It's been a long week since our beloved Renee got her official Senior Angel wings. It's not the same without her, and yet thankfully she is free of pain.
I've been fascinated by the number of truly special relationships Renee had among her blog friends. It strikes me that each one was uniquely different--some informative, some playful, some supportive, some spiritual--and that has given me an idea for how we can come together to honor her and help her family and ourselves.
I know many of us want to somehow reach out, express our grief , our caring, our love for Renee and her family. For myself, I've found comfort in reading about WHAT she did and HOW she managed to connect so privately with so many, how she managed to reach right into all our hearts and take permanent residence there.
.I believe Renee had a special ability to figure out what essentially mattered to each of us and try her best to support that. Every time I hear how she has helped someone or changed their life in some way, I feel closer to her and it makes me even prouder to call her Friend.
So I'm thinking: what if we put together a collective "book" that consists of our stories about our relationships with Renee? The more specific, the better. For example, what did Renee offer you? How did she let you know how much you mattered to her?
Did she rave about your art or poems or personal courage? Help you with resources? Restore your hope? Teach you about treatment alternatives? Encourage you to find your voice? Play with you in a special fantasy? Send you words or gifts or healing thoughts that made a difference?
I am inviting anyone, everyone who wants to and can to write and share your own story about your relationship with Renee, and I will try to organize the steps needed to create a chapbook for her family and anyone who wants a copy. I hope this could be a treasure, a comfort to keep forever.
I am not sure how to incorporate graphics, artwork, images, both in terms of size and cost. But that will come later, as our project unfolds. For now, you may leave your story and images here on my blog and I will copy it into a collective book, or email it to me at karenjasper@ comcast.net, or you may leave a comment here directing me (and others) to your blog, and I will copy-paste from there.
I own a very tiny publishing company that has published one book--my own--so I know alittle something about how to put a collection together. If it turns out to be a chapbook (e.g. 16 or 32 pages, folded in half, and stapled to bind it together), I think I can handle that myself.
If the response is great, and it becomes clear we are taking about something more substantial, I will outline our options and arrange the help needed to move from text and layout to a finished book of some kind. If needed I may ask for a contribution of $ 5 or so from anyone who can help. But, again, that will come later.
Now the first step is to write about and share what Renee meant to you and why, perhaps how you came to know her, how she touched you. And of course what you wanted to give back to her. (Renee told me her blog friends were her three pack a day habit: one she would never want to give up. If you do not know with certainty how much you meant to her, let me assure you the last year of her life was made purposeful and fun and wonderful and tolerable because of YOU).
The second step is to spread the word. Please feel free to mention this on your blog, and contact friends and followers of Renee's who would not know of this idea otherwise.
You can leave your story via a comment on any of my posts, or you can email me. In a couple of weeks, I'll let everyone know how this idea is unfolding. There is no pressure to rush your contriubtion. This will take some time to pull together, so when you can, just let me know whether and when you will be submitting something. Please try to limit your words to a page or less, to 1 or 2 or 3 paragraphs.
Feel free to wash us all in the gratitude and humor and kindness and love that is Renee. We have experienced a true angel in our lifetime. I have a feeling our sharing with one another will do us all a world of good. And I know this will be another We-Treasure-You for Renee's Wahid, their children, grandchildren, sisters and brothers and friends near and far.