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Old November 16th, 2010, 10:32 PM
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Default A Thank you and a Remembrance of Fran

I write....a lot. I've written over 750 newspaper columns and although not a writer per se, even one as dense as I learns something about putting words together on paper.

Nevertheless I'm not trying to "write" now. I am not eloquent nor will I attempt to try to be so this evening. I spent probably two and a half hours writing a post this morning only to have it disappear into never-never land when I pressed the post button. I didn't have it in me to attempt a second post until now.

Lord knows I have a lot of friends and by virtue of my newspaper column, thousands of "acquaintances." Their outpouring of sympathy and support at Fran's death has been amazing. But then they knew her through my column.

All of that pales in comparison to the love and support I've received not just at Fran's passing but throughout her entire illness as I've been blessed with from you, my beloved Cruisemates.

I am still functioning and I haven't "collapsed" as I assuredly must at some point. My greatest fear is that such will happen in front of people. Lord knows I've come close. When Trudy (Beenie-Weenie) arrived at the house was undoubtedly the closest. The second time was when I saw the gorgeous floral tribute from Luanne, Jim and Josh. The next came as I followed her casket down the aisle of the Church. I am an Episcopalian and in that service, the draped casket is preceeded by the Cross being carried as it were by a mountain of a man with white hair followed by a Server, then the Rector, then the casket. While the tears coursed down my cheeks, I stared straight ahead and by doing so, didn't embarrass myself or Fran.

What I share with you are my innermost feelings at that time. I am sharing with each of you emotions that I shall not share with but a small number of very close friends and family. Yet I share them with you to try and instill within each of you, the deep love and devotion I feel for all of you. I'm so afraid to mention names for fear I'll leave someone out. I would of course be completely remiss were I not to single out Luanne and Jim with whom I became especially close and lost my heart too at the time of the loss of their son Joe and also our beloved Beenie-Weenie (Trudy) who with her family, Fran, I and my niece Deanna spent a wonderful evening last August when we visited Indiana. I say to all that I have never been as emotionally impacted as I was when Trudy made a round trip of probably over 1,000 miles to spend what amounted to only a few hours with me when I most needed the support. That, dear beloved Cruisemates, is mind boggling and I shall forever be indebted to her and indeed to each of you for your unmitigated love and support during my time of trial.

Some marriages are especially close and by that I'm referring to folks such as Ray and Helen and Ken and Vita to mention but two. While I can't say that Fran's and my marriage approached the aforementioned levels, the fact that I'm alive today is a testament to Fran's patience and yes, her devotion. Hell folks, if I'd have been her, I'd have killed me decades ago.

Actually, probably the best way that I can really describe our relationship is to insert into this post the column that appeared in last Saturday's paper. Kindly understand this is the unedited version but the world's best editor actually didn't have to make that many changes so I guess I'm safe in including it in it's original form.

To you all, it will be awhile before I'm back to normal posting. My grief is deep and I am weak in that I must at some point, indeed I want, to give into it. I shall, but not before Fran's beloved Niece Adelaide leaves the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On that day, all bets are off.

In closing, I have to tell you that I honestly do not know how I would have even begun to get through this. Whether it be through your comments on Cruisemates, your touching writings on the Funeral Home website or your personal communications, you have all collectively been the most sustaining force imaginable. God Bless you all.

Now, the column:

