Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Renee & YOU

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@, 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.



  1. KJ, I know that I want to be a part of this. I will write my story within the next day or so and send it to you. I know YOU above everyone, knows how much she meant to me and what she (and you) did for me. I still sit here and cry, thinking of her and missing her oh so very much.

  2. I too want to be a part of this and will put something together for you very soon.
    Thank you for this wonderful chance for us all to tell the world about our senior angel. I too have moments of deep regret and loss.
    Of times when I say "oh I have got to tell Renee this".
    I miss you angel! I love you my pretty.
    Thanks so much kj!

  3. blogging has touched my life in ways i never imagined, i'm pretty sure most of us can say that.

    dear kj, this is a brilliant idea and i really feel you are the worlds most generous and compassionate person to think of it.

    renee took away my selfconsiousness (most of it!)and helped me to say I LOVE you. She helped me to learn to listen and pay attention to not what the words were saying, but the heart. i knew she always heard me. i miss her.

    i love you kj.
    thank you for doing this.

  4. KJ, once again I feel such a sadness for not having known her. I did, in those last weeks, visit her blog as you suggested and found her daughter's presence there to be really something.
    My heart aches for all of you who are mourning this dear friend. She sounded like one spectacular human being.

  5. count me in...

    i can't chat right now as i'm in the middle of preparing dinner and for some mad reason i was drawn to the computer and here i am ;)

    thanks for doing this kj...

    be well
    love to you
    Ribbon xx

  6. This is beyond brilliant, my dear. You must plan on copies for the whole family and what a treasure for Josephine and Dominic to learn about her from "strangers". I am sure I don't need to tell you that I will send you something soon.

    And yes, I love peonies and we grow them both, herbaceous and trees. But since we are a pair of maniacs we are always looking for the elusive ones. We finally found Companion of Serenity a very rare one last year and she gifted us with a magnificent bloom. This year she is already up to 18-inches and who knows what she plans for the summer.

    I do care profoundly for all living things, and I think that loud people are the vexation of the spirit. Thank you for the visit, and if you want to visit our garden go here:

    when clicking on the photos tab it will take you there.

    your friend


  7. I'll start writing something - but you know that my contribution will be my post today (if possible!)

  8. I can't say it better than Lori does, but Renee unblocked me. It's like she hit a switch and suddenly I was able to understand how powerful blogging and connecting could be. She taught me it's healthy to say I Love You if that's what you're feeling. She taught me to dance like nobody's watching, as the saying goes.

    You are so generous, and compassionate KJ, and the void Renee has left is so evident in your melancholy writing. But this is a brilliant idea, a perfect tribute to a very important friend we will never forget.

    I love you,

  9. I'd love to contribute. :) I know that Renee's family will love to read these letters, and have something to hold in hand that is a testimony to the changes and friendships she wrought in Blog World. :) Great idea, kj!!! xo Pam

  10. This is a wonderful idea. I'll get myself organised and then come back to you. And that photo! Thank you dearest.

  11. You know I'm in. There's no way I wouldn't be a part of this beautiful project. I'll help with graphics if needed. We'll work it out.
    Mim's post today was beautiful. I thought of Renee when I read it but I didn't say it. I have to go back and let her know.
    We'll talk later.

    I love you~lots ;)
    Lo ♥

  12. Dear KJ,
    I would be honoured to be a contributor for Renee's "Book of Love". We only communicated for a very short while - but - you have hit it exactly right - Renee KNEW if you had a problem, if you were in pain (physical or psychological) and immediately had the right words to say to you.

    And, of course, she taught so many of us not to be afraid to say "I Love You". What a gift! Now we can send this gift to her family.

    You are one amazing woman - and I am so happy to be your friend!

    My "story" will be on its' way to you soon.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  13. Oh, Kj, Renee would so love this and I know she is smiling where ever she is. I will be adding my bit, but it won't be long, a page or two as I did not know Renee as long as some. I am not going to rush it, but let it come when I have the proper time to give to it.
    Renee has a home in my heart forever. And so do you. Love

  14. This is so lovely. I would like to contribute. Renee is still here, as she said she would be. Just the other day I found out my job is in the midst of a corporate take over and I clearly FELT Renee say, now Deb, you can be a baby about this and cry, or you can figure out where to go from here. So I'm figuring it out. Thank you for doing this for the family. I know that it will mean the world to them. **blows kisses** Deb

  15. What a gift this will be for Renee's family. And what a wonderfully warm, caring woman you are to think of it!

    This is something like projects we do with patients...we'll write their story and put photos in. It adds to closure, I think.

