August 23rd, 1938 is the day my foster mother, Shirley was born. That day the world was given one of the most wonderful people that I would one day be blessed to meet.
On March 16th, 1994 is the day I moved into her home. I met her a couple days prior to that and after, she asked me to think about whether I’d like to move in and become a member of their family. Crystal, one of the other girls there begged me to say yes. Right before that, I’d been in a group home because my prior foster care arrangement hadn’t worked out. I was always skeptical, but hopeful at the same time when it came to new living arrangements.
I wasn’t sure what I’d think of living there, my new school, or any of it, but I was willing to try this out. Little did I know the impact that Shirley, the girls, and the kids at my new school would have. Shirley was so supportive throughout everything I dealt with. When I was troubled, we’d have late night talks. Sometimes Crystal would be in on them. I’d brush Shirley’s hair and Crystal would rub her feet. It was a bit of a ritual. If we were on the phone and we clearly wanted to hang up, she’d pretend to need us so we could give an excuse to whomever we were talking to. Memories of excursions to Taco Bell, listening to Faith Hill, drinking tea with her in the kitchen, and much more still linger within my brain.
I find today that I miss her more than usual. She really was an amazing person. She was so thoughtful, funny, compassionate, and supportive. God gained a sassy, but truly wonderful angel the day she took her last breath. I try to look at it this way though, she’s not truly gone because she still lives on in us. She still has many friends and family members who are here that love her. Her life will shine on as long as there is one here who remains to tell her stories.
I miss you Shirley Ann Smith. Thank you for your guidance, support, encouragement, and most of all, your love. Happy 75th Birthday, never will you be forgotten.