ANIMAL TALK
REMEMBERING FRAN
By
Todd De Haven
As many of you already know, the light of my life was snuffed out this past Monday morning at 9:40 am when my wife Fran lost her four and a half year battle with Leukemia and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Married couples are usually close but Fran and I were not only close but inseparable. Nevertheless, we were exact opposites. I am outgoing and gregarious while she was so reserved that some probably thought she was distant almost to a fault. She wasn’t. She was careful. Fran was fond of saying that, "Todd will talk to a rock." She was loyal to a fault. If she felt someone had wronged me, her eyes would blaze with fire and she could put someone in their place with with only a look.
Our neighbors probably thought she was a hermit. Fran had an inherent fear of flying insects and rarely went out of doors. After mowing the lawn (I soon learned that while most of my lawn is made up of weeds (the one time I tried weed and feed I had a yard full of dirt), when cut short it was beautiful. I’d say to her, "Come out and see how beautiful the lawn is. " She’d reply, "I can see that from the windows.")).
When we first moved back home in ‘96 when I retired, I was worried she may not like it here for everything was so different from what she had known. I needn’t have. She absolutely loved Greene County. She so enjoyed the beauty but especially she loved the people. Fran was truly enthralled with how the folks here would pitch in and help one another, were invariably friendly and most of all were sincere.
Fran was also an animal person. While favoring cats, she also adored "Happy Dog, " the English Harrier who belongs to our beloved friends Steve and Erney Poenitz and who now reside in Indiana. She found Sophie, the Bijon belonging to Ron and Jo Knabel who live across the street to be irresistible.
Her cats were her life. Back in 1985 when we lived in a condo in the Hudson Valley in New York, she finally talked me into taking in a little orange kitten whom we subsequently named Ubu being urged upon her by her Niece Adelaide (whom many of you know as the Staten Island Cat Lady). Although with reservation, I agreed. Needless to say my heart melted and soon there was another kitten we named BG. After that the race was on. We had as many as nine indoor cats yet were you to enter our home, if you didn’t see one of our felines, you’d never know there were any in residence. In preparation for moving back home fourteen years ago, when hearing we had five cats and were cat sitting three others, the moving company appraiser sounded hesitant about coming to the apartment but business being business he did. When he had completed his figuring, he looked to Fran and asked her if she wasn’t curious why he was so hesitant. Already knowing the answer, Fran played along and replied no, she didn’t. The young man then told her that when he learned there were so many cats in the house he thought the odor would be tremendous. She just looked at him with a sardonic expression on her face and said, "Cats are among the cleanest of all animals, it’s the people who improperly keep them who are dirty."
I shall soldier on as she would have insisted and I shall continue to write this column which she loved to such an extent she saved every single one (I have boxes of columns stacked all over). Most of all, she was not just fiercely protective, she was immensely proud of me.
Of course my world will never be the same but I’ll continue and try to behave. She’ll make sure of that. I already feel that Angel on my shoulder.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 11:37 PM
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Todd...My heart goes out to you. Your beloved Fran is looking down on you and all her cats...lol...

The sign I get from my daddy, who is in Heaven, is the time on the clock. He died on July 11 (7-11). Seems like I always look at the clock when it says 7:11. You will be surprised when you look at the clock and it says 11:08 or 9:40. Just know that your Fran is saying I'm ok and I'll be waiting for you. It will make you smile!

I will continue to pray and think of you,
With love,
Susan
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Old November 17th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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Bless you Todd, just take it one day at a time.

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Old November 17th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Hey Buddy,
Keep writing, it cleanses the soul and helps to heal a broken heart. Hang in there. I really am so happy that you are doing so well and am honored to get to spend Sunday with you and your family. Thanks so much!

I can't wait to see you again... hope it's soon. I sent you the info you were looking for. When you have time, let me know if that is what you needed. Please give Adelaide and Deanna a huge hug for me. Also tell Deanna I hope she is feeling better. I have no doubt, no one will keep her down for long.

Keep hanging in there. Take one day at a time.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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Todd, how blessed you and Fran were, to have found each other. I agree with Trudy, writing truly does cleanse the soul, and gives an outlet for all the emotions that are rolling around on the inside. Also, we are truly blessed to have you a part of our lives. The days that lay ahead will be long ones, but know that we are always here, and and you will remain in our thoughts.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Hi Todd
It’s nice to hear from you and to hear your story about Fran. You sound like you holding up as well as can be expected. I’ve only been a part of CM for a short time but I could tell by your post how special your and Fran’s marriage was. You are truly among the luckiest people to have had such a great deep love. You remain in my prayers and in my heart, please take care of yourself.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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I echo the aforementioned posts
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Old November 17th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Hey Toddy,

It is so good to see you posting. I know it isn't easy for you to do so. It will get easier in time.

You were so on my mind these last few days. I prayed that it would be a easier walk for you.

