Beginnings and endings

Honeymoon departure 7D_3013_StaatsI write this entry with a heavy heart.  Last weekend we journeyed south to the Kansas City area to celebrate the wedding of my brother and his new bride.  A second marriage for both of them, they had found happiness and joy and the excitement of their shared future.  Their honeymoon was planned to be a motorcycle ride along the North Shore of Minnesota – an area of pines, and water, and beautiful scenery.  They headed out from our house Tuesday morning and had the time of their lives as they traveled along the shore of Lake Superior.  But the joy turned to sadness in an instant when the bride had a massive stroke on Wednesday morning.  Emergency responders were there quickly and she was airlifted to a trauma center in Duluth.  My brother and I spent the next 36 hours finding our way amongst doctors, surgeons, phone calls and text messages with family out-of-state, and organ donation procedures.  In the end, the damage to my sister-in-law’s brain was too extensive and she passed away on Thursday.  We are all struggling with this untimely change of fate and the sudden slide from the joy of a wedding to the pain of a death.  I mourn the loss of my sister-in-law; a delightful woman who was up to any challenge, who loved her sons and her new extended family, who enjoyed fishing, and who was so very much in love with my brother.  And I mourn the loss to my brother who was so happy with his new bride and looking forward to their future life and adventures together.  I know that the pain will diminish with time, but the hurt is still fresh from these contracted few days.

16 thoughts on “Beginnings and endings

  1. Rex Hamann September 8, 2013 / 9:34 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. But it goes well beyond this. I simply cannot put into words my sadness over what has happened to you and your family. I understand how difficult it is on some small level. My cousins in northern Wisconsin have had to deal with similar tragedies, a string of them, in fact, and we’re all too familiar with gathering for funerals. That said, my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing what must have been a very difficult thing to share. I hope you are OK.

    • lindastaatsphoto September 8, 2013 / 9:44 am

      Thanks for your thoughts Rex. I know we will all learn tough life-lessons from this, and that life will move on. Time is supposed to be a good healer, so we will rely on that and the knowledge that my sister-in-law lives on with her organs that were donated to others.

  2. Emily September 8, 2013 / 12:33 pm

    Lovely remembrance. I am so sorry for your loss, Linda. Thinking about you and your family.

    • lindastaatsphoto September 8, 2013 / 8:40 pm

      Thanks for your kind words and thoughts, Emily. It’s much appreciated.

  3. Joe Auten September 8, 2013 / 12:50 pm

    Beautiful tribute, Linda. It’s difficult to accept what happened when two dear friends found love and had such a bright future together. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten. I have to believe the donor recipients who will live on because of Wendy’s generous spirit will be greatly blessed and have a purpose we may not see. My heart aches for Doug, and this loss we are all feeling, but one day I believe we will understand it as it is revealed. Doug, obviously has a tremendous family and friend network, and we will grieve with him and lift him and your family in prayer. Joe Auten

    • lindastaatsphoto September 8, 2013 / 8:48 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Joe. We’re all reeling from the events of this week and trying hard to find meaning. My heart goes out to both families, and to all the friends and people that Wendy has touched. In her own quiet way she made an impact on everyone. As you do, I trust that her organs help those who received them, and that we will find an understanding sometime in the future. Thanks for your kindness and true friendship with both Doug and Wendy.

  4. Keitha Hamann September 8, 2013 / 2:07 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how difficult this boomerang of emotions has been for all of you. I’m happy to hear that Wendy’s spirit will live through her organ donations; what a fabulous legacy this. I will be lifting you up in my thoughts and prayers over the weeks to come.

  5. lindastaatsphoto September 8, 2013 / 8:51 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, Keitha. We are all trusting that the people who’ve received the organ donations thrive and live meaningful and happy lives, furthered by one person’s gift.

  6. Margaret September 9, 2013 / 2:33 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss and the so difficult journey through the maze of meaning. There is comfort in knowing new life and enhanced health will occur for the recipients of her generousity – and the passage of time does help – but the sadness is so real now. Love to you, your brother, and both families.

    • lindastaatsphoto September 9, 2013 / 7:50 pm

      Thanks, Margaret. We are all searching for ways to heal and one of those is knowing that my sister-in-law was generous even in death and that others are benefiting for the gifts she gave.

  7. Bonnie Meeks September 9, 2013 / 10:58 pm

    Linda, What a beautiful tribute to Wendy you put together. I still remember her telling me she was going to meet Doug for lunch and then meeting Doug for lunch for the first time. Wendy and I talked several times a week and sometimes several times a day. I have never seen her so happy since I’ve known her. She was a very devoted mother and always tried to do what was best for Aaron and Lake. Wendy was so excited about marrying Doug and gaining his children as part of her family. I am so happy she met Doug and was able to leave this world so happy but I am so sad for Doug and her boys and all her family and yours. She spoke highly of Doug’s (your) family and was thrilled she was getting to be part of it. She was also a very devoted daughter and loved her parents dearly. Wendy can now be with her brother and we can miss her the way she would miss him.

    • lindastaatsphoto September 11, 2013 / 8:48 pm

      Bonnie – you’ve summed up everything so well. Wendy and Doug were so excited to be combining their lives and families, and everything fit together so well. They were having the time of their lives on their honeymoon — laughing, joking, and enjoying the scenery and time with one another. And that’s what we’re all trying to focus on right now. It’s so good to hear how happy she was with Doug, and I know that he was the same with her. Thanks for your friendship with Wendy. She is missed by so many.

  8. Beth September 10, 2013 / 12:34 pm

    Oh my Linda, Beth and I are sad to her your news and our thoughts are with you and your family. Hugs from a far, Beth and Kevin.

  9. Reba Cain September 10, 2013 / 9:10 pm


    I am so sad for you and your brother. I cannot even imagine the feelings you are having now – what a shocking turn of events . Sending loving thoughts and reiki to help you move through this tramatic circumstance.


  10. lindastaatsphoto September 11, 2013 / 8:54 pm

    Thanks for your hugs and thoughts, Beth & Kevin. It’s been a roller-coaster of a week and we’re all trying to move forward. Family and friends have been so very supportive, and we’re thankful to all of them (and you!).

  11. Cindy Racine September 16, 2013 / 5:06 pm


    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful tribute to your sister-in-law. I cannot begin to imagine all that you have gone through in recent days. I love your optimism, it must help comfort your brother as well. We can all be thankful that she had the wedding she so wanted and found love with your brother. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this most difficult time. If there is anything I can do please let me know.


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