Sandi was interviewed on Senior Agenda for one of our Slow Down, Listen & Learn segments in early May. Afterwards, she agreed to help organize our "Author's Pavilion" for the Parkinson's Benefit on June 13th in a volunteer effort to help make the event as inviting as possible. Just four days before our signature event, Sandi returned home from a day of volunteer work to find her husband dead.
I was aware of her loss but thought it insensitive to ask if she was still planning on attending. I privately speculated that the funeral might actually be the same day as the event. Authors were contacting me asking what to do. "Did you hear about Sandi's husband?" "Is the 'Author's Pavilion' still on?" "Should we cancel out of respect for her loss?" I had only known Sandi for just over a month but something told me she would want us to plunge forward.
The day of the event, one by one the authors arrived and each inquired about whether or not I had heard from Sandi. I had not but instructed them to save her a spot just in case. "She's not coming. She is burying her husband today, " one author explained. "You are probably right, but save her a spot anyway," I replied.
Not only did she attend the event that evening, but I have watched her continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on in a way that is truly remarkable in recent weeks. She continues to promote her books, volunteer and offer words of encouragement to others. Consider her recent blog or her recent post of facebook: "Many of you have asked how I'm doing. I'm proud to say I'm vertical and breathing. I still have a vast supply of tears. I'm trying to keep up with my regular schedule as well as do what other things are expected of me. Anger, frustration, wonderment, and a variety of other feelings are present. I'm trying to turn a negative into a positive. Someday I will learn to release the parking brake, or start a lawnmower or snow thrower, or back the SUV out of the garage, or even play a CD. But right now other things have taken priority."
Sandi has shown incredible resolve, fortitude and strength in the past couple of months. She is endurance in action. She is obviously actively grieving but she is also still making her own special contributions. If you know someone like Sandi, please consider contacting her via her blog link listed above. Sharing stories is one way to keep hope alive and make it through another difficult day.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Sandi.