“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.”

Judy Blume

Some people leave a forever impression in our lives. That isn’t evident at first, only the knowledge and enjoyment shared when we are around them. They become such an integral part of a person’s lifetime so taken for granted they can become a relationship never really quantified. Then without warning they are gone. The loss is felt much more deeply than expected and finally, that urge comes to define how much they meant in our lives.

I first knew Roene Hulsing in a professional capacity. She was my CPA. I didn’t really know her before that first meeting in her office. I had heard she was very good accountant. I had worked with her husband on projects in the past and I had seen her around town.  During that first official meeting, I straightaway felt I had found a new friend, someone I could be comfortable with; someone I could be real with, someone who would enjoy a good conversation, someone whose influence would make me a better person. 

Roene shared the stories of her life in a way that made me feel more empowered to face whatever was going on in my life. She was confident, witty and honest. She was a pioneering entrepreneurial woman with a successful business firm. Roene empowered her employees who were ready to take over the helm when she got around to retiring. She was a widow who mourned the loss of her life long partner. She was a mom proud of her girls and her grandkids. She was a daughter who looked after her aging mother – though in the case of Roene and her mom you wondered if they ever really truly did actually age! She was fit, healthy, spiritual, involved, and active.   She seemed to have it all together. It’s funny how we look to women like Roene and see the whole package – the successful woman balancing act. Another good friend would say this is “wearing the superwoman cape”. But, like all of us, Roene had challenges and burdens. She just seemed to manage them and didn’t let them define her.

It’s been a couple of months since Roene’s sudden passing. It is surprising how many other women were as deeply impacted by her death. It seemed everyone knew her, had a story to share or had been involved with her in some capacity at some time that left feelings of admiration, gratitude and friendship. I am starting to see, that like me, while what started as a beneficial business relationship with a smart and savvy CPA became a friendship that spanned years and many important events of our lives.

We celebrate her impact, her inspiration, her endless encouragement and the difference she made. As a community of women we strive to lift one another up. We do this through the connections we make with one another, the way we energize each other and the way we help each other become the best possible versions of ourselves. If you knew Roene, you felt that lift. 

As I envisioned the role of KUDOS in the context of our organization, Women Empowering Women, I saw it as a vehicle to celebrate the good works of women in my community as they achieved great, maybe even, small things. I was not prepared to have an opportunity to use this format to celebrate the good works of a woman I admired so much through a memorial.    

We’ll miss you Roene!