My name is Jemima and I am a mom, a blogger, and friend of Maggie’s. I am honored that she asked me to write this post. I am also surprised that she asked this, as I only met her about three and a half years ago. I remember walking into my first Moms Blog event, knowing one person, and being compelled to hang out with the most stylish, vibrant, and animated person in the room. We talked about shoes and barre class. She radiated life, joy, and humor.

I believe Maggie asked me to write this because she trusted me to say what she would want to say. I also think she didn’t want to burden her inner circle of friends, who have loved and supported her and her family wholeheartedly and without reservation in absolutely every way. She would be thinking about taking care of her loved ones even in this. Maggie never told me what she wanted this last post to say. I am doing my very best to convey what I think she would want to put out into the world. For whatever reason, Maggie’s voice lives in my head. I don’t know her well enough to say that, but it’s true. I had the grace of knowing her voice primarily through her writing, and the distance of not knowing her on a day-to-day basis which served to not complicate her voice in my head.

 

I think what we all want right now is not what I can offer. We all want one last message, one last sign, one last call from Maggie. We want one last laugh and one last hug. In truth, we want this post to be from Maggie. And most of all, we want Maggie herself, and to have this bullshit cancer nightmare to be gone.

Maggie apparently joked that she had, “Tortured me for years” by making me edit her words which were, at times, so very hard to read. I never felt tortured by Maggie. I loved editing her writing when we wrote together for the Moms Blog. I felt so understood when she did the same for me. Then, when she was diagnosed with cancer, I felt honored to be able to help her birth her ideas. Her writing is so real. She never pretended to be anything other than herself; unpretentious, passionate, and unflinchingly honest. She articulated it all with such clarity. Her hopes and fears and anger and humor always shone through her words. Reading Maggie’s words was like cradling her soul for an instant, and you always had the acute awareness that an ottoman, a tight hug, the sort of laughter that makes you cry, or some bracing truth could be coming your way at any moment.

 

I think Maggie would want three things from me. Rather, for me to share three things for her.

 

I hesitate out of respect and paralysing fear, because I would never put words in Maggie’s mouth, and I feel like my writing here is both presumptuous and, at the same time, hopefully true. Forgive me for not being able to give Maggie’s own words, and give me grace to understand what she would have wanted me to give you at this time.

Maggie's Last Bog Post

She would want me to tell her loved ones that she felt the love you shared with her every single day. She would want you to know that her love and gratitude live on, and that it is now her place to surround her people with love. Not in some creepy, peeping Tom sort of way, but in the way that her love has always been so tangible and vibrant and could never just disappear. Maggie is present in the golden light on fall leaves, in the crunchy frost patterns in the early morning grass, in the still heat whine of crickets and pounding sun. She’s in that bubble of inappropriate laughter during a meeting or the wide eyed turn and walk away fast after an awkward moment. She’s the exuberance of a Friday night out with the girls, and a cozy Sunday at home with family.

 

We miss Maggie, but she isn’t gone.

 

She would have done anything to stay with her family. Her mom. Her sisters. And especially the family she and Jim made. Her love for Jim, Emmet and Zoey was palpable and fierce. She loved her family vigorously. She was so grateful for her family. Like any mother, Maggie loved her children more than anything. She appreciated their quirks, and delighted in seeing their personalities develop. Her kids are special people, and it is our responsibility to make sure they know how much their mother was loved, respected, and cherished, and also that they feel the overwhelming and never-ending love she had for them. Their burden and loss is more than I can comprehend.

Maggie would also want to focus on her life’s work: Maggie’s Brightside. Maggie received a terminal diagnosis and wondered how she could help others with cancer. Her heart and compassion were limitless. Maggie’s Brightside is a testament to her strength, her love, and the light she brought into the world. Maggie never stopped caring about the state of the world, and what she was leaving for her children and her friend’s children to inherit. She grieved when young black boys were shot by police. She supported the LGBTQ movement. She worked diligently to protect children. Honestly, Maggie cared so much about this world and acted with such love that I’m not even sure how to reconcile the bitterness and anger I feel now. But that is the opposite of what she would have wanted.

 

Let our love for Maggie and our impotence and rage and grief grow into something powerful.

A living, breathing support and community for Maggie’s family, for Jim, Emmet and Zoey. And a commitment to working together to keep Maggie’s Brightside vibrant. Metastatic breast cancer is 100% fatal. We need to demand more research towards this disease. We also need to become Maggie’s fire, and keep the lights burning in Maggie’s Brightside.

What can you do:

 

Maggie’s Brightside lives on. Maggie appointed a Board of Directors to continue her work. And it will continue, replicating her drive, passion, and glowing love. Please follow Maggie’s Brightside to stay up-to-date with Maggie’s big plans.