Remember, You are still in shock, so go with it, and not fight it. Don't rush what you plan, but take it one step at a time.

You know I am here for you.

Love,

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Old November 17th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Thank you Todd for your emotional post--and for posting it--especially after the original one was lost-----
I know you and Fran has something special--very unique---between the two of you----
Sadly it brings back the memories of my father in law and mother in law----and after that how he too took care of her and his own mother after she passed away------
Tomorrow marks his own passing two years ago----
My thoughts are with you
Sincerely
April
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Old November 17th, 2010, 01:09 PM
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Default A Thank You and a Remembrance of Fran

Thank you for telling us about Fran, Todd. We will miss you when you're not posting, but we will understand. I sincerely hope you will resume posting on CruiseMates.

Judy
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Old November 17th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Todd, thank you so much for sharing your feelings. Please (when you feel like it) keep writing. Your sharing of Fran's journey is what brought me out from "lurking".

Please take care of yourself - (((hugs)))

Cabin Fever

A quote at my desk which helps me -

"If you learn to trust Me - really trust Me - with your whole being, then nothing can separate you from My Peace. Everything you endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train you in trusting Me. This is how you foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm you. Joseph was a prime example of this divine reversal, declaring to his brothers: "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.".

Do not fear what this day or any day may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in My sovereignty, remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear no evil, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever encounter."
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Old November 17th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CabinFever View Post

A quote at my desk which helps me -

"If you learn to trust Me - really trust Me - with your whole being, then nothing can separate you from My Peace. Everything you endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train you in trusting Me. This is how you foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm you. Joseph was a prime example of this divine reversal, declaring to his brothers: "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.".

Do not fear what this day or any day may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in My sovereignty, remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear no evil, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever encounter."
BEAUTIFUL!!! I love this!!!
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Old November 17th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Hi Todd, So nice to see you posting again. Writing does help soothe emotions. When my emotions are in a tangle I write poems, bad ones but it does smooth out the knots. Don't over do it just post when you feel up to it. We know and understand. Thank you for the stories of Fran. She was a remarkable woman. Take care of you and listen to the advice of the others "One Day At A Time" It is good advice. Another good man I knew swore by it. Prayers still going out from here.

Laura
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Old November 17th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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I've been away from this site for a few days and just checked in. I am so very sorry for your loss.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 03:51 PM
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What can I say that hasn't already been said, and in far more eloquent ways than I could ever manage.

You are an inspiration to us all Todd, so brave, so loving, and loved.

Fran will never be forgotten, you both touched all of out hearts, and our world has been better for knowing you both.

May you find strength in the knowledge that Fran is no longer in pain, and surely looking down on you.

Alan & Katrina
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Old November 17th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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Todd what a beautiful tribute to Fran. I have never met you in person, but I have enjoyed your posts. I can't imagine how hard it is to lose your wife. Please take the time to grieve that way you need to. We will be here when you are ready. I haven't met Trudy or Luanne, but I have been impressed with thier posts in the past. I'm not surprised to find out they are wonderful people.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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Todd,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiy View Post
I write....a lot. I've written over 750 newspaper columns and although not a writer per se, even one as dense as I learns something about putting words together on paper.

Nevertheless I'm not trying to "write" now. I am not eloquent nor will I attempt to try to be so this evening. I spent probably two and a half hours writing a post this morning only to have it disappear into never-never land when I pressed the post button. I didn't have it in me to attempt a second post until now.

Lord knows I have a lot of friends and by virtue of my newspaper column, thousands of "acquaintances." Their outpouring of sympathy and support at Fran's death has been amazing. But then they knew her through my column.

All of that pales in comparison to the love and support I've received not just at Fran's passing but throughout her entire illness as I've been blessed with from you, my beloved Cruisemates.

