On April 7, 2012, Patti and Eric were married at the U-Va. chapel. Linda had been in the hospital in the days leading up to the wedding but managed to be released a few hours before the rehearsal dinner.
Patti had told Eric that she wanted two things on her wedding day: to marry him, and to have her mother there to see it happen. “She got both of them,” Eric said.
Patti and Eric honeymooned in the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. About a week after they returned, she learned that the cancer had metastasized to her brain. After another surgery, she moved with Eric to San Francisco. She wanted, her sister Lisa Kovacevic said, to “start the life that she always dreamed of with her husband.”
Three weeks after the move, Patti’s new doctors in California told her that her cancer was terminal and that she had two weeks to two months to live. She and Eric flew back to Virginia to tell her parents. Linda continued to decline, and so did Patti — so much that she was not able to attend her mother’s funeral.
Linda Ann DeNearing was born Feb. 20, 1952, in Lyons, N.Y. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973 and married three years later. In 1991, she received a master’s degree, also in nursing, from George Mason University.
The Woodses spent the early years of their marriage in California. Linda gave birth to Patricia Clara Woods in San Diego on July 29, 1982, while her husband was at sea. Since the late 1980s, the family had lived in Springfield.
Patti received a bachelor’s degree from U-Va. in 2005 and a master’s degree in 2010.
Survivors include their husband and father, retired Navy Capt. Jim Woods of Springfield; Patti’s husband, Eric Varney of San Francisco; their daughter and sister, Lisa Kovacevic of Eugene, Ore.; their son and brother, Jacob Woods of Springfield; their stepson and half-brother, Jaime Woods of Manassas; their mother and grandmother, Clara DeNearing of Marion, N.Y.; Linda’s brother; and her five grandchildren.
Once, the day before a chemo treatment, Patti reflected in a blog post on the misfortune of her diagnosis.
When I’m feeling sorry for myself, she wrote, instead of lamenting “why me?”, I’m trying to ask myself “why not me?” Who would I wish this on if it wasn’t me? (hint: the answer is no one.)
Linda responded in a comment, asking her daughter: But why both of us?
I guess the answer is the same, she wrote — why not? Are we so privileged that every day should be blissful and happy? Is anyone?