This is my friend, DeAnn 1939645_497216707049072_1772848432_o

She died last night.  I checked Facebook for any clue to who Negan was going to kill in the 7th season premiere of the Walking Dead  and the notification filled the page.  DeAnn fought a long battle with liver disease along with other health struggles and God finally called her home last night.

I know that God called her home because DeAnn was one of those people for whom heaven is created.  Never a mean word crossed her tongue.  And she had plenty of reasons to say mean words.  When I met her she was married to a selfish, cruel man.  Despite his public and private mistreatment of her, she was a faithful wife until she was finally able to divorce him.  Still, she never spoke of him in negative terms; not even 20 years later.

She loved children and she so desperately wanted them.  God had different plans for her; so, although she never had her own, she loved other people’s children that much more.

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She was a good friend.  Loyal, kind, cheerful. She laughed often and her laughter was sweet and genuine like the ringing of a little bell.  Her eyes were always kind and her hands were always busy.  She was forever crafting or writing notes and emails to her friends.  If her Facebook wall is a legacy – which is how we communicated these last few years: her in Idaho, me in Missouri – it is a legacy of positivity, encouragement, humor and grace.  DeAnn is the kind of person I strive to be – that we all should strive to be.  She found joy in small things, and never in the pain of others.  She found peace in a world that was not kind to her.  That unkindness never dimmed her enthusiasm for life and her joy in serving others.

I regret a good many things in my life. I regret most of all not being a better friend to DeAnn.  That I am not a better friend to all the DeAnns I’ve been blessed with.  Dear Ones, please.  If you have a DeAnn in your life, be good to them.  Try to be a DeeAnn to others.  Love without judging.  Laugh long and hard and often.  Give without expecting anything in return.  Speak only love.  Find your peace in the love of God.  The world needs more DeAnns and we just lost the best one.

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Cheerful and hopeful and just days before her death.  October 2016.

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