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I lost my dear friend, Debbie Parker, this week.

I honestly still cannot comprehend how someone so vibrant, energetic, strong, competent, and positive could be gone so fast. I used to tease her that I was afraid of her because she was just a force of nature. She entered a room like a strong wind and things got taken care of very quickly and efficiently when she was on the task.

But the truth is, there isn’t anyone with as big of a heart as she. She loved and was loved by everyone around her. She was so easy to talk to about absolutely anything and everything. When we disagreed, it was honest, but polite and respectful—something many have lost the art of. Her desk was right outside of mine for years and I cannot count the number of us that she took under her wing—mentoring, coaching, and just listening. And she fed us. Dear Lord, that woman could cook. Entire Thanksgiving dinners, St. Patrick’s Day feasts, and yummy desserts.

But what she gave me, that no one else ever has, is a hope about aging. Many wonderful people I know have found ways to age gracefully and to find the best in it. But Debbie taught me it can be embraced. She found things in her life now that were markedly better and she encouraged me that new seasons would have improvements, as well as detractions.

This new season without her is going to hurt. But I’ll take the pain for all that I have gained as her friend.

My sincerest condolences to her daughter, Kait, and son, Drue. And to her sweet fluffy furbaby, Mia.

May God Bless her and keep her.

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FurBaby Mia

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