The Fredericksburg Community, nee, the world at large, lost a beautiful bright shining star recently. A star that resounded in many of our hearts, and touched our lives in untold ways.
Don Wingate was a staple to the Fredericksburg Community. A teacher, instructor (for they are very different things) a friend, a mentor. His passing brings a deep sadness to those who knew him, and has left a hole in our world.
Don’s beautiful partner in this life was Jeanne. Two more perfectly matched people have never been seen. They reflected and supported one another personally, professionally and emotionally. To look at one, was to know the kindness and love of the other.
A joint memorial was held for the two of them recently. I did not speak at the memorial, my words could not convey the emotion that has been overwhelming me.
When I think of Don, I liken him to “The Little Prince.” It is a wonderful classic novel I have read and enjoyed many times.
In the book, the Little Prince, who lives on his own planet, spends his days taking care of his world, his planet, and loving his rose. His only concern each day it seems, is to tend to the needs of the planet, and keeping his beloved rose safe.
The little prince sets out on a journey to find help and protection for his rose. He meets many interesting “adults” on his journey, adults with tendencies we can all recognize in ourselves, if we look. His tale is enlightening, honest, and expresses the journey we all may take, if we try.
Don was the personification of the little prince. He saw inside each of us what was true and beautiful and kind, and allowed us to see that which was most important, albeit sometimes painful. He helped us to see our faults, our foibles, as part of our heart, our soul, as something to be embraced. And he reflected upon us our beauty and wisdom, our kindness. The very things we loved about him, he showed us in ourselves. Don’s rose was Jeanne, and he took from life everything he could to nurture and protect his beautiful rose. And that rose loved, and lived, for him. For the last few years of his life, Jeanne gave up everything in her world to care for Don. They travelled extensively, trying desperately to find a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, it was not to be, and Don lost his battle. Jeanne was with him each and every moment, tirelessly. And then, just over a month after his leaving, Jeanne joined him. Their ashes lie together in a common urn, joined forever.
My heart and my mind are raw over the loss of my friend. He was more to me than I can express. A simple “I’m thinking of you” e-mail from him was enough to brighten my entire week. After moving to PA, there were more e-mails, and less personal visits, yet when I did stop by on my way through town, it was as if I had never left. There was always a spot for me on the comfy couch, and that fabulous smile to greet me. The last time we saw each other, Don was working in his garden. He was just puttering around, nothing big, but as we walked through the flowers and plants, he would touch each one of them so tenderly, lovingly, and each flower would seem to turn it’s face to him, realizing the love and light emanating from him.
Our little prince has left us. He has left behind his earthly body because it was too heavy. He has moved into the light and love, and back to his planet where he can once again concentrate solely on his beloved rose. He will be sorely missed in his earthly body, but lives on in each of us who were blessed to experience his loving light and healing. Know that he is with you, in heart and spirit, as a guiding light, a guardian, a true Reiki Master. Bring the laughing buddah into your life, channel his energy and healing, and remember l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux – that which is essential is invisible to the eye.