I'm sure you've heard of Michael Clarke's death yesterday. It was really interesting to watch timelines fill up with the news of his passing from so many people, including those who had never even seen his work.
It was also hard, because a woman that I have admired and been inspired, encouraged and challenged by excessively also passed away yesterday, ending her 2.5 year battle with cancer. Shelli was just the most incredible woman. I'm literally crying as I type this, and I hadn't even seen her in probably 7 years. I spent some time with her wonderful family in Pirmasens, Germany several years ago and we've only kept in contact through facebook + email since then.
Everyone who knew Shelli loved her. Everyone. Her husband, Joe, shared that the nurses who cared for his wife told him (well before she died) that in their industry, they have to learn to stop caring and to separate their work from their emotions. I've had this conversation several times with my friend Kelly who is a wonderful nurse and often has to see people die. She can't save everyone. It's essential for her not to become emotionally involved, because otherwise she wouldn't be able to do her job well. If you are in the medical field, I don't need to elaborate, and if you aren't I'm still sure you understand. However, these nurses who cared for Shelli told Joe that she made them feel again.
And honestly, I don't see how she couldn't have. Her life. Her vibrant, passionate, all-in, loving, compassionate, warm, adventurous life could speak to even the coldest, most distant soul.
And here, I see post after post about Michael Clarke, while Shelli will go unrecognized by the world at large. I say 'at large' because her influence was so beyond cross-cultural. It was extremely global. I don't mean that Michael Clarke shouldn't be mourned, no not at all. But it is hard to swallow the injustice of equally important lives mourned less. All human life is beyond valuable.
Life is so precious. It's such a gift. And we just aren't promised a tomorrow, no matter how young, healthy, rich, famous or careful we are.
I keep singing Brooke Fraser's song, "flags" to myself. She rolls through all of these same thoughts and emotions and there's a sort of comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one who feels this way. (video below if you want to listen to it)
"Come, tell me your troubles. I'm not your answer, but I'm a listening ear. Reality has left you reeling. All facts and no feeling. No faith and all fear. I don't know the good man will fall, while the wicked one stands... and our lives blow about like flags on the land...
I don't know why the innocents fall, while the monster still stands. And our lives blow about like flags on the land. I don't know why are words are so proud... yet the promise so thin. And our lives blow about like flags in the wind...
You who mourn will be comforted. You who hunger will hunger no more. Oh the last shall be first, of this I am sure. You who weep now will laugh again. Oh you lowly, be lowly no more. Yes the last will be first, of this I am sure.
I don't know why the innocents fall, while the monsters stand. I don't know why the little ones thirst, but I know the last shall be first."
So beautifully written, so true. There can be so much injustice in the world. When I face these impossibly hard situations, I really have to stick to what I *do* know to be true, and to what I am absolutely sure of. Because to be honest, why a woman like Shelli with an adoring husband + two children would die so young will never make any sense to me. But I do know that "the last will be first" and that Shelli was most certainly a servant who made herself last so that others could be first.
Remembering Shelli today. Desperately wanting to live like Shelli... leaving a sweet smelling scent everywhere I go. Loving people. Really, really loving them. Being honest, upright, kind, and compassionate to all I meet.
And also wanting to hug everyone I love, very tightly. Remind them (and myself) of how much I love them and why.
Is there anyone you have lost and want to honor? I'd love to turn the comment section into a celebration of lives today. Maybe the entire world won't be able to hear about their lives, but we can remember them and share with each other.
I'm always grateful to you readers as well. Thank you so much for coming along and sharing life with me. Thank you for reading especially today. I try not to do this often, but Shelli just deserves it so much. Her life is worth remembering, and imitating.