With a heavy heart – a story of perseverance

Ms. Kelly (L) Ms. Geana (R)

Upon hearing of the passing of a dear friend/co-worker with a passion for bluntness and loyalty, I knew I needed to honor her memory in the way I know best – to tell a story.

Ms. Geana was a devoted giver to those in need, both children and adults alike. She was selfless, dedicated, and oh so funny!

I’ve known Ms. Geana about 15 years now. During this time, we’ve stood up to difficult situations involving family, work, and personal struggles. I won’t claim to have ever been the one closest to her, but I do believe we have bonded over many a shared laugh (often at each other’s expense)!

You see, Geana’s mind and heart were strong, but her body grew tired quickly. Persevering through medical turmoil, she always minimized her frustration with her health by sharing a quick smile and saying she was doing well. Even after a horrific car wreck that caused her extensive surgeries, she returned to work with a grateful heart and another unique laugh. Couldn’t we all live a little more like she did.

You may wonder how this post connects fitness to a sad personal event. Kel, why would you tell us a story of misfortune? Because Ms. Geana refused to give up. Even from a wheelchair, learning how to walk again, and watching her weight to ensure she could make the progress she desired, Ms. Geana was an advocate of health and faith. She persevered.

Being the comedian I am, terrible as such, I leave you this –

Upon a traveling adventure to pick up a young boy from an appointment one day, we discovered he had refused treatment for a dental cleaning. He was about 7 yrs old and marched to the beat of his own drum. As we were driving away, he in the backseat, me behind the wheel, and Ms. Geana beside me, the youth stated how he hated the dentist. I calmly replied I was very disappointed because it had taken 2 months to get this appointment scheduled. The boy, in his youthful directness, stated “You’ll get over it”. Ms. Geana, never one to allow disrespectfulness within earshot, quickly turned around and told him to apologize to me for his words. I put my hand on Ms. Geana’s arm and quietly told her it was alright. She opened her mouth to argue when I said “Ms. Geana, he’s right. I will get over it.” I smiled at her to confirm I believed in my own words. Later, I found her in the office, writing her daily notes, and we discussed how sometimes it can be easy to forget how simply a child sees the world. Perhaps we could all live a little more forgivingly. And – we’ll get over it.

Ms. Geana (center)

Cheers to you, Ms. Geana. For making the world a little brighter for our children in need, for the passionate work you did for adults, and for being you. You will not be forgotten.

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