Marilyn's eulogy (September 9, 2001)

Sharon and Marilyn

On Saturday morning, I was composing this, and emailing with a distant cousin of ours in Pennsylvania.  His great grandfather and ours were brothers, and Sharon and Sean and Lauri and I all spent time with him three years ago in New York.  I told Max what I was writing, and he suggested this line as an opening: “Today, the world is an emptier place.  A warm, loving person is no longer in it.” Then he suggested I talk about the strength she gave her family and friends. ….. her evenness, and her beauty - inside and out. So, for Max, who loved her too, I will do that.

Sharon and I grew up together, more like sisters than cousins.  We used to call ourselves sister-cousins. She was three and half years older but from the time we were teenagers, I have always had the older sister role, for some reason.  We were very close to our grandparents and both of us learned a lot from them, but Sharon especially, because her family lived with grandma and grandpa for most of her childhood.  As a result of that, Sharon was a lot like grandma, and had most of her values and attitudes. 

We had both become very involved in researching our roots, and learning who our ancestors were.  We spent so many hours poring over documents, and genealogy lists, and emailing with cousins, we had met on the internet.  We found some wonderful new friends, and so much information about who we came from……… too.  It was neat to find an ancestor that we resembled, and we began making memory books for our families.

We have wonderful memories of camping trips with grandma and grandpa and our cousins, at Twanoh State Park on Hoods Canal.  To this day, it is our favorite place to go, and the memories all just flood back.  Many times we took our families there together and relived those times when we were kids.  We did many things together, and with our husbands, and our families.  One of the highlights was a trip to Hawaii we made together as couples, in 1990.  It was so wonderful to see Hawaii again with Dave and Sharon, and look at those pictures over and over again.  If I could pick one perfect day in our times together, it would be the day we drove the circle of Maui, in our rented car, and went on those terrible rutted roads, forbidden to rental cars, and saw some amazing parts of that island.  That was a great day. We also spent all of our wedding anniversaries together, right up to their 40th anniversary last June when the entire family was together for her.

We both married David's, a source of endless confusion for everyone, so they became “your Dave” and “my Dave”. We had our babies together, and raised our children as cousins, rather than second cousins. As we grew older, we both took pride in not looking our ages, but we both battled our weight, an inheritance from grandma and Aunt Hattie. In recent years, Sharon was the one who really retained her youth, and people were surprised to learn she was older than I was, because she was so young looking. Her hair never got gray, like mine did, and she would give me a bad time for coloring my hair and reminded me that I was a grandmother, and it was time to look the part.  I told her I would go kicking and screaming into old age, but she was actually looking forward to it.

When I turned 50, she gave me a T shirt that said “Over the hill?  You obviously have me confused with someone else.”  She really knew me well, and knew that would be my motto!!

Sharon was a very serious woman, and methodical in the way she went about her life, her work, and her everyday routine.  Some would say she was compulsive, but maybe she was just very organized, or as our cousin Max said, “even”.  I heard David say the other day, that she almost lived long enough to develop a sense of humor.  I was in the other room when he said that, but I laughed because I know what he meant. She was a true innocent and some would say naïve, and didn’t always understand our humor. But she really laughed hard the night they got David on stage at the luau, and we got to see him doing the hula.  I thought she would pass out from laughing so hard.

She loved her family so much, and her little grandchildren.  They all meant so much to her.  I have thought during her whole illness that the greatest tragedy of her life is that she won’t see her grandchildren grow up.  But one of the cousins said “maybe you will.” We just don’t know, do we? 

Sharon and her youngest grandchild, 
Heath Kennedy, born April 2001
(she desperately wanted to live long enough to see this baby.........picture taken the day of her 40th wedding anniversary, June 24, 2001)

She was extremely proud of all of her sons, and her daughters in law too.  The boys all had a large part in taking care of her, especially Scott, and it meant everything to her. She had great strength of character, and as her David has said many times, “she was the most moral person I have ever known in my entire life.”  She had a very strong inborn sense of right and wrong, and lived by that.

It was hard for her to face change or to adapt to new circumstances, especially if it conflicted with her routine, but in recent years she made some huge changes, and ultimately became a better person for it.  Given a little more time, she may have been able to tap into her real potential, and develop her gifts even more.

I never thought I would outlive her, and never dreamed she would be gone at such a young age.  I imagined us as old women, sharing an apartment somewhere, and getting real old and cranky together. But I am so happy to have had her in my life, and that I was able to be with her during the last two years of her treatments, down to the last moments.  I promised her two years ago, on the day we got her diagnosis, that I would be with her all the way, and I am happy that I was able to do that.

My David always called her The Rose, after the Biblical Rose of Sharon, so the song lyrics on your programs, (and on sharon.htm) is for that Rose, our Rose, Sharon.

Someone sent me this little poem on Friday, and I thought it fit Sharon so well, so I will close with this.

"If I had my life to live over...
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...
I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies."

Sean's tribute


Marilyn's eulogy

Race for the Cure