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Alta states

Christmas Wishes – Dealing with life’s inequities in the holiday season

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But it's not like she restricted herself to the domestic front. In the outpouring of public grief that resulted from her untimely passing, one theme ran clear among her friends and colleagues. Everyone who had dealings with her - from her co-directors on the board of the B.C. Games Society, to the women working with her at Legacies Now to the gals on her field hockey team to the parent volunteers at her daughters' sports clubs - though they benefited from 100 per cent of Wendy's time and effort.

Amazing, isn't it? Sometimes it's the busiest people who make life look easy. "My goodness," one of her work colleagues told me recently, "I never realized just how busy her life was. Anytime I called her up for help, she always seemed available. Mostly, she made me feel like she had nothing better to do than to assist me with my problems. Now I know she just made it sound that way..."

And the posthumous honours have been stacking up. Wendy was recently inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in the "In Her Footsteps" category. Celebrated in a surprisingly emotional ceremony at B.C. Place "in recognition of her inspirational achievements on behalf of women in sport," Wendy's story will now endure in perpetuity.

On the local front, Peter Bossinger (VANOC's alpine venue boss) told me a few weeks ago that one of the jumps on the new women's Olympic downhill course would be named in her honour. He even suggested a moniker: Ladner's Roll . How appropriate I thought. So many Wendy memories on that particular hill. So many runs together back to the valley...

No question. Wendy was a one-off, a uniquely talented individual who could make the impossible merely look difficult. And now that she's gone, a growing number of us are beginning to understand just how powerful a role model she really was.

And still is.

"I think about her so much," says her close friend Cathy Jewett. "I think of all the lessons she taught me - without making them sound like lessons. She had so much to give. She had such a great spirit. I miss her all the time..."

I do too. And never more than right now. But this story isn't about missing Wendy. It's about dealing with the social trappings of Christmas Week when things aren't going so well. I mean, the Ladner-Beaudrys aren't the only ones in this valley struggling with new and difficult circumstances. Whether managing rocky finances or having to endure a loved one's battle with cancer, handling a daughter's untimely death or facing the loss of a job or even the loss of one's physical mobility, there are countless Whistlerites out there who have a legitimate reason for being unhappy on Christmas Day.

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