Memories of Ruthanne

An album of special memories from friends and family.

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There are now 157 messages in the memory album.
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Viewing messages 51 to 55.
Garry and Linda Condon |
To Anne,Dick,Bob,Laura and Nick:

Warmth, grace, compassion, enthusiasm, and optimism immediately come to mind in recalling the times Ruthanne's and my paths crossed. We are all fortunate to have been touched by such a wonderful and caring person. As a past "Simmons Fellow" and someone who holds Anne and Dick near and dear, I also know that in Ruthanne's unfairly shortened time, she too was fortunate to have been blessed with the deepest of love and remarkable support by you...her truly amazing family.
20 November 2002 - Pittsburgh PA

Cindy Northardt |
To Ruthanne's wonderful family and friends: In my living room, there is a special place for the picture of Ruthanne from her Memorial service. Anytime I'm worrying a problem I'm facing, I look at her picture and remember her courage and bravery. Ruthanne never wasted a moment of precious life, and nor shall I from this time on. What a role model she was to all those she touched. We all are truly blessed for having known her. May the healing begin for those who grieve for her.
20 November 2002 - Randolph, Ma

Ann Kovacs
Bob, Laura and Nick,

I am feeling the loss of Ruthanne as you are. I always called her "my favorite niece" and will always think of her that way. She was beyond "great", a very special person but I'm sure you know that. Sometimes there is no justice. There is only one word or the way I feel: "MAD"

I hope you can take comfort in remembering what a special person she was. She was the bravest person I ever knew. The way she handled her last days is an inspiration to us all. She loved you all and would want you to find joy in your lives.

I feel that she is watching over you all. She will always be with you.

If I can ever be of any help to you in any way please call on me.

Ann Kovacs
20 November 2002 - Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Anne and Dick Simmons |
Thank you; thank you, all of you (and there sure are a lot of you!!!). Monday was so special because so many of you came and because you all love Ruthanne almost as much as we do. The messages you have sent, the words of love we have received, the feeling of security we have, even as we feel the tremendous hole in our hearts, all really do help. There is no way to bring Ruthanne back in person, but obviously she has never left us in heart or mind. Each of you represents a different aspect of her personality and her force. The number of lives she has touched will always provide security to her children. Bob knows that her love will surround him through all of you forever. Dick and I are overwhelmed by the number of you who have reached out to touch us, and to express love and respect for our daughter. We would like to have been able to talk to each of you on Monday, but we will count on this electronic method of communication and hope that this connection established by Ruthanne will allow us to remain in touch for years to come. We look forward to sharing memories in more intimate ways as time moves on.

It was a beautiful service! Diane Bennekamper (Dick’s cousin) joined forces with Richard Malmberg (the pastor of Second Church in Newton) to lead a joyous celebration of a marvelous life. The hymns were uplifting, the music moving, the Mourner’s Kaddish inspiring as we heard voices all over that gothic church reciting the Hebrew words. The 23rd Psalm always brings a tear. But it was the words of Ruthanne as read by Lorraine Martin, which really touched all our hearts. She wrote to us all last summer as she prepared to die and she put her heart and soul into her message to each of us. Needless to say, this is a message that we will read over and over again as we try to adjust to her physical absence. The four speakers were: Dave Corbett (Ruthanne’s uncle), who beautifully and humorously glorified Ruthanne’s life and her important, positive interactions in our widespread family; Kim van Zee and Rebecca Hemphill (two of Ruthanne’s most intimate classmates from Harvard Medical School ’87) brought joy, fun, warmth and tears through their presentations; and, finally, with not a single dry eye or a tepid heart in the massive assemblage – isles full, standing room full, lobby full – I as Ruthanne’s Dad tried to present the sentiments of her parents, of Bob, Nick and Laura, and of Ruthanne’s siblings, Rick, Sally and Kathy. The theme was joy in the gift God gave to us in the life of Ruthanne. Her life spread smiles, positive emotions, courage and undaunted optimism. I tried to express that her family feels courage and invigoration in her life. We feel inspiration in her character and strength, which will never leave us.

To those of you who were able to join us, thank you. To those many of you who have written saying how much you would like to have been with us, we missed you but know you were with us in spirit. To those of you who flew in from Florida, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Washington, DC, and other distant places, or drove from Maryland, Montclair, New York and all the New England States, we say thank you. Some of you did not even have time to come to the reception; thank you for the effort you made. There are so many of you we were unable to talk with, as we would have wished. Patients from days long gone, colleagues from the glorious days of ophthalmology, childhood friends, relatives, life long companions of Ruthanne as well as of us, we want you all know how much you have meant to us over the years. Thank you for your love and support.
20 November 2002 - East Orleans, MA

Kimberly J Van Zee |
(continued from previous message)

I remember in medical school, sitting and confiding our hopes and fears with each other. I am haunted and amazed, that even then, you had a premonition that breast cancer would be in your future. You went about dealing with that fear, in a way that is so typical of you, that was no-nonsense, practical, and logical. You went ahead and started your family during residency, to make sure that what was most important to you, your family, was made the highest priority. And I remember the first thing you said when you were diagnosed with breast cancer: “At least I had my kids already.”

After medical school, I went into surgery, and eventually, the subspecialty of breast cancer surgery. I’ll never forget your phone call after learning of your diagnosis of breast cancer. There was no self-pity, no panic. There was again, your resourceful, brave voice, asking me for information and advice. You forged ahead in every way you could to minimize your future risk. And you kept that smile through it all.

Your second phone call is etched in my brain as no other ever has been. You had just found out about your liver metastases, 5 years after your original diagnosis. I was semi-conscious, in bed with salmonella food poisoning. The message was so horrible, I thought I was hallucinating, some mean trick of my mind in its dehydrated state related to my daily professional work. Unfortunately for us all, I wasn’t dreaming.

But as you lived your life, so you handled this knowledge and the long process of dying. Your grace and selflessness are just unbelievable. You focused all of your attention on your family and friends, ensuring that you finished your most important business. You did it all with such peace, so clearly comfortable in yourself. As much as I had already admired you ever since I had known you, I was awestruck by your behavior. I see women everyday who are hit with the diagnosis of breast cancer and every person has her own method of dealing with the bad news. Some sink, some rise in response. But I have never seen anyone as brave and selfless as you. You understood immediately the significance of your situation, but yet never gave up or stopped fighting. You not only never wallowed in self-pity, you never even complained that life is not fair! You kept your beaming smile when everyone around you had lost theirs. You went about researching and reading, helping those around you come to terms with your illness. You spent countless hours preparing for the years ahead, which your loved ones would have to experience without you, doing your best to fill the huge void we would all feel.

Now we have our memories of you. And how the world was made a much better place by your gracious presence, your academic contributions, the care you gave your patients, your optimistic spirit, and your wholehearted embrace of life, and your example of how to approach death with a dignity that is seldom achieved. We will miss you Ruthanne, but will try to fill the emptiness we feel with the many joyful memories you gave us. I love you Ruthanne.
19 November 2002 - New York City

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