Rachel's Eulogy by Heather Willey

There must have been a huge sale at the mall in heaven this week. Otherwise, I cannot think of another reason why Rachel would agree to leave us this soon.

Rachel was quite the stubborn woman. If you suggested she do something, she would probably make a point to do the opposite. On Tuesday evening, her parents shared the story of how she broke her leg as a child. The family was at Derek’s baseball game and Rachel insisted on playing on the monkey bars. Since they could not keep an eye on her while they were watching Derek’s game they had to tell her no. Well, we all know how this is going to turn out..... Rachel climbed on the monkey bars anyway, and the next thing Donna and Larry knew, they were headed to the hospital. At times her stubbornness resulted in less than the desired outcome, but it was this stubborn persistence that allowed her to accomplish so much in life.

Rachel possessed a level of compassion that is unsurpassed by anyone we know. She was always the first to pick up the phone, send a card or a present, or visit, when someone else was in need. Her compassion became more apparent as she struggled over the last year. During her battle with cancer she could have understandably spent time feeling sorry for herself, but it was during this time that she became most concerned about her family and friends. She even went beyond the call of duty by reaching out to others affected by cancer. When my own Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in June, Rachel was the first person to send her a card and a present for encouragement. Soon they were pen pals who kept in frequent contact.

This was just how Rachel lived. Her love for others was genuine and unending. When we saw Rachel and her family together, in good and bad times, it was obvious to us where she obtained these qualities. Her brother Derek, was more than just an older brother. He was her twin, the one person she would count on for anything. Except for that one day when Derek, Brad and Zach tied her up in a tent when she asked to play with them. She referred to her Dad, Larry as her hero and her Rock. As we have witnessed, her strength and courage through difficult times came from him. Rachel’s compassion, generosity and love for others are qualities that we see in her Mom, Donna. And like her Mom, Rachel held a timely sense of humor. In recent days, I’ve learned from Larry and Derek that some, if not all, of Rachel’s dubious driving skills also came from Donna.

When things got really rough for Rachel she turned to therapy....Retail Therapy that is. Magically, any mall in Georgia had the ability to lift Rachel’s spirits. I remember one memorable trip to Lenox Mall with Rachel last year. We were taking our lunch break from work at TriMont and we stopped in Macy’s just so Rachel could return a dress. Simple, right? Not with Rachel. Our One-Hour lunch break turned into two hours because, as hard as I tried, I could not get the girl out of Macy’s. FOR THE RECORD, we really did discuss asset management, draw requests, and vouchers during that extra hour. Other than this one exception, Rachel was dedicated to the work she enjoyed so much at TriMont. She was the only one in the Chemo Suite performing work on a laptop computer. Those at TriMont quickly became family to her and this was especially evident during the past 14 months.

I met Rachel 15 years ago when we were in the 4th grade at Boston Elementary School in Woodstock. Laura Barton, my then new friend, introduced me to Rachel. Instantly, we 3 girls were inseparable. Laura and I agree that our best childhood memories include Rachel. Those childhood memories include go-cart rides, courtesy of her brother Derek, many days of making up songs and dances, and Halloween nights trick or treating with her Dad. In fact, it seems like only yesterday, that Larry was affectionately referring to Rachel, Laura and me as the “Three Stooges”. Come to think of it, maybe that was only yesterday.

If asked to describe Rachel in one word, it would be "Ballerina". Ballet was her first love as a child and it remained her love throughout her life. The way she moved on the stage was breathtaking. She could captivate the entire audience with her presence on stage. Many of us know that Rachel performed as an angel in the Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre. Donna snuck me into one of her shows at the Fox and I remember thinking how incredible it was to see her on stage. With the skills of a ballerina, Rachel danced through life. Her gracefulness, beauty and strength were always present on stage and off.

In Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 1 and 4 we read that “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven, A time to cry and a time to laugh, A time to grieve and a time to dance”.

So today we say goodbye to Rachel with heavy hearts and we take comfort in knowing that it is now her time to dance. Rachel will forever dance in heaven and she will forever dance in our hearts.