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
I 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
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
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!