She would have been so happy. She would have been so proud. So many friends; so many connections - what a tribute to a life well lived.
And though there were many tears shed - and more than just a sob or two overheard during the two-hour service - I couldn't help but walk away from the ceremony with a warm glow in my heart. It was, in all aspects, a fitting leave-taking for a loving mother, a nurturing friend and a great Whistler enthusiast.
When people gathered last Saturday to offer their last farewells to my spouse, Wendy Ladner-Beaudry, it wasn't just to stand around wringing their hands about the injustice of it all. It was to celebrate the positive energy and love that Wendy brought to everything she did. And that's not just me talking. From her colleagues at work, to the gal pals with whom she grew up skiing at Whistler, to the young women who played field hockey with her - even to her two daughters, Maya and Jenna - the message was the same: everyone she touched, every last person she came in contact with, had a story about being inspired by something that Wendy had done or said. She was a teacher who taught by example; a lifelong learner whose enthusiasm and curiosity inspired people to reach higher and strive harder. And I already miss her terribly.
I can't help it. I've got to write about it. Got to reach out and let people know just how much their presence (and words) touched me on this most sombre of occasions. At a time when nothing makes sense, when even the lead investigator on the case shrugs his shoulders and admits this is the most perplexing murder he's had to deal with in his whole career, it's important for me to look around and count my friends.
And there were so many out there for me to count on Saturday. There was former W/B marketing director David Perry, who dropped everything and came all the way from Colorado to offer his support. There was his younger brother Doug, he of World Ski and Snowboard Festival fame, who spent the last week propping me up and making sure my liquor cabinet was stocked with good scotch.
There was my brother-who-isn't-actually-a-brother, Michel Benoit, who flew in from Montreal with his lovely blonde Valerie to do what he could do to help put the pieces of my life together again (and yes, at times these days I do feel like Humpty-Dumpty). There was Nancy Greene Raine who reminisced with me about skiing with my daughter Maya at Sun Peaks when she was knee-high to a snowman. And Kathy Kreiner, another of Canada's Olympic gold medalists, telling me how she'd worked side-by-side with Wend on the Sport B.C. board of directors. "Such a strong, confident woman," she said.