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Judy Lane's Remembrance

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A friend, Judy Lane, remembers Renee...

HERE IS MY STORY OF RENEE IN MY LIFE AND HOW WONDERFUL SHE WAS.

TO TRY TO DESCRIBE RENEE DEMAAGD PAGEL TO SOMEONE, I FIND MYSELF TELLING THEM A LOT OF WONDERFUL THINGS SHE DID. I'M TRYING TO TELL THEM WHO SHE WAS. I DO MY BEST AND SAY A LOT BUT KNOW THERE ARE NO WORDS TO REALLY DESCRIBE HOW GREAT SHE WAS. THEY JUST CAN'T GET IT. IF SOMEONE WASN'T BLESSED TO KNOW HER IN THEIR LIFE THEY WON'T KNOW HOW SPECIAL SHE WAS.

RENEE AND I MET WHEN I WORKED AT HOSPICE OF GREATER GRAND RAPIDS (NOW HOSPICE OF MICHIGAN) I STARTED THERE IN 1990. I REMEMBER WE WENT TO THE MOVIE "SOMERSBY" AND I CRIED SO MUCH AT THE END THAT WE LAUGHED.

RENEE TOOK ME TO HEAR HER DEAR FRIEND DIET SPEAK AND IT TOUCHED MY SOUL. DIET IS A CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVOR. SHE TOOK ME TO SUNSHINE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH TO HEAR HER FRIEND JONI SPEAK. JONI IS IN A WHEELCHAIR CAUSED BY A STABBING ATTACK BY AN INTRUDER IN HER APRATMENT. I REMEMBER RENEE HAD A FRIEND WHO WAS BLIND (RENEE WAS HER SISTER'S FRIEND TOO) AND SHE DROVE HER PLACES SOMETIMES. I THINK RENEE LET HER DRIVE ONCE IN A PARKING LOT.

RENEE WOULD PICK ME UP IN LOWELL AND WE WOULD GO TO THE MIGRANT CAMPS AT KROPF ORCHARDS. SHE WOULD EXAMINE AND TALK WITH ALL THE EXPECTING MOTHERS. SOME WERE SO YOUNG AND NEEDY. SHE WOULD TELL THEM ALL IF YOU NEED ANYTHING-ANYTHING AT ALL JUST CALL ME AND I WILL DO MY BEST TO HELP. I KNEW SHE MEANT IT AND FELT THEY KNEW THAT TOO. HER WORDS WOULD ALWAYS ASSURE YOU SHE WAS SINCERE BUT HER SMILE REASSURED YOU SHE REALLY WOULD FOLLOW THROUGH.

RENEE AND I LAUGHED A LOT!

RENEE HAD SO MANY FRIENDS AND SHE SEEMED TO FIND TIME FOR THEM ALL. SHE HAD TIME FOR ALL HER PATIENTS TOO. DURING OUR FRIENDSHIP I WAS HAVING CHEST PAINS. I WAS REALLY AFRAID OF THE HEART CATHERIZATION BECAUSE YOU'RE AWAKE. I WAS SCARED OF WHAT I WOULD FIND OUT. I ASKED THE DR IF RENEE COULD COME IN THE OPERATING ROOM WITH ME BEACUSE SHE WAS AN RN AND HE SAID YES. I COULD SEE HER AND HER SMILE EVERY SECOND OF THAT PROCEDURE. HOW REASURING TO HAVE HER STANDING OFF A BIT BEING THERE FOR ME. RENEE AND MY FIANCE JERRY WENT WITH ME THAT DAY.

IN OCTOBER 1994, AFTER ALMOST 8 YEARS TOGETHER, I RECEIVED A CALL FROM THE KENT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT THAT JERRY HAD COMMITED SUICIDE. I DIDN'T KNOW HOW I COULD LIVE THROUGH THAT. OF THE MANY PEOPLE WHO HELPED ME RENEE HELPED ME THE MOST. THERE WAS ONLY A GRAVESIDE SERVICE WITH HIS SMALL FAMILY AND I FELT HIS BROTHER FROM CALIFORNIA DIDN'T WANT ME THERE. RENEE CAME TO MY HOUSE WITH PEACH ROSES FOR ME AND WENT WITH ME TO THE SERVICE. SHE LITERALLY PHYSICALLY HELD ME UP OR HELD MY HAND THE WHOLE TIME. RENEE TOLD ME I DESERVED TO BE THERE AND TO HOLD MY HEAD HIGH. WHEN THEY ANNOUNCED NOBODY COULD BE THERE FOR THE BURIAL BUT HIS NEPHEW AND BROTHER RENEE TOLD ME IN ABOUT TWO SENTENCES WHY THAT WAS OK. THEN IN MY CAR WHEN I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE SHE EXPLAINED IN ABOUT TWO MORE SENTENCES WHY I COULDN'T STAY. HER INSIGHT WAS PROFOUND. I WAS SUCH A MESS AND YET SHE MADE IT ALL MAKE SENSE TO ME.

I PLANNED A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR JERRY AND I HAD A POEM I HAD WRITTEN FOR HIM I WANTED TO READ. I KNEW I COULDN'T (I'D CRY). I ASKED RENEE TO READ IT AND SHE SAID OF COURSE SHE WOULD DO THAT FOR ME. SHE DID IT WELL. SHE HELPED ME THROUGH THE MEMORIAL SERVICE AND HELPED ME GRIEVE. SHE HELPED ME LIVE THROUGH SOMETHING I THOUGHT I COULDN'T. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GRATEFUL TO HER FOR THAT.

THE LAST TIME I SAW RENEE WAS AT HER WEDDING AND RECEPTION. OUR LIVES TOOK DIFFERENT PATHS BUT I STILL THOUGHT ABOUT HER A LOT AND SMILED. SHE REMAINED IN MY HEART BECAUSE SHE TRULY IS UNFORGETABLE.

IN AUGUST OF 2006 A CO-WORKER AND FRIEND WAS KILLED IN A BICYCLE-CAR ACCIDENT. I CALLED THE GRIEF COUNSELOR MARYANNE I WORKED WITH AT HOSPICE TO COME TO AIRWAY OXYGEN TO HELP THE EMPLOYEES WITH THEIR GRIEVING. MARYANNE TOLD ME SHE HAD JUST HEARD THAT A RENEE THAT WE WORKED WITH AT HOSPICE HAD BEEN MURDERED. SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHICH ONE (2 NURSES NAMED RENEE WORKED THERE) I PRAYED ALL DAY IT WAS THE OTHER RENEE AND NOT RENEE DEMAAGD. I KNOW THAT'S AWFUL BUT I DIDN'T KNOW THE OTHER ONE VERY WELL AND "MY" RENEE WAS SO SPECIAL TO SO MANY. THEN I GOT THE CALL THAT IT WAS RENEE DEMAAGD PAGEL AND I GRIEVED FOR HER AND MARCIA. THEY WERE KILLED A DAY APART.

I HAVE HEARD OF PEOPLE'S LIVES BEING TAPESTRIES AND EACH PERSON IN THEIR LIFE IS A DIFFERENT COLOR THREAD. RENEE'S TAPESTRY WOULD BE SO HUGE AND SO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WOULD COME FROM FAR AND WIDE TO SEE IT AND IT WOULD BE BREATH TAKING.

SO HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE RENEE? NOT EASILY FOR SHE TOUCHED SO MANY LIVES AND SAVED A LOT OF THEM TOO. I WAS ONE OF THEM.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer...
Romans 12:12

IP