. . . To be with the Lord. On Wednesday, July 15, 2009, Darlene Wilson went home. She has traded her crippled body for a new body. When I heard the news that Darlene had passed, I thought, "She is jogging on streets of purest gold and singing God's praises in a clear, strong voice." I count it as a blessing and privilege to have had the honor of knowing Darlene.
Darlene had always been very active and competitive. She trained and ran in a marathon. She played tennis and racquetball, demolishing her competitors without mercy. She was involved with local organizations and Churches. She served as president of the Pilots Club. She worked with Hearts and Hammers, sang in the church choir and was a member of the square dance team. She loved life and lived it to the fullest.
Two days before her first husband passed away from a rare liver disease, she was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS. It is also know as Lou Gehrig's Disease. To anyone else this diagnosis would be a tragedy. Darlene viewed it as a challenge. She fought it bravely with a smile, never complaining or whining.
Even ALS could not keep her down. With the help of modern technology, she was able to send email, play bridge with people all over the world and communicate with her loved ones and friends. She attended church every Sunday, went to her grand children's ball games. She took a trip to Hawaii with her daughters and Jim. She married Jim Wilson, another member of our club, on September 15, 2002. She loved NASCAR, especially Jimmie Johnson. On June 15, 2007, she got to ride in a race car. Three laps around the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City topping out at 180 mph. Her comment was she was, "Exhilarated, thrilled and happy - never scared. Yes, indeed, I would have gone faster." She did everything at full-throttle.
It was painful for me to see her from time to time and witness the changes. She would still smile and ask about everyone else. I will always remember the smile and laughter that she brought into my life. Seeing her in her '67 Impala convertible with the wind blowing her hair all over always made me smile because I knew how much fun she was having.
Now I know she is free from the pain and confines of a body that she no longer could control. God waved the checkered flag for Darlene, her race complete.