Dear editor: Flowers just don’t seem appropriate. How do I honor someone like her? A tribute in writing seems more fitting because writing was Shirley Hiers’ gift and she shared it with all of us.
Her writing was so eloquent, and she was so brilliant at it that to us it might have seemed to come easy for her. The truth is she poured her heart and soul into her words. Her columns were sentimental recollections that gave us insight into the things she loved – family, community, simplicity and living life to the fullest. Her columns were autobiographical in a way.
Miss Shirley saw the world and the people in it not as they are but as they ought to be seen. Some might see that as her fatal mistake, but not Miss Shirley because she lived by the Golden Rule.
Her smile lit up the room and her laughter was infectious. She was my neighbor for seven years and my friend for many more. She treated my children like her own grandchildren. We loved her.
One of my fondest memories of her is one hot summer afternoon when I heard Miss Shirley’s unmistakable laughter. I looked out to see her and Mr. Hiers cooling off after a day of gardening by sitting in their grandchildren’s little blow-up pool. She was so happy and carefree. That is how I will remember her.
It’s so difficult to understand why we lose too soon the people that make the world a better place. Miss Shirley will live on in the hearts of all of us that she touched. She lives in the hearts of her sons and her beautiful grandchildren, and she will live on in her writing. She left for us her words and they are her legacy.
I will be forever grateful for the lessons she taught me about how to live life, and I will always treasure the many, many wonderful memories.
I’m better because I knew you. Goodbye, dear friend.