Renee showed me so many things, both through her example and through her wonderful way with words.
She showed me that it is fine to remember the past – but not to dwell there.
She showed me that is good to look to the future – but that there are no guarantees.
Most importantly, she showed me that it is best of all to appreciate and to live, as fully as possible, each day we are given – because it's all we really have.
She made me want to be a better person, and to follow my dreams.
I feel so blessed to know her, especially during the last year of her life.
Each one of her blog posts is a gift to anyone who comes across them. And they are a treasure to all of us whom she called her friends. But I really see each of these posts as a precious love letter to her family. Whether she was writing about her memories, her funny family stories, her tributes to her beloved family members, or her love of learning or reading or art or music or food or Christmas, she was giving those dearest to her a little piece of herself. These were the things that were important to her, and she knew she wouldn't live to say many of them to her dear, dear family when they would need to hear them.
I was just lucky enough to be able to read them and learn from them, too.
Renee's life was much too short, but the impact she had on me, and on many others, is huge. She showed me that, when all is said and done, LOVE is all that matters. And she was LOVE.
Renee gave me many things, and I will keep them, and her, in my heart forever. I only hope I gave her a fraction of what she gave me.