Shine On, Judy Reich

The DOC received the news late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning that we’d lost our friend Judy Reich, 
It’s hit many hard – me included. I’m a mess.
I am devastated over Judy’s passing – every time I tried to put something into words I burst into tears.
This one’s for you, Judy~ 
Dear Judy – 
I found out the news just as I was getting ready to go bed late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. 
It was weird – I’d just said out loud to myself, “today was better than yesterday,” and I looked at my facebook feed one last time – then it wasn’t. 
A mutual friend’s facebook status announced your passing along with a link to 8 News Now’s video tribute. 
I yelled "NO" at my phone, clicked on the link and burst into tears and I couldn’t stop crying. 
I was up for hours, crying and talking online with our friends, trying to piece together the how and they whys, and trying to make sense of it, trying to find out what happened. 

And I’m still crying – and the tears keep falling.

Judy – you were a kind; funny, talented, beautiful, and phenomenal woman, I was so lucky to call you my friend, and I’m really going to miss you.

We met online first – and I’ll admit to being a little bit reserved at first, but then we met in real life at the very first UnConference – and you were so full of love and light, I was like: WOW, THIS WOMAN IS AMAZING. 
We bonded over our love of entertaining; theater, being the caretaker for our parents, my struggle to get over the loss of my mother, and both of us being maternal women with diabetes who weren’t mothers. 
That last part was big – it connected it us – and other women (and some men,) in DOC who needed feel that we not only existed – that we mattered. 
And Judy, you were a mother – you mothered and mentored so many whose lives were touched by your sparkled and joy.  

Always kind and filled with love, always making sure your friends were doing OK.

These past few days I’ve read beautiful facebook statuses and blog posts that are true testaments and tributes to the woman you were and the impact you had. 

Judy, you made a world of difference – you helped and encouraged – and you showed that 50 years living with diabetes could be done with style; grace, humor tenacity, a bit of bawdy, and boatloads of showwomanship! 
Your instant messages always seemed to flash across my screen just when I needed them most. When I was struggling; when I was feeling down or lonely – intuitively you knew it – and you started a conversation that would always make me laugh and feel inspired. 
The last time we chatted was after the holidays -both of us were short for time – it was a quick check-in with a promise to “catch-up soon, and a mutual hope that a real life meet up in 2018 was in the cards.“ 
We never got that chance and that is another reason I grieve. 
I’m sad and mad that we won’t get the chance to hangout again in real life. 

Judy, thank you for being my friend and for always making me smile. 
Shine bright and shine on, because you truly are a star!
I will never forget you and will miss you always.   

And to my Diabetes Online Community Family – No matter the diabetes type and in memory of Judy, I’m asking that you schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. 

I don’t have the all the specifics, but I do know that Judy’s death was cardiac related.
February is Heart Month – diabetes and heart issues go hand-in-hand – no matter what type of diabetes you live with, because diabetes and heart disease isn’t just a type 2 issue.

PLEASE schedule up an appointment with a cardiologist and get checked out. 
Do it for yourself, for your family, and do it for Judy.

If want to send Judy’s husband Gary and her mom Arlene Reich condolences, 
send your cards to the Diabetes Sisters offices by the end of February – they will be forwarding them in bulk to the family. 
319 N Weber Road, pmb 163, 
Bolingbrook, IL 60490