  16. What a beautiful idea kj, this will be a great step in the healing process for everyone. Once again I wish I had known Renee - but I'll just have to watch what everyone else contributes.

  17. I would love to contribute to this book kj ~it sounds like a wonderful thing to do for Renee's family and also it would be healing to all of us that knew and loved her.

  18. i knew there was a huge reason we needed you to come home, as only you can organise something like this, only you can draw us all together from different corners of this earth to join you in honouring renee. i will definitely be doing this, with art included and let you have it -privately by e mail. love ya kj, i really do!

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  20. just a thought before i dash out the door for the day...

    what about hand written letters to make it more personal?

    love to you kj and yes i can say that freely because of my love for renee

    xoxoxo Ribbon ;)

    ps... sorry had to delete above 'cause it didn't read right xx

    word verification... chimp hen and that's exactly how i'm feeling :)
    i'm just a monkey chook

  21. sophia, good, i love knowing how much solace and support you got from renee. you can do this, sophia. let your tears be tears of gratitude. ♥

    marie, good, i know we will all benefit from honoring renee in this way, and her family will benefit too. ♥

    lori, what you have written here is very beautiful and honest. thank you. i love you too, lori, most sincerely. ♥

    lydia, renee's blog is as good a read has you could ever hope for. sometime, i recommend that you start in dec 08 at her first post. you will then know her, because she totally allowed herself, without pretention, to be known. ♥

    ribbon, ♥ yes, dear ribbon, write a letter if you wish. surely i can figure out how to scan it and include it in renee's book of love. i think this will be a fanastic contribution. love you xoxo

  22. allegra, no meaningful book could exist without your contribution. thank you, dear friend. i will soon check out your garden, with glee. ♥

    mim, a great contribution. copied already. thanks a million ms em. ♥

    eleonora, what a wonderful gift renee gave you. so you're dancing and loving. and eating! how very terrific!!! ♥

    pam, so glad you're in. you've written a beautiful tribute on your blog already. if you want to use that, or add to it, or whatever, just let me know when the time is right. ♥

    nolly, we need you to be part of this! don't want to do it without you. ♥

    chrisy, good, i'm so glad you'll contribute to renee's book of love. i look forward to whatever you provide whenever you're ready. ♥

    lo, i love you lots too. always will! thanks for your offer of help. given some of my graphic deficits, i appreciate your help already! ♥

    sweet robin, i received your story earlier today. it is so perfect. thank you so much. i'm glad to know you are considering your own blog--yay! (no pressure, you know...) :) ♥

  23. annie birthday girl, did you know renee's blog only started in dec 08? it was barely a year old when she died. the book is going to be awesome! i can tell already! ♥

    deb, i have no doubt you will figure it out. you are a competent creative woman. how comforting to know renee will offer guidance when you need it. "fuck them if they don't know how lucky they are to have you!" i know she would add that, which is true. ♥

    marion, i know it will help all of us as well as renee's family. it is my honor to get it rolling. ♥

    susan, you have been affected by renee without having "met" her. so if you want to write something, please do--you have something to say. you have 'arrived' as renee has departed. i like knowing that. ♥

    pattee, yes, good. you and the gypsy caravan meant so much to renee. you offered her quite a gallivant in her last days. what a treasure. ♥

    great joss. i'll be on the lookout for your email. i hope we have 100 of renee's friends and fans!!! ♥

    ribbon, you are a doll and you've made me laugh. here's why: i often find i can say "love to you" so much easier than i can say "i love you." i think it is the same with you. oh, by the way, i love you....