Donate to Maggie’s BrightsideThe mission of Maggie’s Brightside is to build a supportive community for those impacted by cancer and terminal illness through generating awareness, increasing access to resources and promoting positive and honest living. Our goal is to bring services to those affected free of charge and to offer a bit of sunshine when the clouds roll in. Your support allows Maggie’s Brightside to thrive. We are a 501c3 organization, and donations are tax deductible.

Donate to help cover the costs of Maggie’s memorial service. Any extra funds raised will go to Jim, Zoey, and Emmet.

Donate to METAvivor which promotes research and awareness of metastatic breast cancer, as well as support to people living with this incurable disease.

 

Words from friends:

 

My heart was completely crushed today. Fuck Cancer. Maggie, you were a pure force of strength, selflessness, humor, courage, joy, honesty, compassion, determination, and love. We all love you so so much. I shall honor your legacy by trying to find the bright side every damn day. I will miss your advice, humor, and gangster faces. I’m so thankful and inspired to have experienced life with you.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn you are inspirational and I can only hope to live and love as you have.

 

Today the world lost an amazing soul full of spirit, strength, love, and tenderness. Prayers for her husband and 2 beautiful children. Maggie Turner Van Duyn you will be missed in ways most can even understand. Your smiling face will be burned in many hearts forever and always.

 

The most beautiful thing about #MaggiesBrightSide? SHE, Maggie Turner Van Duyn, offered the brightness. You know what happens when you are touched by that type of bright? It stays illuminated in every one of us as we share, love, and spread her message. Thinking about all the goodness she shone on us through her work, her mitzvahs, her community embracement, her selflessness, and her reminder to live life as a warrior.  #BeBrave How can you help honor her? Follow Maggie’s Brightside and spread the message. Keep pressing for better research and funding for METASTATIC breast cancer. Make your breast exam a priority. Never forget to help your neighbor… with food, care, and love. It feels as though things have gone dim, my heart is squished and my eyes burn. I know the pain is felt by all who shared her smile. Seeing FB be taken over by her face and gentle reminders of time spent together has been beautiful. I hope to continue seeing those and celebrating her.  it will help the dimness illuminate.

 

A beautiful soul was taken too soon. I was blessed to have you in my life even if it was just for a short time. The world really was a better place because you were in it. Always looking on the Brightside.Your light will shine on forever Maggie Turner Van Duyn. Peace and love to your family.

 

We lost an amazing human being today. Maggie Turner Van Duyn thank you for you. Rest well, my friend.

 

Grieving is difficult. We learned the news of Maggie’s passing today and found ourselves reminiscing on all of our incredible times together. Maggie was the life of the party with a contagious smile and sincere compassion for others. Being 2,000 miles away makes me feel helpless. Maggie, you fought an incredible fight and are an inspiration to so many. Thanks for teaching me how to be a better person.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn not only were you an amazing women and mother but you also were the mother of two of my children’s first friends. You were an inspiration to so many people and will be missed by many! It’s been awhile since we saw you all, I think since the kids were all at wec together but you were always an amazing mom and person and Zoey and Emmett will forever have those memories! Rest In Peace Maggie! My prayers are with all friends and family, especially those sweet children!

 

Our family is saddened with the loss of this beautiful brave warrior today! She fought the good fight. Her life and Brightside touched many lives with love, laughter and hope! Maggie Turner Van Duyn you leave a legacy that will continue to touch the lives of many for years to come. Please keep her husband and children and family in your prayers.

 

Thank you Maggie Turner Van Duyn for shining your light on our town. I will truly miss your bright spirit. Sending so much love to your family and wishing them peace. You and your dad’s spirit will be an awesome support team for them, wrapping them in love. The heavens are brighter tonight. Thank you for sharing your kindness with me.

 

A beautiful soul taken way too soon. May your light shine on forever Maggie Turner Van Duyn

 

Beyond caring, loving, kind, compassionate, and an inspiration to all….will hold dancing zumba with you in my heart. I am grateful and truly blessed to have met you Maggie Turner Van Duyn. Rest in peace. Sending love and prayers to Maggie’s family, friends, and all those whose lives were touched by this incredible woman.

 

Maggie, you did more in your almost 39 years on this planet than most do in 100. The space between your dashes is so bright that it’s almost blinding. Your light is going to shine on through those beautiful babies of yours – and those babies are going to know what a wonderful human you are. You will never be forgotten.

 

We lost a special one today. Maggie Turner Van Duyn what a gift it was to know you, and grow up with you. I remember getting dropped off at the big house you lived in off River Rd for a party, just kids without a care in the world. I remember being so happy you were in my drivers ed class because most of our peers were driving before us. You always had the coolest Grateful Dead shirts. I remember when you were diagnosed with the cancer. Colleen called me and asked if I would paint your bedroom to make it more comfortable for you. I was happy to help, and wished I could have done more. I remember Jessi and Colleen were there. I hadn’t been in the same room with all of you in what seemed like forever, but the energy and love felt exactly as I had remembered it. Following the story of you carrying a baby for one of your best friends warmed my heart, and brought tears to my eyes so many times. The way you lived your life after the diagnosis was incredibly attractive. You demonstrated such courage, integrity, gratitude, dignity, and grace. You left a beautiful, bright mark on this world, and we are all better people having had the opportunity to cross paths with you. Love and light to you and your family

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn = a bad ass gal ! That was full of love and kindness ! Thank you for being you and touching so many lives Your bright light shall live on in all that you’ve touched. RIP Maggie

 

Maggie, it was an absolute honor to have known you and your family. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been both of your children’s teacher, and to have danced with you many times. Rest easy love.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn your short time with us enriched all of our lives and even though you have left us you will forever shine bright.

