Community facing tragic loss
This week I wanted to update everyone on the last two months of legislative activities, but instead I want to remember my friend Heather Renaud. We are rightly shocked at the loss of Heather, and there are scarce words to succinctly capture the totality of a life like hers as we begin to reflect on it. Heather unashamedly shared herself, her family, her likes and dislikes, her frailties and strengths with the people she came upon in her life, and I was lucky to be one of them. She supported me in many ways, and I will miss her dearly.
Jeffrey and I talked about Heather and why losing her is so keenly felt by so many people and how she was able to make that impact. Jeffrey said that when he moved here four years ago, Heather immediately made him feel at like he belonged. That was so important to him and to me. She did not hesitate to let him in as someone who did belong. Of course, that’s quintessential Heather: she did not check your credentials to see if you were born and raised in Shepherdstown. Rather, she welcomed you wholeheartedly regardless of circumstance. And then, she would then tell you exactly what you wanted to order.
As a mom, a daughter, a wife, a small businessperson, and most of all a friend to the Betty’s universe, she lived a worthy life and touched many. She exposed her own life to us. When she shared her struggle to quit smoking, and then updated me on her milestones, week by week, month by month, I felt I was a part of it. She had the right to brag about it, and that she was doing it for herself and her family. Like many small business people, she shared her family with her customers and her community. Her willingness to share, in turn, opened up the hearts of so many to her and her wicked sense of humor.
Heather’s passing is a loss for our community. I was lucky to get to know Heather in a special way and know that, while she may not have been “Betty,” she sure was something special.