July 23, 2012 Uncategorized 10

I lost a very dear friend this weekend, and the world lost a very great woman.

Lani Deauville, the woman listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Longest Living Quadriplegic left this world on Saturday, July 21st. To say she was an amazing woman is like calling the Atlantic Ocean a puddle.

I was so honored to be selected as the author for Lani’s memoir and as it turned out it was not only an honor, it was a genuine pleasure. Lani spent over a year with me, telling the stories of her life, sharing everything, holding back nothing.  Together we traveled back through the mishaps of her childhood and the rebuilding of her life. Simply put, she was a woman who never gave in to defeat. To tell Lani she could not do something only challenged her to try harder. She overcame adversities that could easily fell the strongest and rose to heights greater than one might imagine.  Lani once told me that the greatest handicap any person could have is the lack of belief in themself- Lani did not have the use of her legs or hands, but when it came to living life she had no handicap. .

At age seventeen, a diving accident left Lani a quadriplegic. This happened in 1953, when most people with spinal cord injuries died within weeks – but Lani not only willed herself to live, she lived a full, rich and happy life. She had a fabulous career, married the man of her dreams and raised a baby boy who has grown to be a man and is following in her giant footprints.

Lani’s story is one of amazement and adventure. It is a story of loving and being loved. It is a story of giving and receiving, of nature and nurture, of doing the impossible and then looking back to laugh at the odds. I cannot begin to say how much I will miss this amazing woman and if my writing of this article is not as crisp and clever as I usuallly try to be, it’s because it’s hard to see words through the tears.

Goodbye Lani. You will forever live in my Land of IS.

Life in the Land of IS…the amazing story of Lani Deauville, the world’s longest living quadriplegic   Click here

10 Responses to “MY HEART IS HEAVY…”


    Diana Murdock

    Your words are enough to bring her amazing life to light and will hold it there for a very, very long time. Thank you for sharing, Bette.



    A heartfelt and wonderful tribute and thanks to you, Bette, we have a permanent record of her life.


    Carol White

    Those were beautiful words written about your friend. I’m so sorry for your loss. Two dear friends of mine have died and their passing was untimely. They will never be forgotten and I know you will always carry Lani in your heart.



    Bette, What a beautiful tribute in memory of an amazing friend. It’s clear from what you’ve written that you are so rich to have known her .


    Alle Wells

    Bette, My heart goes out to you at this time. Thank you so much for sharing Lani’s story with the world. Her determination and strength was truly inspiring. I agree with Elle, knowing people like Lani enriches our lives.



    Yes, Aunt Lani was amazing women that words cant explain she will truly be missed and will have be in our heats forever!! Aunt Lani We love you!!


    Naomi Blackburn

    My heart is breaking. I never had a chance to meet this wonderful woman, but her words and life story through “Life in the Land of Is” impacted me so strongly that there are times that they still come back to me. And, of course, my heart goes out to my dear friend. I hate to ever see you in any pain.

    “The worst handicap you can have is a lack of belief in yourself” Lani Deauville


    Jacquelyn Lane

    Bette, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I have not yet read the book, but I will be doing so soon. I’m sure it was a heartwrenching loss for you and I hope that the good memories that you shared with Lani will bring joy to your heart.

Leave a Reply