 

Sending so much love out to everyone in Maggie’s Brightside community and to all my friends who were close to her. Maggie was a force of all that is good in this world.

 

Rest peacefully, strong warrior Maggie Turner Van Duyn. You fought endlessly and courageously. Your movement will live on because of you.

 

It really changes your perspective on things when you realize that one of these kids, now in fifth grade just lost her mom. Zoey you have a more than a village of people here for you and the rest of your amazing family. Maggie Turner Van Duyn was a woman beyond words who tried as hard as she could to be all she could be even on her weakest days. Sending love.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn you are sooo missed! I was lucky to have met you at our darkest time in the Barre office, thank you! You were a bright light!

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn. Our lives were separated by only ‘one stage’. Easily our shoes could have been swapped. I am hugging my boys close tonight as you family weighs heavy on my mind. Rest easy my fellow warrior.

 

Thank you Maggie Turner Van Duyn for doing so much good here. You inspire me to want to do more, to take a piece of your selfless light and continue to change the world. You can now be found as pure love and light my friend. You will be missed by so many but your bright side will still be a force.

 

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Enjoy the next dance, dear Maggie.

 

I have this small glimpse, a snapshot memory of you dancing next to my babies while I watched you get your moves on the dance floor. We hugged, talked briefly, then laughed at these adorable kids breaking down the dance floor. This is you Maggie Turner Van Duyn, this Happy spirit, this amazingly strong person, this is the Maggie I will always remember. I hope so much Maggie Turner Van Duyn, that you are still dancing, laughing , hugging, and living up every moment of your afterlife.

 

The world has lost an amazing woman today.There are no words to express or explain any of this. I will always miss you my beautiful friend Maggie Turner Van Duyn. You were a shining star, always happy, glowing, your positive vibe was contagious to everyone you met. After 25+ years of friendship, the memories and stories are endless. The Dead, Phish shows, Little gold flakes…..the memories will stay with me forever. You are a warrior and have touched the lives of many, you made my life easier to make sense of and the world is a better place because of you. This photo is how I will always remember you, smiling, laughing, happy, always looking on the Brightside. I will cherish the time we spent together last week talking and reminiscing. Although we lost a beautiful soul, heaven has gained an angel and you are at peace now. Goodbye my friend, may you RIP until we meet and dance again.

 

2018 just hadn’t quite taken enough. This world lost a beautiful soul today, Maggie Turner Van Duyn your smile and warmth will forever be in the hearts of everyone’s life you touched.

 

Some people, when you first meet, take time to get to know…you gotta ask all the questions, tentatively feeling your way towards friendship. Not with Maggie Turner Van Duyn . She literally appeared in front of me one night talking to me as if we were finishing a conversation from an hour before when, in reality, we had never met. But that was that, and we were friends, and I’ve been so grateful for that friendship ever since. What Maggie has taught me about compassion, love, and especially HARD WORK cannot be understated. I am better at being a human because of her. Thank you, Mags.

 

Besides my family, the Turners are the people that I have known since the beginning of time. I am so saddened to hear of Maggie Turner Van Duyn. What an amazing human being…I have no words.

 

Such incredibly sad news today..I cannot believe you are gone. Your blogs and spirit gave me such an insight to what is important in life. Rest easy Maggie Turner Van Duyn, your spirit will live on with all of us. One love.

 

Oh Maggie Turner Van Duyn, I am so sorry that your body couldn’t fight any longer. Thank you for all that you gave us, it is so much to be admired. Few people could be as strong as you are, Mag. Simply trying to find peace in the thought that you’re no longer suffering. Let your light shine on, through all of us. You will be missed by so many.

 

Maggie, I can’t believe your spirit, full of life & love, has moved on … So many people have been moved by your existence. Rest.

 

How lucky were we all to have known you for any amount of time in our short lives. Rest easy, Maggie. We miss you.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn, you will always be larger than life.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn, I hope that we can do justice to your beautiful legacy of looking at Maggie’s Bright side. Your strength and love go beyond mere words, although your writing is beautiful. Thanks for making your diagnosis a call to arms. Thanks for moving us to dance away pain and loneliness.  Thanks for letting me hug you when we ran into each other a couple of weeks ago, even though I could tell you were tired and in pain. I’m holding onto that hug forever, my friend. And in the words of an amazing woman I knew, FUCK CANCER!!!!!!!

