I’ve been a bit absent from this blog of late. The summer got very busy between Juniper Lane going into the studio to record 3 new songs and then being selected to open for Coldplay at the Verizon Center. I had a pretty busy August planned, culminating in a trip to Berlin and Vienna with my girlfriend, Leanne, for Amy Hoy’s wedding.
On August 4th, that all changed. It was the day after the Coldplay show and things seemed normal (besides leaving my cell phone at Chris Bonavia’s house after the Coldplay show) until I got an IM from my brother that Leanne’s Dad had called and that they hadn’t heard from her (she called every day to her mom). The police entered her apartment that afternoon and found she had passed (later determined to have been a brain aneurysm). You can read the obituary here.
Things have been pretty much a maelstrom since that point. I have good days and bad days. I still can’t believe that I had finally found someone that just seemed to fit perfectly and then it was gone in a flash. I still don’t know what to say about it, so I’ll just put up roughly what I read at her funeral and the memorial service a week later:
I think most of you know me, but for those that may not, I’m John AthaydeÃ¢â‚¬â€Ã‚â€”Leanne’s boyfriend. I was hoping to be meeting you all at a rehearsal dinner or something like that. I had conned Leanne into a trip up here in the fall. I think she was afraid of me meeting the parents or something. We were going to visit her friend in Syracuse, then see my cousin in Rochester, and finish it out with a few days in Erie. A good time to ask her parents blessing and all that.
Most everything I’m going to say about Leanne you already know. She was amazing, caring, intelligent, beautiful inside and out. She was my cheerleader, my sounding board, my shopping guide, my confidant, best friend and more.
Her friends had told me that even before we started dating, she thought we were soul mates. It sure felt like that the more I got to know her. She was so positive all the time. The closest thing we had to a disagreement was that she would use up the toilet paper and not change the roll. I didn’t know if she just didn’t know how to change it so I asked her if she needed me to show her how to change it up.
She worked with rescue animals and… Angela was telling me how she had signed up for a cat while they were hanging out one night, forgetting she was allergic to cats. The benefits of reading the email list while drinking wine. But that was Leanne – always thinking of others before herself. The low maintenance girl with the high maintenance dog. The fierce defender of her friends. The amazing cupcake and cookie baker. The lover of history and learning. A shining light for all in her life. A beacon to guide me home. I am sad for all of those who will never know her the way we know her. I am sad for the future generation who would have known her as a mother, aunt, grandmother, and ancestor.
She was a radiant woman who will always be a light for us.
I at least have that the last words I said to her when I dropped her off were “I love you” and I will keep that with me always.
Please consider donating to her memorial fund at Homeward Trails. Leanne was very involved in animal rescue and fostering animals and there’s a place on the top of that page by which you can donate to her fund.
In time I hope to be able to talk about this a bit more eloquently in a public sphere. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.