I am still functioning and I haven't "collapsed" as I assuredly must at some point. My greatest fear is that such will happen in front of people. Lord knows I've come close. When Trudy (Beenie-Weenie) arrived at the house was undoubtedly the closest. The second time was when I saw the gorgeous floral tribute from Luanne, Jim and Josh. The next came as I followed her casket down the aisle of the Church. I am an Episcopalian and in that service, the draped casket is preceeded by the Cross being carried as it were by a mountain of a man with white hair followed by a Server, then the Rector, then the casket. While the tears coursed down my cheeks, I stared straight ahead and by doing so, didn't embarrass myself or Fran.

What I share with you are my innermost feelings at that time. I am sharing with each of you emotions that I shall not share with but a small number of very close friends and family. Yet I share them with you to try and instill within each of you, the deep love and devotion I feel for all of you. I'm so afraid to mention names for fear I'll leave someone out. I would of course be completely remiss were I not to single out Luanne and Jim with whom I became especially close and lost my heart too at the time of the loss of their son Joe and also our beloved Beenie-Weenie (Trudy) who with her family, Fran, I and my niece Deanna spent a wonderful evening last August when we visited Indiana. I say to all that I have never been as emotionally impacted as I was when Trudy made a round trip of probably over 1,000 miles to spend what amounted to only a few hours with me when I most needed the support. That, dear beloved Cruisemates, is mind boggling and I shall forever be indebted to her and indeed to each of you for your unmitigated love and support during my time of trial.

Some marriages are especially close and by that I'm referring to folks such as Ray and Helen and Ken and Vita to mention but two. While I can't say that Fran's and my marriage approached the aforementioned levels, the fact that I'm alive today is a testament to Fran's patience and yes, her devotion. Hell folks, if I'd have been her, I'd have killed me decades ago.

Actually, probably the best way that I can really describe our relationship is to insert into this post the column that appeared in last Saturday's paper. Kindly understand this is the unedited version but the world's best editor actually didn't have to make that many changes so I guess I'm safe in including it in it's original form.

To you all, it will be awhile before I'm back to normal posting. My grief is deep and I am weak in that I must at some point, indeed I want, to give into it. I shall, but not before Fran's beloved Niece Adelaide leaves the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On that day, all bets are off.

In closing, I have to tell you that I honestly do not know how I would have even begun to get through this. Whether it be through your comments on Cruisemates, your touching writings on the Funeral Home website or your personal communications, you have all collectively been the most sustaining force imaginable. God Bless you all.

Now, the column:

ANIMAL TALK
REMEMBERING FRAN
By
Todd De Haven
As many of you already know, the light of my life was snuffed out this past Monday morning at 9:40 am when my wife Fran lost her four and a half year battle with Leukemia and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Married couples are usually close but Fran and I were not only close but inseparable. Nevertheless, we were exact opposites. I am outgoing and gregarious while she was so reserved that some probably thought she was distant almost to a fault. She wasn’t. She was careful. Fran was fond of saying that, "Todd will talk to a rock." She was loyal to a fault. If she felt someone had wronged me, her eyes would blaze with fire and she could put someone in their place with with only a look.
Our neighbors probably thought she was a hermit. Fran had an inherent fear of flying insects and rarely went out of doors. After mowing the lawn (I soon learned that while most of my lawn is made up of weeds (the one time I tried weed and feed I had a yard full of dirt), when cut short it was beautiful. I’d say to her, "Come out and see how beautiful the lawn is. " She’d reply, "I can see that from the windows.")).
When we first moved back home in ‘96 when I retired, I was worried she may not like it here for everything was so different from what she had known. I needn’t have. She absolutely loved Greene County. She so enjoyed the beauty but especially she loved the people. Fran was truly enthralled with how the folks here would pitch in and help one another, were invariably friendly and most of all were sincere.
Fran was also an animal person. While favoring cats, she also adored "Happy Dog, " the English Harrier who belongs to our beloved friends Steve and Erney Poenitz and who now reside in Indiana. She found Sophie, the Bijon belonging to Ron and Jo Knabel who live across the street to be irresistible.
Her cats were her life. Back in 1985 when we lived in a condo in the Hudson Valley in New York, she finally talked me into taking in a little orange kitten whom we subsequently named Ubu being urged upon her by her Niece Adelaide (whom many of you know as the Staten Island Cat Lady). Although with reservation, I agreed. Needless to say my heart melted and soon there was another kitten we named BG. After that the race was on. We had as many as nine indoor cats yet were you to enter our home, if you didn’t see one of our felines, you’d never know there were any in residence. In preparation for moving back home fourteen years ago, when hearing we had five cats and were cat sitting three others, the moving company appraiser sounded hesitant about coming to the apartment but business being business he did. When he had completed his figuring, he looked to Fran and asked her if she wasn’t curious why he was so hesitant. Already knowing the answer, Fran played along and replied no, she didn’t. The young man then told her that when he learned there were so many cats in the house he thought the odor would be tremendous. She just looked at him with a sardonic expression on her face and said, "Cats are among the cleanest of all animals, it’s the people who improperly keep them who are dirty."
I shall soldier on as she would have insisted and I shall continue to write this column which she loved to such an extent she saved every single one (I have boxes of columns stacked all over). Most of all, she was not just fiercely protective, she was immensely proud of me.
Of course my world will never be the same but I’ll continue and try to behave. She’ll make sure of that. I already feel that Angel on my shoulder.
Welcome back! -- and I'm very sorry to learn of your recent loss. I know that no words can fill the void left by the loss of your constant companion of so many years. My prayers are with you.