 

Rest easy Maggie Turner Van Duyn, your were an amazingly strong woman. Your family and friends will be surrounded with your love as their Guardian Angel  hold your Dad tonight as he greets you in heaven…..

 

Forever the bravest. Peace and Love dear Maggie Turner Van Duyn.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn – today’s randomly chosen mandala = authentic. So fitting and true for you. Genuine, Real – so real sometimes that I must admit you were too much for me. You know that & you are so badass that you are fine with it ! Your knowledge, leadership, gently way of educating, ability to listen and guidance are simply amazing. All of us who know you will make certain to carry on with everything you have taught us. Together we will thrive and bring light + lemonade to the lemons many of us know all too well through life and breast cancer. I know you will continue to guide me and all those in your path.

 

I have no words…I am heartbroken and I feel the void your absence has left all the way across the country, and I will never understand why such an amazing person had to leave this Earth so soon. The world needs more people like you in it. You could brighten up a room just by walking into it. Your laughter and joy were contagious. You life will not be in vain: you made an impact on so many people in such a short amount of time and your legacy will live on through them and through your beautiful family. I will honor you by trying to live like you did; Living every moment to the fullest, bringing joy to those around you and focusing on the bright side even when things get dark. Love you Mags, shine on

 

Thinking about you tonight while flying home, listening to some Neil Young, and staring out at the Sierra Nevada in the late day sun… Thinking back to those days we used to see a lot of each other. Simpler times before adulthood, when the primary concern for our tribe was getting beer and finding a place to drink it… You’re one of those people I knew long enough that you never looked any older to me, even in recent pictures I can still see that teenage glimmer in your eyes… Your wit, sarcasm and humor on top of that big personality would always fill up a room… Rest easy my friend, it won’t be the same without you…

 

We lost an incredible human today. I remember the first time that I met Maggie. I thought … how can I trick this cool girl into being friends with me? But the thing with Maggie is you never had to trick her. She saw everyone and she let everybody have a chance. Through her work, through her writing, through her personal interactions with us and our families, through her incredible family, through her dancing, through her smile: She showed us her humanity. She showed us how to be brave. She showed us how to show up for ourselves and others. She showed us how to always look for the bright side. Not to gloss over pain or hard times but to know the bright side is there even when everything is dark. Maggie was taken from us too soon. She should have had more time. What a gift she was and what an impact she made. The truth is: We will never get over this loss. We will carry it with us always. Some days it will be heavy and unbearably sad. And I know that some days it will be the lift we need, the light on a dark path. This world will never stop missing and never stop thanking Maggie for helping us to see #maggiesbrightside. My thoughts are with her family and friends. We will keep on showing up for Maggie and for you forever.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn we’ve weaved in and out of one another’s lives for over 30 years… Whether it was a sleepover at the house with Sarah Sophia Lidz when I was 8 or lots of high school mischief with her – you were there. Then as adults – being together in prenatal yoga, Zumba, coordinating news stories and more… You were always a powerful ray of light. When I heard the news today, I looked out my window and captured this picture. You truly were a bright light on a dark day. RIP Maggie. #maggiesbrightside. Love to all your family and friends.

 

The letters MAG start some pretty remarkable words: magnitude, magnanimous, magnetic, magic, magnificent…Maggie Turner Van Duyn . You made the world simply greater by being in it…hell…you made us greater. May we live with your love and brightness shining on and in us every day. You were one in a quintillion.

 

Friends that stand the test of time. This is what it’s all about. Today we lost one of our own . May you finally rest in eternal happiness and peace Maggie . Until we meet again…

 

I’m not really great with words in times like these. I really don’t know what to say. I love you Maggie Turner Van Duyn I will miss you so much. Thank you for the legacy you left. You made the world a brighter place.

 

Beyond devastated that the world lost such an amazing woman today. Maggie Turner Van Duyn was one of a kind. When she was first diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, Maggie did the opposite of what most people do. Not only did she fight with more courage, more hope, and more strength than most, she also went on to build Maggie’s Brightside to make living with cancer easier for everyone around her. She was an amazing mother, a selfless friend, a surrogate, an inspiration, and a true warrior. The world is less bright today with her loss. Our hearts are heavy and our love is with with the Van Duyn family. Words cannot express what an amazing woman Maggie truly was, but her spirit and her strength will always live on. Most people come into this world saying they want to change it, Maggie did. We will all miss her, but she will never be forgotten.

 

The world really was a better place because you were in it. Always looking on the Brightside….Rest easy Maggie.

