Sunday, September 19, 2010

Celebrating Sherry

Grab this related post Widget!
My sister-in-law died this morning at 6:30. I described in my post last night the tragic family circumstances involved, and the road ahead will indeed be difficult for Sherry’s husband and young daughter (I was incorrect—today is her 5th birthday).

These situations make it easy to question the “why” of it all. Does everything really happen for a reason? Is life basically unfair? If God in fact has a plan for us all, this one is beyond mysterious. Part of the grieving process involves finding peace in whatever helps us try to make sense of what appears senseless.

While my heart is absolutely broken I want and need to focus on what was good about Sherry’s too-short life. And as I sit in quiet contemplation I find an incredibly positive lesson we can all take from this sad day.

I have known Sherry for almost her entire life. As a little girl she was terrified of pain. Removing a splinter from her foot was akin to amputating her leg without anesthesia. She would absolutely go wild and have to be physically restrained. I’m not exaggerating—it was that bad.

So first I want to celebrate her bravery throughout this entire ordeal. She unflinchingly embraced every suggested procedure that could help prolong her life. She was poked, prodded, opened up and sewed back together—you name it, she experienced it. And never once did she complain. Amazing.

Next I want to salute her patience. Sherry married somewhat late, even by today’s standards of postponing life’s big events. But she didn’t settle and waited for Mr. Right to come along. Good for her!

How about her courage for choosing to immediately bring a child into this uncertain world? And jettisoning a bright career to stay home and raise her? And continuing to drive to school and swim lessons until just a few weeks ago when she could no longer get out of bed? Remarkable.

This was a woman with reserves of passion and spirit that none of us who thought we knew her could have ever predicted. There is much we can learn about the power of love from her example. I am so proud of her.

And yet she is gone now. Sherry could not have foreseen this end to her story, and here is the larger lesson I think we can all take from her life. We can plan our journey in advance down to the slightest detail; we can envision clearly what is going to happen and when; we can anticipate arriving at our destination as well as all the events that happened along the way.

But we never truly can know what’s over the next hill or around the next curve, can we? There are in truth only two certainties of our existence—the first is our birth, and the other Sherry experienced this morning. Although we cannot write we unknowingly “sign” a lease upon our arrival, but we can’t ever be sure from moment to moment if it’s going to be renewed.

So thank you Sherry, for the example you have given us to not postpone our joy—to do and not just think about doing--to live and appreciate our lives fully each day. Your time here was worthy and valuable. I love you and will miss you always.


Diane said...

Thank you so much for your words and reminder that life is precious and we need to live each day in grace, gratitude and generocity. I'm so sorry for the lose of your family member.
Blessings, Diane and Juan Moreno

zootenval said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zootenval said...

Losing a sibling is difficult any time, but especially so young. My wife lost a brother at a too young age. It is still painful more than 20 years later. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Cynthia, as well as extended family. Vayas con dios, amigo...

Andy Tomlin

Angela said...

Edd and Cynthia:

I am so sorry for your loss. Your words are beautiful. I lost my uncle too young last year. What I learned from that is that the measure a life is not in years and days. It is the amount of love she gave and received in her short time. It is clear from her story that she was loved tremendously and that she knew this. My thoughts are with you and your family...

Peter and Shelagh said...

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make...

John Lennon.

Our thoughts are with you and yours.

Peter and Shelagh.

David L. Akins said...

Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
~Rossiter Worthington Raymond

Edd, you and your family are in our prayers.


Sherri Barcus said...

I am truly sorry to hear of your families loss. My brother married a woman who had lost her only daughter when she was 14. When she married my brother she made him promise that they would start their family right away (as she was in her early 40s). She never wanted to suffer the loss of an only child again, so they had two daughters right away. Sadly the loss came with those girls loosing their mother, and my brother his wife... One never knows the pattern from this side as the master weaves from the other side.

Rono said...

Thank you for posting this. She will be missed and celebrated by her family.

Mike and Johnie said...

I am sorry for your loss.

Sapa Ynca said...

I heard someone once say they handled a death of a loved one when they realized they were not humans having a spiritual experience but rather a spirit having a human experience. Sorry for the loss Dude.

erin said...

Ed you have such an amazing way with your words. This is perfection. Thank you for reminding us of what life is really about. Sherry was a warrior and she fought to the very end. I think it has also reminded all of us that our family is very important no matter how close or far we are. I've been thinking about you and Cynthia a lot over the past week.