My Aunt Shirley.

Days before I flew to Dallas to speak at the Close To My Heart convention on July 13th, I decided I would need a cowboy hat and cowboy boots to help me tell an authentic Texas story. I called my Aunt Shirley. In fact, anytime I’m headed to Texas, I call Aunt Shirley. Shirley has accompanied me to CKU events in San Antonio, Houston and Austin; She starred in at least one Simple Scrapbooks video, filmed at the Primedia studios in Dallas. If I need anything arranged, organized, decorated, communicated or coordinated, I call Shirley—in fact, the last time I spoke at the CTMH convention in Texas (2004) I realized that in order to convey an effective comparison between scrapbooking and sky diving, I would need to actually jump out of an airplane. I called Aunt Shirley. I said something like, “I land in Dallas this Thursday at 2:30pm and I’m speaking Friday morning at 9:00am and somewhere in there … I need to go skydiving.” She answered, “I’m on it.”

Last Thursday evening I got the call that Aunt Shirley had unexpectedly passed away. She was only 62 years old. She had gone to dinner with some friends on Tuesday night and then at some point in the middle of the night experienced an aneurism in her brain. Her neighbor, wondering why she hadn’t seen her walked next door to check in and found her on the bedroom floor.

And that’s it.
She’s gone.
I won’t see Aunt Shirley again in this life.

I’m very happy that she passed quickly and without suffering, but I’m regretting the email I didn’t reply to and the phone calls I didn’t pick up—it’s been a very busy summer after all.

And so I’m back in Dallas. This time for a funeral—I’m sure many of you have experienced the sudden, untimely loss of a loved one, and if you haven’t you know someone who has. Please do me a favor and decide right now that people matter to you, especially people in your immediate and extended families. Please don’t get so busy that you think the next task is more important than taking a few minutes to connect with someone you love. I loved my Aunt Shirley and she knew that, but had I known when we posed for this photo …

I pray that we will remember in all of our photo-taking and page-making that our pictures and stories become instantaneously more priceless when life takes that dreaded and unexpected turn. Tell the stories of the people you love.

p.s. I have not forgotten about the FREE seat in Becky’s upcoming 4Experts class. I will post the winner as soon as I return home. Thanks for your patience!

Comments

  1. Stacy, I was at both the Close To My Heart Conventions you spoke of, and remember the sky diving story/pictures… And your boots story… and Aunt Shirley.. I am so very deeply sorry for you and your families loss… My thoughts, prayers and hugs are eing sent your way… Barb Carrico (Lorton, VA)

  2. Bec Kilgore says:

    Oh my heart hurts. My good friend’s gram died today. I just got word that my beloved cousin is gravely ill (cardiac arrest) and now I read of your sudden loss. I don’t know what to even say except I know our Father in heaven has a plan and holds us close. Thinking of you. Also of Heidi.

  3. Carole Jordan says:

    Saw your Tweet about being in Dallas (I live here), & was so sad to see the reason. Your Aunt Shirley sounds like an amazing woman. My deepest sympathy to you & your family. Thank you for the reminder though. I have a dear friend that I’ve gone all summer without speaking to. I’m calling her tomorrow.

  4. Nicole Powers says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss, I lost someone to an anuresm almost 20 years ago. My prayers are with you and your family.

  5. Stacy – I’m sending you much love and prayers in these extremely tough moments for you and your family. There are no words that can ease the loss you are feeling right now. I’m so sorry for Aunt Shirley’s passing, friend. May you find warmth and comfort in your loving memories. xo, Megan

  6. carol in seattle :) says:

    Sending hugs and prayers to you and your family. THIS is why we scrapbook!

  7. you are in my thoughts and prayers! sudden is so, so very hard!! that sudden for me was both my parents, same day, they were even younger than your aunt Shirley, so I felt so much empathy for you. What a wonder legacy of memories you have with her and I hope you can find some peace and comfort in knowing that families are forever. many hugs

  8. I’m so sorry, Stacy. Our family experienced a very sudden and untimely death this summer (the girls’ preschool teacher of three years combined) and it is just so hard. I’ll be thinking of you.