 

I had met Maggie a few times before, but it was when we started playing kickball together in 2014 that I realized what a shining light she was. My team (notorious for having the most fun, but not winning many games that year) played against her team, and hers won. After she got home that night, she sent me a message saying that ‘technically’ they should’ve forfeit because they didn’t have enough players (we had given them some of ours) and since we weren’t *really* sure how many runs my team had (too much fun), she couldn’t be sure if it was a real win. But moreover, she wanted to “support a win” for us. That is just one very minor example of the type of spirit she embodied. She was a true warrior and inspiration to all who knew her, and above all else, she was just so real and honest (even when it was hard). Her passing has left a void in our hearts, but her light will continue to shine. Godspeed, Maggie, we love you.

 

“There are some people that bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains” Maggie Turner Van Duyn your light, love, and beautiful spirit will never be forgotten.

 

Tonight, I am thinking of all the Vermont moms I know who are performing kid bedtime routines while swallowing shuddering sobs. Love, hope, laughter, and memories never die. We will all see Maggie on the brightside. We love you so much Maggie.

 

Oh Mags, how I will miss our afternoon tea parties, walks and talks, our witty banter that we thought was hysterical, pretending to be Janis Joplin while playing our guitars, your sarcastic texts and your kindred spirit. Your love for life, tell it how it is and your judgement free motto is something I will forever hold in my heart and aspire to. We all wish we had more time to learn from you. I’ll miss you buddy…the world will miss you, but your #Brightside will forever live on in everyone that you touched heart

 

I’m heartbroken that we lost this amazing woman today. She brought brightness to my life and to all those she touched. Thinking about her family, especially her children and husband who she adored!  

 

The first time I met Maggie was at my sister’s b-day dinner many years ago at single pebble- The first words I heard her speak were “I love this place, because you share everything and I love to share!” And since I’ve known her, she has embodied just that. Shared in countless and selfless ways. Shared her very own body to carry in her womb her best friend’s child. Shared her heart, her charisma, shared her amazing humor, shared her home with welcoming arms, shared hugs whenever you saw her, and oh so much more. Maggie, I always loved your spirit, your heart and your brutally honest sense of humor. Your fiery energy sparked something deep inside of everyone who knew you. Your spirit is a strong one, and it will be felt amongst this community for eons.  

 

Maggie, thank you for being who you were. Thank you for the smiles and the sweet conversations while shopping for plants (I’ll always think of you when I plant my tomatoes). Thank you for sharing your spirit and perseverance with the world. Your bright light will always shine on. So many prayers for your family and loved ones. The world was a better place with you in it. Rest In Peace

 

My heart is broken to learn of the passing of Maggie Turner Van Duyn. Her strength and courage to share her journey was inspirational. I was blessed to have her in my life even for a short time. The world feels a little less bright today but I know her hard work will continue to live on and change lives. Peace and love to her family

 

Maggie, I have no adequate words. I feel blessed and inspired to have known you. Rest In Peace. Your many gifts to the world will live on forever.

 

So incredibly heartbroken to hear that the world lost a beautiful person today. I have many fond memories of Maggie Turner Van Duyn but most of all admire her for the most precious gift she gave a friend. Sending all the heartfelt warmth and peace to her family, especially her children, whom she loved and cherished. From Maggie on surrogacy: “So that’s why I know this is the right thing to do. Because everyone deserves to love someone that much. Everyone should have someone to take care of them once they have left this earth. Every soul deserves a parent that was meant to be theirs. Everyone deserves to be happy.”

 

Oh Sweet Maggie, the world was a better place because you were in it. You will live on not only through Maggie’s Brightside but also through the hearts of those who knew you. Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself to me at Cocktails Curing Cancer, for your quiet strength given freely when I lost my brother, for your beautiful words written for both your personal blog and BVTMB and for being the courageous leader you were. You and your family are in my prayers. Fight on Sister

 

I have no words. Praying for Maggie Turner Van Duyn’s family. You were an amazing human and I am better for knowing you.

 

From the very first time I met you, you showed your brightest side (see first photo here)!!!!! You have always given us your love and we are forever grateful and you have been and always will be our Brightest Side of Life!!! I will miss you dearly Thank you for all the love you give!!!!

 

Oh Maggie–your passion, strength, love, sassiness, and humor have always resonated with me. I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on the many ways you encouraged me to take steps outside my comfort zone and in many ways contributed to my own personal growth. Thank you my friend….I will miss you.

 

Rest In Peace Maggie. I feel so lucky to have known you.

 

I am shocked and beyond sad tonight to find that my beautiful friend Maggie Turner Van Duyn has passed. She had an amazing energy and incredible sense of humor. She was an inspiration to every human being that came in contact with her. I love you Maggie. May you be at peace.

 

Hug your family a little tighter tonight, light that candle, say a prayer for Maggie’s family. If you knew her she made this world a better place. She will be missed. Maggie you were a special person. I’m glad our paths crossed. Rest easy my friend

 

The world is dimmer today, without her beautiful light showing us the way. A reason, a season, a lifetime … You’ve forever changed me, along with thousands of others, and I will ALWAYS be grateful for you Maggie …

 

May #MaggiesBrightSide shine on. I’m certain your unconditional love will continue to radiate through this hard world. Your light and positive energy will be kept alive by those who loved you ♡ Rest easy knowing you made this world a better place, Maggie.

