rest my brothers wife, my beloved Siser-in-law, Deb, after her 2 1/2 year battle with colon cancer. Deb was a frequent commenter to this blog, and a very dear personal friend to me.

Growing up, I recall how my brother, Steve and I were inseparable. We were 11 months apart in age, so whether I liked it or not, he was always there. We played and laughed together, cried together, fought with each other, and experienced life's ups and downs together, but one thing was for sure - he always had my back.

We have a special bond that eludes many siblings, and no matter how busy we get, how immersed in our own lives we become, when Steve and I talk - we are just the same 2 kids playing under a sprinkler in Pittsburgh.

When Steve started dating, I always felt in a subconscious sort of way that I had an official power of "veto" over his dates. As you can imagine, there were many "veto's" through the years, but when Steve introduced us to Debbie, that all changed. When our family met Deb, we fell in love with her too. How could you not? Her smile was electric, her optimism was inspiring- but best of all, she laughed heartily at my jokes - even the not so good ones. I was almost as happy as my brother the day he made her his wife. On that day, Deb became a sister to me in every sense of the word.

Last Monday, Deb sent my brother away from her hospital bed. She told him to go home and get some much needed sleep. Around midnight, she rang the call bell for the nurse and the nurse assisted her to the restroom. Upon returning her to bed, Deb, true to form, hugged the nurse and told her she loved her. Sometime within the next hour she answered the call from Our Lord. She left behind my brother, her beloved husband of nearly 20 years, her daughter and my God-child, Steph, 16, and my nephew, Jim, 13.

Debbie was someone who always put everyone else's needs above her own. Even as her life's journey was nearing it's end, her only concern was for the comfort and peace of those who loved her. Her grace and dignity will be legendary in our family. In fact, when the girls in our family talk, we have coined new phrases. To be "Debbie-like" means, to do the right thing. "What would Debbie do?" is our code phrase for -"What is the right decision in this case?" Debbie has shown by example that there is a higher plateau of spirituality and behavior - but a level that few of us achieve.

Jimmy, Stef, and Steve - You have many difficult days ahead of you. There will be times when you will feel you cannot bear your despair. It will be at these moments, that if you close your eyes, open your heart and soul, lift your hands to the Heavens - you shall feel Debbie's presence. Listen to her words soothe you, feel her hands stroking you, she will be there with you. Just trust in the Lord and trust in her. She will feel your pain and stand beside you to to comfort you.

Jim and Stef, in a few short years you will be heading off to college. Many exciting opportunities await you. It will be frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. Often you will be faced with some significant decisions. Your mother has helped to prepare you to make the right ones. It will be her spirit that guides you as you choose appropriately. There will be times that you make a wrong decision. She will still be there beside you, you just might not be listening.

I predict there will be times when you feel angry that life and God took your Mom and your wife away too soon. We are only human, so do not deny or feel guilt over these feelings. Just remember that in life, she experienced the most profound joy, the deepest of love, the most spiritual of understandings. All of this has been her gift to the world. Debbie has changed all of our lives, and we will never be the same. She has passed her torch to two shining stars, who I have no doubt will proudly carry her grace and wisdom in to the future and beyond.

From this day forward, every breath I take, every word I write, I will strive to live to her standard. I dedicate my entire blog, past, present and future, to her memory. May she rest in eternal peace.

16 comments:

Sidneysmom said...

Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute.

Jennifer said...

Diane,
That was a really lovely post. It seriously brought tears to my eyes. My thoughts are with your family at this difficult time.
Jennifer

Billy Dennis said...

My condolences to your and your family.

Diane Vespa said...

Thank you, Jen and Sidneysmom. It took me over a week after her passing before I could even attempt to write about her. She was truly the kindest person I have ever known.

Tim said...

Diane, so sorry to hear about your loss. Your description makes me feel like I knew her. My thoughts are with you..

Mary said...

Diane--- My thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time, from your words you were truly honored to have her be a part of your lives as she will continue to be in your heart and memories.

newsanchormom.com said...

Diane, That was such a heartfelt post that I am sure your brother will cherish. I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Jen

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute indeed
In Deb's memory
God Bless you!!!!!
Love you Diane!!
We have each others back!

tls1995 said...

Diane,
You made me cry reading your tribute to a obviously special person to you. My prayers are with you and her family.
Terri

ImaSwede said...

Diane,

What a beautiful post. I am sure she appreciated you as a sister, It is obvious you loved her.

Thank you for sharing your loving, personal thoughts. Life is short and when someone close to us passes, it is a lesson to let those in our lives whom we love know every day! Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Diane,
How well you have expressed the impact that Debbie had on our lives. Now, we who continue in this world, should try to emulate the example of the Christ-following life she displayed so well. God bless you!!!

Lisa said...

Diane,
I was Googling Deb to see if I could find the article from the Hampshire paper on Thursday, when I came across your blog. Debbie was my partner in crime in Mary Kay. Well, not real crime, but just down-to-earth, real people fun pretend crime. I enjoyed absolutely every minute I spent with her over the past ten years- not enough time, to be sure. Our madcap fun ranged from sharing elevators to sharing hotel beds at seminars to sharing our innermost thoughts on just about anything. I cannot imagine the loss that Steve, Steph, Jimmy and your family must be feeling. I was out of the country last week and unable to attend her visitation. I'll be in touch with Steve and the kids, but I wanted to express my condolences to you as well.
Most sincerely,
Lisa Eby

Patrice DeLaurentis said...

Diane,
You don't know me but I was sent your blog by a friend of Debs mother. Claudia went out with my father for a few years so her and I got to be very close. I was very touched by your tribute to Deb and I just want to express my sympathy to your brother and his family.
Patrice

Anonymous said...

Diane,
My condolences to you and your family. You're in my prayers.
Terri K.

Anonymous said...

my heart goes out to you and your brother and his kids. i pray the Lord give you all peace and strength to get through this.

-lily

Christi said...

There really are no words Diane... Just know we all love you and care that all goes well. You truly are a wonderful friend for me as well as your brother and all who's lives you touch. Debbie was lucky to have you in her life. Albeit way to short.