  9. Please accept my condolences also. It’s hard to lose someone that you love.

  10. Eileen VanDyke says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

  11. Tirzah Shirley says:

    I’m very sorry to hear of your Aunt Shirley’s sudden death. My heart goes out to you sincerely. My best Aunt Twink, 60, suffered a brain aneurism a week and a half ago, as well. Miraculously, she is still alive. I lost both my parents a year and a half ago, and losing Twink would’ve been so difficult. I am listening to you. I am going to make a greater effort to stay in better touch with my special Aunt Twink. Family is so important. We mustn’t be too busy.

  12. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, I too just lost a dear aunt of mine. She was only 65 and lost her battle with cancer.

  13. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I am sorry to hear about your loss. I will take the reminder to get in touch with my extended family.

  14. Terri n da Hood says:

    Aunt Shirley to you is my mother right now to me….we just found out she is terminally ill and I’m with her doing any fun things she is able to right now.
    I am sooo sorry for your loss and keeping you close to my heart at this difficult time.

  15. What a great picture(and my that lobby looks familiar). Life is here and gone in the blink of an eye. Thankfully you have many precious memories. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  16. Melody Pugh says:

    Stacy,

    My heart breaks for you. How terribly sad to lose someone so suddenly. What a good reminder of why we do what we do, but to not let it get in the way of spending time with those we love, for however long we have them.

    May your good memories give you peace.

    Melody

  17. how heartbreaking, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  18. So sorry for your loss, dear friend. May you feel God’s arms wrapped around your family especially during this sad time.

    Love you.
    xoxo,
    Becca

  19. I am so so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to your family.

  20. Dear Stacy,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You got your point across about connecting with the ones we love so well. Thank you. What a good reminder for us all.

  21. liz Boylan says:

    Stacy,

    Sorry for your loss. We too experienced a sudden death with our very close uncle died very young from cancer so we know what its like. My uncle as well as your aunt will always be remember and not forgotten since they were very special in our hearts. Sincerely

  22. Karen Freeman says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.My thoughts are with you and your family and your Aunt Shirley – she sounds like one awesome lady. Hugs Karen

  23. MichelleGB says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a fabulous aunt and fun woman to be around! I hope you can find comfort and peace in your happy memories of her. Hugs…

  24. Oh, I am so sorry Stacy! Praying for you and your family as you celebrate your dear Aunt Shirley’s life.

  25. Kathy Jo Camacho says:

    Stacy and family, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your Aunt is such a special lady. From the stories and the memories – you can tell that. Blessings to you. Untill you see her again…

  26. Sending thoughts and prayers to you and your family. So sorry for your loss!

  27. So sorry for your loss. You take care of yourself and enjoy the time with family. HUGS

  28. Angie Kyle says:

    I’m so sorry to hear your news and for your loss. I totally understand your pain. I too was just at my precious Paw Paw’s funeral over the weekend and still grieving. I’m glad your aunt didn’t suffer. Unfortunately, my Paw Paw suffered a massive stroke on August 3 and lingered unable to communicate for two weeks….such a sad situation, but now glad he is no longer suffering. We all can now celebrate their beautiful and full lives.

    And guess who had all the photos of Paw Paw readily available digitally when requested for a slide show? Yes, that was me, thanks to you and your Library of Memories. I quickly went to my digital category drawer on my computer and sent them. This is why we spend time with our photos and scrapbook.

  29. Sending prayers to you and your family. ((HUG))

  30. Sorry for your loss.

  31. Allison M. says:

    My sincerest sympathies to you & your family for your loss.

  32. Stacy so sorry for your loss. And while your job may have made you feel too busy to pick up that phone, it also offered you the opportunity to visit with her in person many times over the years. She sounds like a very cool person who left this world far to young.