I know that the coming weeks, and even months, will be a time of major adjustment for you, but we are here to walk with you in spirit, if not in physical presence, in the days to come. Now that the struggle to support and care for Fran is over, it might be good to get away -- perhaps a cruise, perhaps a spiritual retreat -- to get some long overdue rest and to gain a fresh perspective and new direction for your life, as your circumstances allow. And please know that we are here to listen whenever, and to whatever, you feel a need or a desire to share.

Norm.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 05:50 PM
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So good to hear from you and that you were able to post such a wonderful tribute to Fran. I too, have not been lucky enough to meet you in person but feel as if we have been friends forever. I enjoyed seeing the photos you had on the funeral home site. Fran was a beautiful woman and sounds/looks like she kept you in line well.
CM is blessed to have folks like BW who respond when needed and LuAnne for her strength during rough times. I feel blessed to be able to chat with all of you here on CM. So glad BW was able to see you over the weekend, sounds like you were pleased. You keep writing, don't waste what God has given you, just do it at your own pace. You need time to greive in your own way. We all enjoy your posts and when you are ready you will be back.
Hugs to you and remember you are in our prayers.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 06:04 PM
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Thank you for sharing Todd. Never say that you are not an eloquent writer. What you wrote is superb. You had me in tears and even laughter as I read it.

I lost my dear mother 7 years ago, Thanksgiving and I miss her so much. The sign I get from her is in the form of dimes. I have found a single dime so many times, and it is always at a time when I am going through some type of problem, or a very special time. I may have just dusted a table and a few minutes later, there is a dime there, not other coins, but just a single dime. It's like, when I see that dime, I know that she is telling me that everything is going to be alright.

My sister, my neice, my great-nephew and I have all experienced my mother's scent as well. It is not her favorite perfume. It is the scent of a body lotion we all used to massage her as she was hospitalized for several weeks prior to her death. This scent just surrounds us at special times. A few weeks after my mother passed away, I was called back for more tests after an abnormal mammogram and refused to let anyone go with me. As I was about to enter the building, I felt like I had walked into a glass wall and was just stopped in my tracks. Immediately I was surrounded by the scent of my mother's lotion, and I knew that she was not going to let me do this alone. Of course, the follow up tests were all normal.

You said that Fran is the Angel on your shoulder and I am happy that you can feel her presence in this difficult time. My prayers continue for you.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 07:37 PM
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As the saying goes,[sort of] you had us at hello....From day one, the sunshine of your posts echoed across Cruisemateville......

I think we all knew, in reading your posts, you were taking us on a journey, and we really wanted to tag along. When, the time is right, I know we will all buy a ticket, to journey with you again...

Blessings to you, from me....xo
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Old November 17th, 2010, 09:45 PM
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Todd - thank you for your beautiful tribute to your lovely Fran. God will be with you ... as will Fran through the difficult days ahead. God bless.

Jane
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