I haven’t posted in a while, but I am back on track and hope to be posting more regularly ~ God Bless You All
No Greater Love. . .
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”
What a statement from Jesus! How many of us would say that or do that in our lives today? I know someone who did.
Shirley was my best friend and was for over 30 years. I met her when I was pregnant with my first child. We became instant friends ~ we had some very similar life experiences and we understood each other very well. We connected in a way that you want to connect with a good friend. She knew my moods and quirks and I knew hers.
About 3 or 4 years ago, Shirley’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with colon cancer. Donna was getting sicker and sicker. She had lost so much weight and was in so much pain. Donna is a mother herself and a grandmother.
I knew that Shirley was in such emotional pain over the illness of her daughter. She went and spent each weekend at Donna’s house to look after her. You see, Shirley worked during the week at a homeless shelter for mentally disabled women. I also worked at this shelter for a time.
Shirley at this time was over 70 years old and she could hold her own with the younger women with whom she worked. The clients that came to the day program and those who lived at the shelter adored Shirley. She made each woman feel special, important and as though they were the only woman there that needed her attention. But Shirley was also tough as nails! She wouldn’t take any guff from anyone including the clients who thought they were going to put one over on her.
As time went on Shirley herself began to get sick. We all noticed how she was losing weight and at the same time her daughter Donna was gaining weight. Hmmm, what an interesting thing to see. . .
One spring 3 years ago Miss Shirley, as we all called her because that is how the clients of the shelter would refer to staff, told me she needed to have some “tests” done.
As we learned a bit later, she was getting biopsies on her lungs and so forth. I remember calling he one day to see if the results were back yet. In typical Shirley style she said, “I don’t know if I’m livin’ or dyin’ yet, I’ll let you know”. She told me she was ok with whatever happened. She told me that she was 74 and had lived a good life, had 5 children and I can’t even remember how many grandchildren or great-grandchildren she had but I do know that her kids and grandkids were the air that she breathed.
As the year marched on, Shirley was diagnosed with lung cancer and she began to deteriorate while Donna got better and better.
Shirley died nearly a year after her diagnosis on March 16, 2010. Shirley did see her 75th birthday on March 8 ~ International Women’s Day! And what a woman she was!
I still talk to her and think of her and miss her so very much as do her many friends.
Her funeral was packed with friends, former staff from the shelter and some of the women from the shelter that she counseled. The Church was also full of friends and family. She was good friends with the priests of this Monastery from which she was buried. And what a celebration we had during that Mass.
Did Shirley lay down her life for her daughter??? I believe it with all my heart. Shirley was that way ~ she would do it for her daughter, she would do it for a friend.
The world needs more Shirley’s ~ the world needs more love!
Sandy Ozanich ~ © 2012