Shirley was 8 years older than me. In our younger years I was often the bane of her existence when I tattled things to her boyfriends as they waited for her to get ready for a date. Luckily, she forgave me for that and she became my confidante. She & Dick married when I was 10 and I loved spending time at their home. Scary movies. Bouncing ball competitions. Board games. Sleep-overs with friends. Vern proposed to me in their living room. She was my matron of honor and Jer's extra special Auntie. She & Dick greeted hundreds of people each holiday season when they opened the doors to the big pole barn next to their house filled with beautiful Christmas village displays. She wouldn't fly, so when we moved to Nevada in 1982 I only saw her when we came back to Michigan to visit once a year.
Shirl was a devout Christian, so I am confident that she greeted her moment of passing with a joy to be going home to Heaven. But her husband of 58 years will miss her deeply, as will I and my two remaining siblings, and so many others who loved her. The death of someone close can make us acutely aware of our own mortality. I felt that after Vern died and I'm feeling it again now. It's been a tough 14 months. My sister, Bev, died in November 2018. My brother, Dick, died last month. And now Shirl.
So how should we go about living our life? Do we live as if we'll live forever? Or do we live each day as if it were our last? Haruki Murakami said, "Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it." Maybe making peace with death is the best option. Take away the anticipation, the fear, the ending and just acknowledge that death is a part of this life we've been given and we need to live our best life each and every day. It's a lofty goal. And one I'm going to try hard to meet.