People find unique ways of storing and recording memories of the most important days of their lives. Some save cinema ticket stubs from their first date, some like to keep home videos and photo albums of family events. The methods of storing memories – both happy and sad – are endless. But the story of Cody Cox stands out from the rest. He chose to remember the last day his nephew Justin Tyler Berry was alive in a very different manner – by purchasing a painting depicting the last sunrise his nephew had ever seen. This was possible because brain tumor survivor Debbie Wagner has been painting the sunrise every single morning since December, 2005.
56-year-old Wagner is from Bennington, Kansas. In her healthier days, the mother of three loved to read long novels, cook up complicated recipes, take care of her family’s finances and always got nine straight hours of sleep every night. When she was diagnosed with not one, but two tumors in her brain in 2002, her life changed forever. Although the surgery to remove the tumors was successful, she lost the ability to do many of the things she loved. Wagner could no longer multitask, follow recipes or novel plots, balance a checkbook, or even sleep soundly through the night.