 

The universe just got a lot dimmer. Maggie, you were and always will be the brightest star, thank you for your light (and your snarky dark). Shine on, you crazy diamond

 

The world has lost a beautiful soul. Bitingly funny; swaggy and hip in the coolest possible way; unapologetically and piercingly honest in her observations of the world and of her own mind and heart; unbelievably kind and generous; free-spirited and joy-seeking and capable of setting everyone around her free to seek their joy as well.  Maggie Turner Van Duyn, we will grieve for you, but you have left a legacy that will remain vibrantly alive in all of our hearts, forever.

 

Dance with the angels Maggie, your beautiful light will shine forever

 

You fought hard and taught us all so much about being a true warrior. Thank you Maggie for singing, dancing and loving so hard. We are all better for knowing you.

 

Oh, Mags, you’re one of a kind. How lucky was I to have you in my life and call you my best friend. You have the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met and your kindness and love was contagious everywhere you went. How lucky the world was to feel your shining bright light, and will continue to do so with all of the people you have touched……and there are soooo many. I love forever, Maggie. I will miss you dearly.

 

Oh Maggie… the last few times I saw you, you were dancing and singing your heart out on stage with michael franti. All of my memories of you somehow revolve around you dancing and smiling. Meeting me for a Zumba class in Vermont when I was going through my divorce and standing on the street afterwards with me to talk and process what was going on. Dance parties in your living room with lots of babies when I was an overwhelmed mom of two little ones… you were really there for me in certain moments when I was struggling- with your smiling open face, infinite compassion and wry sense of humor. I don’t know if you knew how much that meant, because I’m sure it was just an everyday thing for you. I wish I’d told you this. You embodied that rare combination of someone with so much genuine presence that people could feel safe with you, combined with so much capacity for joy and fun loving mischief. Sending all my love to you Jimmer and Zoey and Emmet and everyone else who’s life was made better by Maggie.

 

Thank you for your strength and courage to be the beautiful, vulnerable human that you were. And thank you for the light you brought to what can be such a dark place. As always, a true leader and warrior. You are already so very missed. Rest easy, Maggie.

 

Maggie I was always left speechless after reading one of your blogs with tears rolling down my face, today is no different. You were one amazing human and you inspired so many. You will be greatly missed

 

One of the brightest! Thank you dear Maggie for bringing joy, laughter, kindness and acceptance into my life.

 

Oh  Maggie…I’m truly blessed and honored to have known you for the short time that I did. Our family prayed for you every night for the past year and a half. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to help you with your cause; to witness your humor and strength; to see what it truly is to be a badass; to see the love you hold to your family, friends and community, and the love they all have back…but most importantly, you showed us all how to live in the moment and never give up. The bus stop will never be the same without you… You’ve reached your goal of getting to the bright side. You’re not in pain, you’re not suffering. If only love could have saved you, you would never have died. We love you………your legacy will live on

 

You were a true inspiration to anyone who knew you or who followed your courageous journey. Rest In Peace Maggie.

 

Maggie, Heaven is lucky to get you

 

I have been blessed to have crossed your path and be witness to your bright bright light! Rest In Peace Maggie

 

Maggie you were an amazing person who exemplified how to truly live life. Your legacy will live on in your family, friends, and Maggie’s Bright Side. My thoughts are with your family, friends, and all whose lives you touched through yours.

 

I met Maggie Turner Van Duyn about two weeks after her diagnosis. I was sitting at a table with a line of people in front of me. It was the launch party of my cookbook I was on top of the world. When she got to the front of the line, and my friend Brooke introduced the two of us, I knew immediately who she was: the local Richmond mom who had just been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. But I didn’t really know who she was. She was the person who would become my dear close friend and change me forever. Over the course of the next three years Maggie and I became close friends. I remember the first time that we got together to have a drink at the local brewery. She wanted to talk to me about a “big idea” she had. After both commiserating about the fact that we were at a brewery but actually would prefer wine, shit got real deep real fast. She told me that since her diagnosis that parenting was hyper-real for her in every moment. Like the kids had left a mess and she was yelling at them to clean it up, and then she would pause and she would think, “Is this how they are going to remember me?” We cried. She also admitted that her husband had picked me out for her. He had met me at the dance studio, taken my card and then given it to her and said, “I think you should be friends with this mom from the dance studio. I think you would like her.” We discussed our blogs. Mine being about food seemed trivial compared to hers chronicling her journey with her diagnosis. Fast forward three years, a few wig parties, camping trips, jaunts to NYC, coaching Girls on the Run together, festivals, a lot of laughs and a bunch of real deep real fast “big idea” conversations later. Maggie asked me to join her board of directors. She was taking the brand she had built, Maggie’s Brightside to the next level. She was forming an actual non-profit organization to help improve the lives of folks battling with cancer. She created a card for discounts for local products and services to improve the quality of life. Think discounts on a pre-chemo haircut. Yesterday she passed peacefully surrounded by her family and the Beatles playing on the sound system. I got the call while spending the day trying to be present with my family. I was at Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel. My kids were trying on boots and there was a bald woman looking at hats. I was trying not to stare at her but I was thinking about the fact that she should be getting a discount on that hat. That it was my job now to make that happen. And then my phone rang.