  24. No! I stole it from Renee's birthday! missed a content before today. Oh. That would be this morning. Depending on the time zone. I am sleeeeeepy.....
    **kisses** Deb

  25. deb, i tracked that cozy content poem right down!!! you write like a midlife poet. :) love love ♥

  26. KJ, this is wonderful. I cannot think of anything more precious.
    Renee is a true angel giving us all so much love and friendship.
    Write over this weekend.

    Bless you so much Karen!



  27. What a wonderful gift this will be for Renee's loved ones, dear kj! I would love to be included, but I'll have to think about what to contribute.

    I'll be in touch!

    Hugs and love, dear friend,

  28. Hi, KJ, I totally agree with you on this. Renee and her family are still so special to us.
    Feeling of so much loss, unable to send messages to one another. She is on my mind everyday.
    Renee as left us such a legacy of one another. We are coming together with the same loving goals.
    So much love you you KJ!



  29. Oh hon...I would loooove to add my Renee story to this..she meant so much to me and I agree..she had a gift for finding the gift in all of us. What a wonderful idea..I love this and want a copy when it is all done. I created an award and did an original pen and ink piece for her..don't know if that would fit in... but I would love to add my story to the mix!
    Thank you hon for doing this!!
    Hugs, Sarah

  30. Dear Karen,

    Lori brought me here, grateful to her and you.

    I posted about Renee :

    Feel free to use that. Renee understood when I shared a deep secret and felt vulnerable after, she responded by saying "we love each other dearly"; sealed my trust. Even the little things she would send like "You got me" or "You got this" after some of her cryptic/allegorical posts made us feel closer. Miss her. Always.

  31. How wonderfully thoughtful you are, dearest kj.

    It was in so many ways that Renee’s life enriched ours. I thank her for her love and friendship, for her intelligence and poise, for her vibrant irreverence and wit – and especially for her courage which was an inspiration to us all. Renee was, and will always remain a legend. She had - and still has, of that I am certain - a truly beautiful soul.

  32. i knew her through you
    but her message stayed with me

  33. KJ, this is such a brilliant and beautiful idea. Renee touched me in many ways - let me jot some thoughts down over the next couple of days and then I'll send them to you.

    Bless you - this will be an amazing gift for her family.



  34. kj, I've just posted about this on my blog and also added the book logo to my sidebar. I hope it helps!


  35. What a beautiful idea... I would definitely like to make a contribution too as Renee touched my life too.
    I will be in touch by email as I need to think on it a bit.
    Thank you so much for doing this.
    Lots of love to you.

  36. Hi, I also would like to be apart of this. Renee touched my heart in many ways. Give me a couple of days and I'll e-mail you.
    This is a wonderful thing that you're doing, you must have a very big heart as Renee did also! This will be a great honor and tribute to Renee for her family.
    Renee, I miss you, thank you...

  37. Hi KJ

    I have tried to email you and it has bounced back... can you please email me and I will reply with my story about Renee.

    jacinta.e at gmail do com


  38. Dear KJ, I'll have something ready to send to you in a weeks time...I hope this is okay...missing Renee every day...just can't get my blogging mojo back...

  39. Hi KJ. Yes I have a few thoughts and I too will jot them down and send them to you. We all have a personal experience with Renee in our hearts and soul.

  40. Renee was such a dear,dear person. I'm so sorry she had to suffer. I always looked forward to her comments on my blog. She would say, "I keep repeating myself, this is great!" and finally, I could almost see her shake her head, and afterwards she would say,"You're crazy...talented!" Her writings were always inspirational and motivational; I would gain something each day she wrote and loved reading her. I shall always miss her and know she was the center of her family.

  41. Hello dear Karen, I've at last finished an embroidery - Flying With Renee - and will email you pics. Thank you for this opportunity for us to remember our darling Renee. My love and a hug to you...

  42. Thought this might be easier Karen - have put this blog post up HERE with a photo of my embroidery 'Flying With Renee' and what it means to me. Please let me know if you need more/different photos, or really, anything else you need.

  43. Dear KJ, is it too late to participate in this? I didn't think I had anything worthwhile to add, but the more time has passed since Renee's death and realizing that I think of her every day, I thought I might like to write something for the family. If it's too late, that's fine. Sometimes it takes me a while to make up my mind... Love, Silke