Never Forgotten

Mrs. Genenbacher celebrates April 13 in honor of her loving mother


Alyssa Bailey

Senior Kennedy Hennessy made a sign for Mrs. Genenbacher in honor of her mother. She will forever be thankful for having such an amazing person as her mother.

Alyssa Bailey, Reporter

Everyone has a special memory that always brings joy and happiness to them. For Mrs. Genenbacher, that was the day of April 13, which was greatly celebrated with tears and laughter.

On Friday, April 13, blue and green day was celebrated, which is sponsored by an organization known as Donate Live that supports organ donor awareness by having people wear their logo, blue and green. April is also organ donor awareness month in which Mrs. Genenbacher commemorated in honor of her mother, Sandy, who passed away due to cancer.

This surprise celebration, near the main staircases, not only helped Mrs. Genenbacher get through that weekend because she was able to talk about it, but she hopes that for other students who have gone through, or will go through the same thing can remember her talking about her personal experience and maybe feel a little better about their situation.

It meant the world to Mrs. Genenbacher when the ladies of the Educators’ Rising, a club that she sponsors, went above and beyond for organ donor awareness day and surprised her with all of them wearing blue and green shirts with an “I love Genenbacher” sign. It really helped her get through that heartfelt weekend.

Senior Kennedy Hennessy, one of the Educators’ Rising members, participated in this surprise celebration for Mrs. Genenbacher by working with Dr. Kiely and Mrs. Genenbacher’s husband to put this commemoration together. Hennessy made the “I love Genenbacher” sign, as well as helped spread the information about the surprise to other students while managing to keep it a secret.

Hennessy wanted to be a part of this experience for Mrs. Genenbacher because she’s not only her favorite teacher, but she also finds Mrs. Genenbacher’s strength through this hard time to be inspiring.

“I am very close to her and I know that her mom was super important to her, and I know that this day is very important to her because she used to not be able to come to school on these days,” Hennessy said. “Ever since she came to Liberty, she said she feels like this is a family and she feels comforted by everyone about the situation. She no longer felt like she had to stay home so I think it was really special to show that.”

With five children to raise, Mrs. Genenbacher says her mom was always there to care for all of them. She was a stay-at-home mom for years before becoming a receptionist at an eye doctor’s office, and even then, she was still dedicated to her kids and greatly impacted each of their lives, even after her passing.

“She was really a great listener and gave all this awesome advice, and she was just never afraid to tell me that it was okay for how I was feeling that day, even if I was wrong, but she helped me see through my selfish, teenage years where I couldn’t see other people’s sides of the story,” Mrs. Genenbacher said. “She definitely helped me do that, which had definitely helped me as a teacher.”

Growing up with a mom who was quiet but had this wise and strong confidence about herself gave Mrs. Genenbacher that same understanding and consideration that she has today, and she thanks her mom everyday for that gift. Losing her mom from cancer really put into perspective the idea of how life is so precious and how it’s important to be selfless towards everyone, which was something that her mom significantly emphasized in her life.

“She always said to me ‘kill them with kindness’ and I always thought it was crazy and I find myself, as a teacher, giving that advice all the time. I mean, I use it all the time. It’s kind of funny how I never thought it would work and think it would never help me and now, as an adult, I’m always thinking it’s a lot smarter to use,” Mrs. Genenbacher said. “But, the fact that she’s gone and still has such a big impact just kind of makes me feel like what I do, now, matters. So, everyday, the things that I do and the choices that I make, they don’t just matter until my time is up, they matter from then on. That’s never really something she said, it’s just something I’ve learned from losing her.”

Mrs. Genenbacher and her mother were very close and that closeness continued to grow, especially throughout her treatments and chemo. Since Mrs. Genenbacher and her mom were the only two girls in the house, they would spend most of their time together, which Mrs. Genenbacher always enjoyed. Sometimes, when people from her high school would ask her what she would be doing that weekend, Mrs. Genenbacher would respond with, “Hanging out with my mom,” which was something that her and her mom always joked about together. From that, it was a difficult time losing her mom but she still remembers her mom’s selflessness and how, even through the cancer treatments, how considerate she was to everyone around her.

“Going through all of the surgeries towards the end where she was told she might not make it, all her focus was just on everyone else. She just wanted to do everything for us and that’s when she decided to donate her body to science for cancer research and she was able to donate her corneas. We saw how Wash. U. students were able to benefit and learn about the type of cancer that she had which was pretty rare. It was never about what she wanted because what she wanted was what was good for everyone else. She was awesome,” Mrs. Genenbacher said. “I just think that how powerful that is, not just for that person and their family who got her corneas, but for me and my brothers and dad, that’s helped us get through grieving of her.”

Mrs. Genenbacher was always in admiration and awe of her mother and every year on the anniversary, she always celebrats her mother rather than mourn because even though it’s a sad day, she knows that her mother is always beside her and guiding her and her family. She thanks her mother for everything she’s done because she was one of the major people that helped mold the person she is today, and into the person that she knows her mother would be proud of. She will forever be grateful for that, and thankful for having such an amazing person as her mother.