  33. So sorry for your loss, Stacy. Thanks to you and your Aunt Shirley for the reminder to make family and love and memories a priority…

  34. Stacy, I am so sorry for your loss. (((HUGS)))

  35. Stacy, as everyone else has said, I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. My dad, who was only 64, passed away suddenly last December (2 days after Christmas) from a heart attack. No previous health issues at all. He was supposed to come to my house for dinner the day he died but didn’t feel well so decided to postpone. Really regret that now. The hardest part is not getting to say good-bye. I struggled with that for a long time.

    I feel your pain. Please know that there are MANY of us sending you and your family our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Cherish your memories of Aunt Shirley.

  36. dianelynn says:

    Stacy please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your Aunt. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time. xo

  37. Stacy, thank you for sharing so openly and honestly and turning something so awful into a reminder to all of us to love those in our life. What a positive message. My condolences to you and your family. Now, I better go call my grandpa and tell him I love him (my only living grandparent).

  38. Oh, Stacy, really? My mouth dropped open, I just watched her in the last year on your Simple Scrapbooks video. I’m so sad for you and I’m so sorry. Actually, I was going to write an email to my family tonight, but decided to wait. I’m not now, I’m writing it now.
    All the best to you and your family.

  39. So sorry to hear your sad news, Stacy. Thank you for sharing a bit of your aunt’s story with us, and for the positive take-away lesson. I wish your family peace and gentleness in the coming weeks. Hugs to you and your mom.

  40. So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story to remind all of us that life is short and we need to appreciate and celebrate our loved ones while they are here.

  41. I’m so sorry for your loss, Stacy.
    My own aunt has very few days left of this life and I am in some ways fortunate to know this so I can make sure she knows that she is loved when I can visit her.
    It’s times like this that serve as a reminder to stay in touch and just love the people we hold most dear to us.
    Tanya (Mamabirdy)

  42. Sorry for your loss Stacy. Thanks for sharing some memories with us.

  43. Letty Sandoval says:

    Stacy so sorry to hear about the passing of your aunt. My prayers for you and your family! It’s good that you have so beautiful memories of your time together. She will be in your heart forever. God bless you!

  44. Oh, Stacy, tears are in my eyes right now. What a wonderful woman and what a wonderful lesson she is leaving you (and all of us, now, because you shared). Sounds like she was an amazing person to have on your side, and is an amazing guardian angel you have rooting for you in Heaven right now! Thinking of you and your family and sending warm wishes.

  45. Stacy, just wanted to send my condolences to you and your family on the lost of your beloved aunt. Wishing you strength for the hard days.

  46. Stacy,
    So sorry for your loss. And even though you know you will see her again and that she is happily off with family and old friends and preaching the gospel, it still hurts your very human heart. May you find peace in your memories that help your sorrow.

    Big hugs,
    Nancy

  47. So, so sorry for your loss! I hope you enjoy the funeral and travel safely.

  48. Nicky from Okotoks says:

    Many prayers and blessings for you and your family.

  49. I am so very sorry for your loss Stacy. Thank you for the reminder and my prayers are with you and your family.

  50. So sorry for your loss Stacy. Thank you again for reminding us what it really is all about.

  51. Hi Stacy,
    Like you, I too love your Aunt Shirley. She spoke so often of you to me and was so very proud of you. What a beautiful funeral to celebrate her Shirleyness today. When I saw you walk in with the family, I knew you must be Stacy as you look so much like our Shirley. What a beautiful opening prayer you gave. I feel so honored to have known your amazing aunt. She brought sunshine and help into my life often. I will miss her so much. Your dear family is in our prayers.
    Love,
    Robynn Thiot

  52. I’m so sorry for your loss but glad that your aunt didn’t suffer. It’s hard to let cherished loved ones go. This is also a reminder to all of us to live each day to the fullest and treasure each and every minute the good Lord has given to us. Blessings to your family.

  53. Christine says:

    So sorry for your loss. The older I get, the more I try to focus on the joy of knowing my loved one is with our Lord and the gift their passes gives me. Usually it is as you’ve said……a speedbump in life that makes me slow down and remember what matters most……and it is NEVER that job that I sometimes let consume me. Prayers for your family as you work through grief to fond memories.

