In Memoriam: Shirley Chan

AuntShirleypiconlyWe live in an age when dreaming big dreams, achieving great things in our careers, or being famous — is often talked about, encouraged and posted on Facebook or Twitter.

What’s not mentioned a lot, though, is a simple truth: in order to get to where we want to go, there are people behind us, people cheering on for us, or just simply giving us a push when we need it. People behind the scenes who make actresses look lovelier than normal, or directors who know which angle of the camera works best, or writers who make sure famous people say the right things. The “little” people.

The strong people. The ones who have the extra strength to cook for others, and make sure their loved ones are well-fed, stocked, clothed, rested. They pick up our slack, keep quiet when our tops fly, or say something we need to really hear. People whose names aren’t often known, but their presence is always needed, always felt. And their absence is felt even more.

That’s who Aunt Shirley is (or was). A person whose absence will be felt so much more. Some might say she was a wallflower – but take that flower away, and the wall is just blank space and dull.

She once told me that her greatest achievement was to be Prissy’s mom. And for those of us who are blessed by Prissy’s friendship, we know how strong and beautiful she is inside and out – so yes, that indeed is an incomparable and unique achievement, and a testament to God’s love and grace.

So if there’s an Auntie Shirley in your life right now, take the time to hug them and say thank you. Because without them or their touch, we would be blank spaces.

We love you Auntie Shirley, I know I told you that by email or instant messaging, but I wish I called and said it out loud for you to hear. Say HI to my mom for me. We miss you lots.


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