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Dee Taylor, Shelly's first grade teacher for General Studies

Thank you for asking me to speak today. This is an honor and I do not feel worthy of it. For the past 18 years Iíve asked myself, why has God placed me at the Hebrew Day School? And through the years Heís given me an answer. And this past year, and last year, He gave me a very precious answer. Last year when Shelly walked into my classroom, a little girl with sparkling eyes and a zest for life walked in with a very shy smile, and it didnít take her long before she was no longer shy. She became one of my best friends. She always had a hand for me, she always knew when I was sad, and Shelly was very, very special.

In the classroom, Shelly was just like every other little girl, every other little boy, every other first grader. She had days when she was angelic; she had days when she was naughty as the day is long. Shelly was Shelly. That was the thing about Shelly that amazed me. Shelly was a very complex little girl. She had an ability to enjoy life to its fullest, no matter what was handed her. She had the ability to bring life to her drawings, life to a math page, life in her journal. She enjoyed every moment that she had. She loved her Mother and Dad very very much and she wrote about them in her journal often.

When we found out that Shelly was so very, very sick, one of the things that became very important to the Volks, and to Shelly, and to the other first graders last year, was that we keep life as normal as possible. Shelly is the one who led the way. I followed her lead. Shelly wanted to be sure that she missed nothing. She didnít want to miss an assignment, she didnít want to miss a story, she didnít want to miss gym. She was incredible. She was the light that pulled us through those very very difficult days.

Shellyís illness was diagnosed just a few weeks before my own motherís cancer was diagnosed. I knew I got one of the answers from God, why he put me at the Hebrew Day School. From Shelly, I learned courage to face this horrible disease, I learned how important it is to enjoy every day to its fullest. I learned that life is precious.

Shelly was very, very special. From Shelly, every child in my classroom got peace. She never complained. She went on with her life and enjoyed what little she had left. I know now one of the reasons why God placed me at the Hebrew Day School. In my arrogance, I thought I was there to give to the children. But what God has shown me, is that I received from Shelly.

Shelly has given me so many things in my life that I will treasure. She has given me humility, she has shown me how to be strong when God has handed me a very heavy load, she has shown me the courage to walk in this life and make every day special. Shelly, for this I say praise the Lord, I know you can hear us today. We miss you and we love you. Thank you.

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The Funeral
Shelly's Place

Created by Ruti Volk
Last updated 7-22-99