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Renee – A remembrance and tribute to love..and loss

Recently, I was given the opportunity to provide a remembrance at a memorial for my dear friend’s wife, who was taken from us far too early. It was my tribute to their extraordinary love…and to his new found pain. 

I didn’t get a chance to know Renee as well as I would have liked, but as David’s Executive Assistant and as his friend, I did have the pleasure of getting to know her through his eyes.

I know that she was beautiful, intelligent, and strong. She loved the arts, especially ballet. She went to school at Texas A&M and maintained that fighting Aggie spirit throughout her entire life. I know she was a dedicated Aggie, so much so she made David a convert when he actually attended Baylor and UT. 

I know that sometime last summer on a flight from DC she sat in front of a woman who launched into a lengthy rant criticizing Texas for this and for that. Upon landing in Austin, Renee promptly stood up, turned to the passenger and politely told her exactly what she could do with her complaints about our great home state. She was a proud Texan and as David would say, much as she loved DC she was a Texan at heart.

In some marriages the honeymoon phase lasts one, maybe two years tops. Not the case for Renee. David remained absolutely smitten with her – 23 years strong. I think that says something about a marriage, it speaks volumes about theirs.

In every story David told about Renee, it was evident how much he adored her. With each story the rest of the wives in our office listened with awe and envy that any wife had a husband that raved about her beauty as much as David did her.

I finally asked him, “Are you even aware that you’re making the rest of our husbands look bad?” He replied in all honesty, “Maria, don’t you think that your husband does the same thing? Tell everyone how great you are?” We happened to be driving and it took all of me not to stop the car and say, “No, David, I do not believe my husband goes around telling his friends and co-workers how beautiful I am. I can’t even get him to notice my hair. So no, I think that’s just something you do.”

And that’s what Renee did for David, she made him want to be the best kind of husband: loyal, attentive, doting. And he was, for her he was.

Since November, several times a week and some weeks everyday David walks into my office or sends me a random message telling me how much he wants to call Renee to tell her how his day went, that he landed safely from his flight, or about the great news he just heard. And it is something painful to hear him add with such a sense of loss, “But I can’t, Maria. I can’t call her to tell her anything because she’s not here. She’s just not here anymore.”

This is when I have to remind him not to worry, that somewhere up there she’s looking down on him, looking out for him still, and I’m certain she already knows.

I appreciate Renee for who she was as a person, what she meant to her family and friends and to the people whose lives she touched through her work with the Head Start Program, and for the amazing love she gifted David with. We should all be so lucky to have a Renee in our lives, and I am ever grateful that David did.

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