Honoring a Beautiful Life
It was 7am on Friday morning and I was standing in front of the “frozen novelties” section at Albertsons when the texts started coming in. Annette Garcia, my friend and boss of almost 9 years, had died during the night. Pancreatic cancer had taken its toll.
While I knew she had been fighting cancer and that things were not going well, the news still came as a shock. I told my daughter that I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to buy and asked her to take the basket of groceries that was in my hand. It was less than an hour before we were supposed to leave on a road trip to Pagosa Springs and I was utterly undone.
I wept until nearly noon that day, and then sat at the bank of the river in a small Colorado town wondering what to do to honor a life that had made such an impact on me. What words could be said? What comfort could be given to those who loved her the most intensely? The following words will not suffice, but I hope to give a small glimpse into the life and legacy of a remarkable woman.
Annette was gentle. I can’t think of any word more appropriate to describe her. She faced difficulties, stress, anger and frustration like any other human being, but her gentle reaction was always remarkable to watch. Even when talking about her battle with cancer, her words were soft and sincere. She trusted God with the outcome and wanted to honor Him with her life or death.
Through the years that I worked at Son Broadcasting, Annette had a genuine interest in watching me grow. She concerned herself not only with my professional development, but with my personal journey as well. She always asked about my husband and children. She welcomed them to the office anytime they wanted to come by.
Annette wanted me to learn. She encouraged and supported my trips to the National Religious Broadcasters conferences, but also wanted me to learn about Israel, the land she loved. Under her leadership, I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Israel twice; once as part of a media team and the second time, with my husband as part of a team of runners that raised support for a crisis pregnancy center in Jerusalem.
Annette seemed to know everyone in the Christian broadcast world, and everyone seemed to know her. She personally introduced me to Kay Arthur and Joni Eareckson Tada. I watched with a smile on my face as she had conversation with some of the “biggest names” in the business. I smiled not because she knew them, but because she loved them and had genuine words to invest into their lives as she conversed with them.
The way that Annette loved and honored her family is also a tribute to her character. She loved and respected Jim as a man, her husband and best friend. She praised him publically and gladly did what she could to invest time and effort into marriage.
Her daughters Michelle and Jamie were of utmost importance to her, and she frequently spent time being an active and vital part of their lives. She loved them as fiercely as I’ve ever seen a mother love.
Running a family owned business meant being a boss and a relative. Watching the intensity of personality between Annette and her siblings was always a sight to behold. She always listened to and respected the opinions of others, but when a decision had to be made, Annette’s firm and gentle leadership would prevail. Yet, the look of admiration and appreciation in the eyes of Ted, Vickie and Mary Kay spoke volumes as to what they thought of their “fearless” sister.
Annette knew that words mattered. She wanted the programs on both KCHF TV and KDAZ radio to be life giving and life affirming. She wanted people to be eternally changed by what they saw and heard on the stations.
Her love of “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” was vocalized countless times. She found joy in studying scripture and gladly passed on to others the peace that is found in the Word.
After my departure from Son Broadcasting, Annette remained a friend. I didn’t speak with her as often as I would have liked, but the words we exchanged were precious to me. My final conversation with her took place through text messages. Though she was in a battle for her life, she was concerned about not having followed up with me in regard to a prior discussion.
I close my brief tribute to a remarkable woman with a glimpse into that final exchange.
Annette, I appreciate you! You will be greatly missed.