Forever Six: Thinking Of The Demenkow Family

by Bill Brenner on January 12, 2012

I’m thinking of two classmates from high school today: Anne Wallace-Demenkow and her husband, Shawn. Their daughter, Emily, would have turned 13 this week.

Mood music:

She died from cancer at age 6.

I know from my brief Facebook exchanges with Anne that this was a terrible loss for her family. What could be worse than losing a child? I don’t know the answer and I hope to never find out. But I’ve lost a sibling and I saw what that did to my parents.

I bring this up because there are a lot of ways this kind of loss can ruin a person. Some people are eaten alive by the pain and others learn to keep living despite it. Anne and Shawn found a way to keep living.

I never knew Emily and, truth be told, I’m not close with Anne and Shawn. We’re just connected on Facebook because we went to high school together. Anne was in my shop. I didn’t think much of her back then. I’m sure the feeling was mutual. No big deal. We just hung out with different crowds.

But on reconnecting via Facebook a few years ago, I’ve seen what a dedicated Mom Anne is. She has shared the pain of losing Emily, but the joy she feels over her other kids, her husband and her community shine through daily.

You can tell a lot about a person by the stuff they post on Facebook. Some people troll, whine and brag. Others simply share their joy and gratitude over being alive, even if life has been cruel at times.

I stay connected with the latter crowd because I need that positive energy to rub off on me.

I want to thank Anne for sending that positive energy, despite what she’s been through.

May her and Shawn take comfort in knowing their little girl is looking out for them from Heaven.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

anne demenkow January 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Bill, this really touched my heart. i want to thank you so much for taking time to write about my precious Emily.the truth is it does eat away at me daily, of course. i wouldn’t be human if i didn’t feel the pain. but feeling Emily with me still i know she would be disappointed if i let her pain continue on in the family. i will not continue to feed the beast i call cancer by allowing it to eat away at the love i still have for Emily.the song is absolutely beautiful, and the dedication, heart felt and very much appreciated.thank you ,Anne
do you mind if i put this on my facebook page to share with others?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: