As a child, Wendy was curious. Loving. Sometimes opinionated. Fragile when it came to matters of self-doubt. But fiercely competitive and intellectually stimulating. Also caring. She loved all animals, especially her dogs. She even had a pet rabbit that hopped freely around her apartment.
Her zest for living led her to embrace adventure. She screamed in delight when she rode wild roller coasters. She learned to scuba dive. She jumped into soccer, hockey, both as player and coach. Physical activity was integral to her lifestyle.
Two sons, each an essential part of Wendy’s life, enriched the couple. As the boys grew, so did she, volunteering in her community as a coach and, among other contributions, a voice for those unable to help themselves. She was recognized for her selfless actions with several awards.
At the same time, she embraced an exacting and exciting career in scientific research. Her attention to detail led to co-authoring several scientific publications.
Life was full.
The little girl, who captivated everyone with her enthusiasm for life, died this month at age 47.
Wendy is my beloved niece.
I cannot fathom the desolate heartache her close family suffers at this time: her grieving husband and two young sons, my devoted sister and her husband, and Wendy’s brother and his wife.
"You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love, and go on."
*British poet and artist David Harkins