One of Our Own

I am sitting here thinking of how I could write about my break and all of the hardships I endure when I can't help but think about last night. I received a horrible phone call about the sudden death of an NUHS colleague, an inspiration, and most importantly, a friend. 

ZandiI cannot imagine of one time in all my years of being here at National, when I have had to say goodbye to a classmate and friend that we've all grown to love. I use the word "we" because I truly mean that. Zandi Fennel (in the photo) was a light at National. She could walk into the room and smile and instantly your day would get better. I always told her, "You bring the sun into my day." And she always laughed and said, "Ohhh, Miravone!" But I hope she knew that I truly meant it from my heart.

I actually met Zandi through this blog. We emailed back and forth for about 6 months when she was deciding to make the big move from North Carolina to Lombard for the program. She started as a DC and eventually became dual enrolled in both the DC and ND program. The last time I saw her was Friday (Sept. 9th) and we shared our stories about our break and how much I was suffering through "senioritis" as I was pushing towards the finish line. I complained…complained…and complained, and she smiled and gave me a big hug and said, "Be strong." Those words just echo in my head now that I know those were the some of the last words she said to me.

Campus will never be the same. The people she has touched will definitely never be the same. Her time on earth was so abbreviated, but I know she was a huge follower of God and He truly infiltrated every aspect of who she was, which I believe is why she was so loveable. I hope some of you reading this blog had the opportunity to be touched by her.

A fond memory I have of her was walking through campus and waving to her while she was on the other side of the pond. I was in a hurry to get to clinic and she shouted across the entire campus "Miravone!! Happy Birthday!! Have a good day! You deserve it!" I just laughed because she really SHOUTED and everyone looked at her like she was crazy! (Also, it was a week before my birthday but she told me later, she thought it would brighten my day more since it was so unexpected!) But that was Zandi for ya! She would do anything for anyone if she knew it could bring some happiness into your long days here.

The best part of being on this small campus is the camaraderie that you build whether you plan to or not. I have grown to truly cherish the people I am finishing the ND program with, as well as all the people finishing up behind me (like Zandi), that continually remind us in clinic what the bigger picture is. Among all the hustle and bustle of numbers, patient cases, treatment plans, etc., it is so easy to get caught up and lose yourself in the midst of it all. Zandi was one of those people that did not have a problem with shaking you back into reality with her amazing love and heart.

I will miss seeing her positivity that exuberated through her… I will miss her curly hair that I told her I wish I had… I will miss her hugs that she gave out freely… and I will miss her smile that truly lit up any room she walked into. I wasn't as close to her as some people on this campus, but I truly cherish the time and the friendship I had with her.

Please keep her family and close friends in your prayers. She is originally from North Carolina and we were her home away from home. We love you Zandi and will never forget you. Your legacy lives on in all of us! 

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