Wendy L. Helmer Memorial Award – Tribute to MK

Today, the Graduate Student Diversity Committee in Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst presented this award in loving memory and honor of Wen to a PBS graduate student who embodies Wendy’s spirit and commitment to social justice. MK was the first recipient of this award. Thank you to all those who made this happen to keep Wen’s spirit present.

My tribute:


That’s what you call Wen.

Your name for Wen.

Your ‘dubs’ is here right now.

“Only” in spirit,

Yet her presence filling the room.

This award going to you today,

Is Dubs speaking to you.

Letting you know that she hasn’t left you.

Is still there for you.

Did you hear her chuckling in disbelief when you thought up this award?

I did!

Heard her voice whispering, ‘I’m only the secretary. I didn’t do anything special.’

Then, her soul flying high.

Her spirit singing.

In awe about the love that inspired this award.


You are one of the PRESERVERS of Wen’s legacy.

You are one of the HOLDERS of Wen’s memory.

You are one of the CONNECTORS to Wen’s spirit.

You brought Team Wendy to life.

The armbands you created a visible symbol.


So very powerful.

With these armbands you gave people a purpose during those last days.

Rallying them around Wen.

Standing by her.

Fighting with her.

Comforting her.

Easing her along.

On this journey none of us wanted her to take.

Letting Wen experience the power of our love.

Our collective love.

Healing her soul.

These armbands still connecting us.

With her.


Taking care of Wen’s rubber duckies.

Bringing me the bag full of them.

So that I could choose the ones to keep.

Letting them swim in the pool.

Allowing people to pick their own.

To keep.

So that they could remember Wen too.

Stay connected.

This award.

Keeping Wen’s spirit present in the PSC.

Against forgetting.

Inspiring others to follow her commitments.

Honoring her.

Thank you, MK.

No doubt in my mind

That you are the one and only one who should receive this award.

Be honored today.

In Wen’s name and spirit.

That’s what I want.

That’s what Wen wants.

No doubt.

Thank you, MK, for all you have done for us.



One thought on “Wendy L. Helmer Memorial Award – Tribute to MK

  1. Beautiful! Congrats to MK…a wonderful tribute to an amazing soul given to another amazing soul! Wen blessed so many! Her memory will live forever in our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

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