It has been one year

It has been one year

On January 28, 2015 many of us marked the one year anniversary of the passing of our beloved friend JRTPUP (Barbara). Much has happened in that year and as difficult as it is to remember, I am drawn to write this blog so our broader community will know of Barbara’s contributions but also so we might take a collective breath and remember how much she meant to each of us.

Like many of us I met Barbara in Chat. We became fast friends based on two things. First we both loved this community. And second we shared a strange sense of humor. I admired her humor and she often tolerated mine. That may seem an odd thing to base a friendship on, but it worked for us.

However I was far from alone in Barbara finding odd ways to form friendships. I believe she often found what mattered most to individuals and forming a friendship based on that. Time and again she met people where they were, not in her comfort zone. It is a rare person who can do that. She might engage me with humor, someone else based on a shared love of cooking and still others based on the difficulties of being diabetic. It helped make Barbara one of the most cherished people on TUDiabetes.

In my case, we shared a hope for our community to thrive. She would often ask me to help with something or write something, or engage someone new in our community. If you were her friend she might ask you to run in endless routes helping a person or project she had knowledge of all the while making it seem like it was your idea. I do not know how many times she would start a conversation with the words ‘Rick will you’ I knew every time a line started like that I would be off on a new adventure, to write about, talk to or learn of something or somebody that Barbara had selected me to interact with. It was always a pleasure to help out and she seemed to know of what would interest me so my tasks were never a job, rather a privilege to help out. I miss that in our community today.

I recall that Barbara was passionate about her causes, be they personal or for the benefit of our community. She once told me of a difficultly she was having with a member; they had disagreed about a matter. Apparently they had both been rather strong in this position. She did not win her point, instead different options were chosen. A lessor person might have quit caring about our community. Instead Barbra was fully supportive of the new direction. She told me all the reasons this was a better idea. I laughed, because I knew 24 hours before she had argued for a different approach. But when the decision was made, I always saw Barbara support it and move forward. That is a rare commodity in a person and it is always part of the best leaders I have known.

Which brings me to why Barbara is so revered as part of our community and why she is and will always be one of many great members here; she was a servant leader. Servant leadership is one of the main leadership approaches. The termed was coined by Robert Greenleaf and it refers to people who lead a group of individuals by giving service, above all else. The term describes Barbara to a tee; she led us by being a servant to our community. She did not lead for glory or ego. She was not caught up on who had the idea or who might get the pat on the back. Instead she was all about getting a job done. Often she did not mind doing the hard work or taking the grief to do what is right as opposed to convenient.

As often as not she steered us from behind the scenes offering a comforting word, a private high five or sending us on a secret mission to benefit the community. She was not involved here for glory she was involved to make this place better. That is why so many of us regard her so fondly and why I am so happy to call her my friend.

I will never forget the last brief conversation I had with Barbara. She was in the hospital and concerned about our community. She was afraid the cancer had returned and was facing an important day of testing and ultimately getting the bad news that would eventually take her. She was then, like she was most times I talked to her, plotting to help others. I finally said Barbara relax, we got this. I told her we can do this, the TUDiabetes community will be ok. Little did I know when it would be our last discussion. I have thought of that many times over the last year. I sometimes wonder, if we really have this? I often ask what would Barbara say or do to help someone. Today we have no choice, but oh it would be so much easier if we had Barbara here with us.

So Barbara (I know you are listening) we are facing a bunch of stuff in our community right now. Changes many of us are concerned about, but It is no different than our community has always faced. But even with all the changes and concerns, Barbra We Got This.



Beautiful blog, Rick. Thank you so much for the memories. This is just what I needed to help me focus on what's important.


Rick…your scribing touched deeply. Dear Pup how we miss you…I still at times expect to see you in chat…and honestly, I think it’s because that at very moment, you ARE in chat.
Hugs sis…baskets of them :heart:

This blog is so beautifully written, and a wonderful reminder of our beloved pup!

Hi Rick. You observed that Barbara (jrtpup) often based her friendships on what mattered most to individuals. She and I talked dogs, a subject that truly interested both of us. Sometimes we talked about Diabetes, but mostly we talked about dogs, dog shows, dog trials, Jack Russell Terriers, Golden Retrievers... Thank you for this memorial blog. She contributed so much to TuDiabetes and enriched our lives in the process.

Beautifully written Rick. I have often wondered in my mind what made Barbara such a great servant and friend. I see now that is was these thing you have talked about that made Barbara what she was.

To me she was a teacher and friend, As I made my decision to become a volunteer on this site it was Barbara that taught me the ropes, She guided me on my way and assured me that I could do it. I am by nature a very reserved person and felt very uncomfortable with the public exposure that comes with volunteering. I did not know how I could step out of my shell, I just knew I wanted to serve, Barbara showed me the way.

Outside of my family Barbara touched me more that any other person in my life. For this I thank her.

Thank you Rick for this remembrance of her.

A Word in My Hand for Barbara: Comfort.....

I miss you Pup. Hope you have a blast up there with the angels!!! <3

Although I haven't been on here so much lately I often do think of the people I have 'met' and chatted with here, especially Barbara, a very special person indeed. Even though there are sad thoughts in amongst it all every one of those moments end with a smile. Love ya work Pup

rick that was beautiful! u said it all there! She was a great person and I loved her as much as I did my mom,

Thank you Barbara, I think of you often!

Thank you Rick for the wonderful remembrance.

– Lloyd

Lovely tribute, Rick.

Thank you Rick for bringing up this anniversary date. Every time I see a Jack Russel I think of her. She was a lovely spirit.

Thanks Rick, I really miss jrtpup. I had the chance to meet her a number of times face to face and we became really close friends. I was able to attend her memorial service with Donna Hill. Few of us appreciated the personal battles that jrtpup experienced in her life, she rarely talked about. But she faced all those challenges by reaching out and making personal connections and helping people. In the end, every time she helped someone it gave her immense joy and helped her heal and find happiness. I aspire to be like jrtpup.

Nicely said, Rick.

Indeed Brian. She found "immense joy" in helping others. I love this Rick! The servant leader! and that quirky cool sense of humor she had. she loved getting silly in the chat. but when someone came in needing help, she was first to be there with whatever was needed. She exemplified our TuDiabetes values of respect, diversity, inclusion and friendliness. Now it is up to us to continue her work.

I have no words. This blog covers every single one of my feelings. Beautiful post for a truly beautiful soul, now watching over us. I know you're reading this Pup, my love and prayers fly out to you my angel. <3

I remember well Iyaz when you came to us right after your dx and how helpful she was. nice to see you.