I’ve been unable to really share how much I miss my sister-in-law Wendy, who passed away from breast cancer on May 18th at the age of 32, and who is survived by my brother Chris and their children, Caroline and Jack, ages 6 and 4.
There is just nothing I can put into words that does justice to Wendy’s memory and conveys the sense of loss that Wendy’s family and my family feels every day. I plan to write a piece in her memory someday, but right now I still can’t do it.
Sooo, I will go back to my comfort zone and tell you about something really, really awesome that the Obama Administration and President Barack Obama did today!
A month or two ago, Chris wrote the President a letter, telling him about Wendy’s story and how she was his biggest supporter. (There were many political discussions at our dinner table over the years – my poor Republican Dad was outnumbered and Wendy was a spitfire).
Well, yesterday, one of the President’s speechwriters called my brother and told him that the President wanted him to be his guest at the speech he made today in Columbus. So my brother brought my Mom, his kids, and Wendy’s sister-in-law Becca and her son Colin down to the event this morning. They were all seated in the front row behind the President, in front of all the other special guests – they got complete VIP treatment.
So a staffer comes up to Chris and says, “the President would like to meet you and your children.”
They bring him and the kids back to a room with about 15 people in it, including the Mayor, the Fire Chief, the Police Chief, the head of Ohio Democratic party, etc. Chris said he heard the staffers whispering, “save Chris Ward and his kids for the end of the line…” So each special guest is brought over to the President, and he shakes their hands, says a few words, and shuffles them off. Chris, Caroline, and Jack are saved for last and are brought over.
Chris said that the President shook his hand, put his other hand on top of Chris’s, and said, “Hello Chris. I was very moved by the letter that you wrote me. I’m very sorry for your loss, and I know you are having a tough time, but her memory lives on in these two beautiful children.”
So Chris introduces Caroline and Jack. The President told Jack that he admired his Spider Man shoes (we all do). Chris was told by a staffer that unlike everyone else who met the President, a different photographer (probably the White House photographer) would be taking the photo. As they waited, the President said, “After I read your letter, I was going to write you back. Then I realized that I was coming to Columbus, so I wanted to meet you in person instead.” The kids were given the Presidential M&M boxes, and they took the photo. Chris and the kids were brought back to their seats and after he made his speech, the President walked over to my family and said hello to all of them.
So, I thought I would share that story (as told to me by my brother) with everyone. Even though Chris, Caroline and Jack are struggling each day to go on without Wendy, at least, for one day, they got to think about how Wendy has touched so many lives, even the President’s.
I love and miss you Wendy, and OBAMA 2012!!!