As time went on, Debbie and I struck up a friendship. I learned that in addition to the qualities already outlined, Debbie was warm, thoughtful, and wise. The incredible love she felt toward her husband radiated from the e-mails she sent me, and I soon learned to respect this wonderful lady immensely, and before long she was also a confidante. We would share our frustrations, we'd share laughs, and we were just there for each other. In July, she was the first person with whom I shared an extremely important aspect of my life, which was then just developing, and I found in her an ally and an encourager.
Debbie has long had health problems. The utter lack of bitterness she displayed despite tremendous odds against her was inspirational, to say the least. She was so grateful for the love and support of her husband and her friends, and she had a laudable zest for life when many lesser people would have turned their head to the wall and done their best to shut out the world. I consider Debbie a role model, a mentor, and a very dear friend.
I just learned that Debbie died in her sleep after a biking accident burst a blood vesel in her brain. She leaves behind her family, who have lost a loving wife and mother: a strong yet sensitive person who touched many, many lives and will be missed by all who really knew her. My prayers go out to Tom and the kids. Your loss is shared by many, just as Debbie's life was shared by many. you are not alone, we grieve with you.