 

I feel like I want every human who loves you, within a 100 mile radius, to yell: WE LOVE YOU! at the top of our lungs, simultaneously, so you can hear us all.

 

I feel truly honored and blessed that Maggie came into my life and that I got be a part of hers. She brought light, hope, inspiration and laughter to everyone she met. She has touched so many and through #maggiesbrightside her legacy lives on.

 

I was praying and reflecting yesterday in church knowing that Maggie’s days with us were coming to a close. How do you answer the question of why? #cancersucks is a gross understatement. We are not yet privy to the why. I believe Maggie is now. What I do know is the last 3 years magnified Maggie’s grace, tenacity, fierceness, and zest for all things that gave her life true meaning. Maggie’s Brightside – what a way to leave a mark behind you for others who have similar paths. I know the true essence of Maggie’s Brightside lives on in her family and friends. She left us all a little piece of her in our hearts. She is not gone completely and her light will never die. I will see you again. Until that time what you left us will have to do. Thank you for the pleasure and the honor of knowing you….just like your tag line reminds us, see you on the Brightside.

 

May you rest in peace, Maggie Turner Van Duyn. You have inspired so many with your courage, strength, honesty, and humor. A true warrior, wonderful mother, and unwavering friend to so many. A legacy the rest of us can only aspire. We love you and will miss you dearly.

 

I’m still without words. You shone so bright, full of energy and life. To be gone from the conscious world seems so cruel. Maggie Turner Van Duyn, you reach out and touch so many in your too short existence here on Earth. I feel honored to have known you, if even for a moment. My heart aches for your family and closest friends. My love goes out to them and your large community, we are all feeling this immense loss. I know your spirit lives on and shines bright in everything you’ve touched.

 

Dear Maggie,

Y’hei shlama raba min-sh’maya v’chayim aleinu

v’al-kol-yisrael, v’im’ru: “amen.”

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us

and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

This is a line towards the end of the Mourner’s Prayer in Judaism. We say it at every funeral. We say it every Shabbat. We say it for those we know and those we do not. It boggles the mind that today I say it for you. I have known for a few weeks this day was coming much sooner than we had hoped. Yesterday I had no words. Today, I woke up unable to breathe realizing the world is a forever different place without you. I have seen all of the pictures posted. I have read all of the amazing words describing this woman, friend, sister, mother, wife, daughter. I have seen pictures of a fierce friend. A loving mother. A sassy wife and daughter. A dancer. A comedian. A fierce warrior A visionary .One of  the last things I wrote to you was that you are my hero. To me, pre cancer, during and especially in death…you are my hero. Maggie, to your family I say how lucky they are. I know it seems difficult to believe that at the moment. But, they are. Especially your kids. Lucky because of the community of love and laughter their mama has built. They will have a supportive community surrounding them for a lifetime because of their mother’s qualities. But, most importantly, they have you inside of them. They carry your love. Your strength. Your crazy, “Make Lemonade” against all odds spirit. Dude. For real. This is a legacy we all wish we could leave for our families. I end, as I began…not really with our Mourner’s Prayer, but with our weekly benediction, knowing that in Judaism we firmly believe that we all live on in eternity for the good acts we have done here on earth. So, knowing this, we all know, Maggie, that your bright light, your ball of determined energy, will love on for an eternity and beyond. And, that we will all strive to carry your bright side always with us, and to pass it along as often as possible.

The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make his face to shine upon you

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you

And give you peace.

Mad love Maggie. To you. To your children. To your whole family. Mad love.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn reached out to me shortly after I started teaching HHPT…she said she missed teaching it and wanted to know if she could possibly sub for me. She made it very clear to me that I shouldn’t say yes because she had cancer. I was like,”Are you kidding me!? Now I have this incredible bad ass chic that can sub for me!!!! The first time I saw Maggie teach was Zumba at fusion 802, I was instantly drawn to how well she connected with her students…she saw an entire classroom as 1 and that’s a rare gift an instructor has….to make everyone in the room feel important. Maggie and I got together a few months ago at UDC. I asked if I could share one of her routines in my class. She was more then willing, and I put in on my HHPT back-burner list to work on. She was not able to recall all the choreo(who wouldn’t) I barely remember routines I put in a month ago! But this is how I will honor her. I will do my absolute best to make you proud!!! Maggie thank you for being such an incredible human being and I am grateful that I was able to see your brightside light up this community! You will be very missed.

