This month marks eight years since a dear friend passed away. I was blessed to serve with Shelly in my church with the young women for a couple years. We grew very close in that calling.
In my journal on July 16, 2010 I wrote about Shelly being diagnosed with a brain tumor and how we were praying for a miracle. She went into surgery, and never recovered. She passed away on July 19th. Oh how my heart broke! She had just returned from leading an amazing stake girls camp up in the mountains. She was FULL of joy, life, hope, faith. She was so incredibly kind. She had faith like Job. She loved everyone.
I had just spoke with Shelly the Sunday before she passed away. You know what we talked about? About how some promises in this life aren’t fulfilled until the next life…in heaven. Those words gave me a lot of comfort when I heard the unbelievable news. Our Shelly, a constant ray of sunshine, was an angel now.
At the time of her passing, I was our ward’s compassionate service leader(in our church we have someone who helps take care/organize any service needs in the ward the women/families might have). And I was about to find out that this is the hardest calling I’d ever had.
As I called neighbor after neighbor telling them that our dear Shelly had passed away and could they make some food item for the funeral, my heart continued to break into pieces. To actually utter the words that she had died over and over again was more than I could take. I eventually broke down crying when I was calling my neighbor Brenda, who was Shelly’s dearest friend in the ward. She helped me calm back down, so I could finish my calls. We had all been in Young Women’s together, and I am forever grateful for her strength that day and on many others.
The day of the funeral came. That morning I just felt like I needed to do something. But what could I do? I looked out in my yard and my eyes found my bunch of sunflowers that I always grew by my mailbox. That was it! Shelly loved flowers. She was like a sunflower. Always looking toward the light of Christ, just as a sunflower looks toward the Sun. So I took a big vase-full. We ended up floating the flowers in cute glass dishes that another neighbor brought. It was perfect. And many people commented how Shelly would have liked the sunflowers instead of something like a rose. It brought me comfort.
So that is why I will always grow these by my mailbox. Because it helps me to remember Shelly. To remember to love like she did. To live life to it’s fullest because we never know when we’ll be called home. She exemplified everything good. And her laugh was so contagious. I will never forget her. I always think of her as I try to love those I serve. She was an incredible example of Christ-like love.
Until we meet again…
Valaura, Brenda, Shelly, Me, and Paula @ Girl’s Camp one year
Life is Good. Share the Good.