  54. Sheryl Coe says:

    This hits very close to home right now as we just lost my husband’s mother the same way at age 64. Awake and vibrant and giggling one minute, and we were taking her off life support the next. I know you have a tight hold on the plan of salvation but still, it’s such a bittersweet transition. It took me weeks to really understand that I wouldn’t see her again in this life, wouldn’t hear her in the next room playing Barbies with my daughter… I pray for your family’s comfort during this difficult time, and I’m convinced that the heavens are full of lovely, strong, amazing women right now!

  55. I’m so glad you have this happy memory of that quick visit with your aunt. I enjoyed meeting her. Sending prayers of comfort for you and your family!

  56. I knew your Aunt Shirley. She was truly a wonderful woman. She decorated my house for Christmas 3 1/2 years ago when I had found out I was pregnant, and was too sick to do it myself. She used her own decorations. She was my visiting teacher at the time. I loved it when she came over. She was always so easy to talk to. She also was my sons scout leader for a while. I will never for get her kindness, nor her service to me and my family. Our lives are forever better because of her. What an example she has set for so many, and how truly blessed we all are for having known her. I hope that you are able to find comfort during this hard time.

    Love,
    Leslie

  57. I’m sorry for your loss. I love the photo you posted of the two of you. You both seem so vibrant and happy. I’m glad you have such great memories. Your family will be remembered in my prayers.

  58. I’m sorry for your loss. I love the picture that you posted of the two of you. You both seem so vibrant and happy. I’m glad that you have such great memories of her. Your family will be remembered in my prayers.

  59. I am so very sorry for your loss! Thank you for sharing a bit of your Aunt Shirley with us, because she seems like a remarkable woman. Thank you also for reminding us about what’s really important. You’ll be in my prayers.

  60. Kirsten J says:

    Oh Stacy, I’m so sorry – thank you for the reminder. My favorite Auntie Linda (shhh don’t tell the others…) lives 5 hours away. I need to follow through on a promise to visit, sooner rather than later.

  61. Jenny McGee says:

    So sorry to hear about your aunt. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Take care.

  62. I never knew my grandfather, but he, too, had an an aneurysm in his brain (back when my dad was in high school). That is so sad. I am sorry for your loss. Cherish the memories you have…

  63. KellyMinMN says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, you always spoke of your Favorite Aunt Shirley so lovingly. Your family is in my prayers.

  64. Stacy, I am so very sorry for your loss, and will keep you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for the reminder that we need to document those we love and to be present in our lives.

  65. Oh Stacy, I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your Aunt Shirley. Thank you for taking a moment to remind us to not ignore those that are important in her lives. You both were blessed to have each other in your lives. God bless you and your family at this time! Hugs,
    Debbie Piercey

  66. Christine says:

    Dear Stacy,
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your Aunt Shirley. Sounds like you have alot of fond memories of your time together.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  67. Love, hugs, & prayers… xoxo

  68. Stacy, so sorry to hear about your aunt Shirley. This is a sweet post & I know she’s smiling looking down on you…
    Thoughts & prayers to you & your family.

  69. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Aunt. Your family will be in my prayers. Love, Jill

  70. Stacy, please accept my sympathies for your loss. It must have been a complete shock. Lots of prayers coming to you and your family.

  71. Hi Stacy, so sorry to hear about your Aunt Shirley, she sounds like a wonderful person. And I think she was lucky to have you, it looks like your had some great times together.

  72. Stacy,
    My prayers and thoughts are with you and you family.
    Rebecca

  73. I’m so very sorry for your loss. It’s so wonderful to know that you have wonderful memories, although it is now so bittersweet. I will be praying for you and your family as you deal with your grief.

  74. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have an Aunt Shirley whom I love dearly, too. Thanks for the reminder.

  75. Carla Hundley says:

    Losing someone is never easy, but just remember all the good times
    you shared together. My first Becky encounter was on her blog. Then she
    came out with project life and I’ve been doing that since! Would love to win.

    Carla from Utah

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