 

Oh, how she beams, how she exudes goodness, and how that joy, that light radiates to who all she is in contact with, in this picture and in her life. Maggie, you are the personification of a smile, a laugh, a wry joke that hits all the right notes (and sometimes the naughty wrong notes which made the jokes all the better). Thanks for everything always. KO

 

Our world has lost a beautiful soul….our hearts are broken. Maggie has been the bright light for so many-spreading her kindness and warmth, as well as her loving and giving spirit. Because of her, we had been blessed with our first grandchild- ironically named by her parents “Sunnie Violet”- who will carry on that brightside spirit in our family’s life. We will be forever grateful to that amazing person… As a tribute to sweet Maggie please do something kind and loving for someone else- to carry on the spirit of Maggie’s brightside.

 

Maggie Turner Van Duyn your smile will forever shine over all of us. I was blessed to be in your presence. The sadness I feel today in knowing your light is gone from this earth is heartbreaking. But then, I see your smile and hear your words of wisdom and I know that we were honest with each other and said what needed to be said,when we did talk about cancer. Cancer sucks and I am so pissed it took you too soon. I also know that you want us ALL to move on and continue to fight the fight! Thank you for your lessons in life and in death. I am forever grateful for knowing you.

 

Feeling raw today. Mourning someone who has left this world much too soon. My heart aches for her husband, young children, family and close friends. This woman was a difference maker in the world – and her legacy will go on. We should all try to embody a little bit of the light that Maggie embodied. What an amazing soul she was.

 

In the spirit of #maggiesbrightside grab a box of hair dye and cover up those grays while blasting your favorite music and sipping your chardonnay. Buy a pretty push up bra to lift those deflated, bad boys up. Celebrate life. Embrace those laugh lines. Some would have given anything to see another sunrise… It’s Monday morning, bitches, time to make some lemonade. Love you forever, Maggie.

 

As a cancer survivor I know the strength and will power it takes to experience cancer. I always felt strongly that Maggie Turner Van Duyn would beat the odds. Even though scientific evidence diagnosed her as terminally ill, she believed in herself! Her grace, perseverance and humor will be an inspiration to everyone that knew Maggie. I have lost a lifelong friend, but two kids and a husband have lost their mother and wife. Maggie’s family was her rock. Her friends were like family! I hope everyone can find comfort in seeing the impact Maggie had on all of our lives. There will be a giant void in my life, but I know our memories will bring me light. I’m grateful that I got to say goodbye to Maggie last week. I know I will see signs of you here in Chicago and back in Vermont. I will see signs of you in the way I parent my child and in the way I live my life. I will honor you today and everyday and I am comforted to know you are no longer suffering. Much love and admiration, Meegs

 

I struggle to find words to express what I’m feeling…you were so good with words. You touched and inspired so many people. Your smile, laugh, cheerful spirit, and zest for life is unmatched in anyone I’ve ever met. We laughed, sang, partied, and danced our hearts out. Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, and Michael Franti are a few of the artists that will forever remind me of you when I hear their music. I admire how you always lived your life to the fullest. You leave behind a legacy of love, compassion, and the biggest spirit of anyone I know. You lit up every room that you walked into, and your light will continue to shine with Maggie’s Brightside.

 

The world lost a beautiful soul yesterday, whom I only had the fortune of knowing for a short time. I wish that I had known Maggie longer, and more intimately. She was the life of every party, had a million-gazillion friends, and was clearly deeply loved by all those who knew her. Maggie leaves behind two small children. As my helplessness feels overwhelming, I tried to think about what I could do? This article crossed my newsfeed. I can honor Maggie by remembering as much as possible that I GET to be be a Mom, a privilege that was taken from Maggie far too soon. It’s easy to forget in our daily grind what a privilege parenting truly is. How lucky am I to put my kids to bed each night? How fortunate am I to bring their forgotten lunches to school? How blessed am I to take them to the doctor when they are sick? I am grateful to Maggie for helping me to remember this.

 

Oh, my dear friend. We have walked many roads together. For those moments I am grateful. I love you so much. I miss you. We will dance together again.

 

An amazing light is no longer with us. You supported me so much at my lowest with all you had to contend with. But I know you know this community, this “village”, will be there for your family. It was a privilege and an honor to have been a small part of your amazing life.

 

Friendship is the sweetest form of love. So when I say I’ll be your friend ‘til the end, it’s as good as saying I’ll keep you in my heart until it’s very last beat.

 

She actually said it best herself because putting things in writing was her thing. If you knew her, even just a little, you loved her too and you probably also woke up this morning wondering whether this was real. “Life before loss is easier. I’ve been told that the loss doesn’t get less painful, but that the intensity of the emotion might lessen after time. Something important to you doesn’t just disappear. It’s with you always.” ~Maggie Turner Van Duyn

 

“There you have it. It’s simple. Be kind. Love yourself. Dance. Hope for miracles.” ~Maggie Turner Van Duyn