The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Opinion

October 8, 2013

Saying goodbye to a gentle warrior

Regular readers might have read my feature story last week about Lanell Wassum in the fall issue of BOOM, The News Courier’s quarterly publication for baby boomers and retirees, was about her amazing 20-year survival after a liver transplant. The headline read, “20 years and counting.” Friday, the clock ran out and Lanell, whom many readers will remember as their middle school teacher, died quietly at University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham.

About a month ago, when I interviewed her and her lovely daughter, Missy Wassam Greenhaw, who had donated a kidney to her mother four years ago, none of us realized the end was so near. However, Lanell suffered two major heart attacks two weeks ago.

Her body, too weakened from 20 years of battling the many devastating aftereffects of organ transplants, could not recover. Her heart was too damaged. She was worn out.

But just last weekend, those of us in her wide circle of Facebook friends were heartened by a photo of her posted by her family. She was sitting up in her hospital bed with her reading glasses on and surrounded by her husband, Al, children Missy and Matt, and her four grandsons.

Some of us even wondered if “the comeback kid” was going to beat this latest assault on her frail body. But it was not to be.

Lanell was an icon of courage to her church family at First United Methodist and throughout the community. She met each setback with an amazing determination to fight her way back.

And she met her final challenge with gentle acceptance and the realization that she could finally lay down her arms.

1
Text Only
Opinion
Poll

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Chocolate bunnies
Marshmallow chicks
Chocolate eggs with filling
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee