I did not know Sherrie Decker. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been in the same room with her, but I can’t honestly say that I knew her.
My mom did know her…once upon a time before her last name was Decker. In fact, Sherrie-lore was big in my house as I grew up. She was mom’s friend during high school. She was never seen without perfect hair and make-up. She belted out musicals crossing the street to seminary. She spread happiness. Honestly, I thought the stories were more fiction than fact. Then I met Shanon – definitely the daughter of such lore (although I have caught her without make-up once or twice). We married brothers & became joint Scott-in-laws.
It’s impossible to measure the influence of one life. When I called Cyndee last week to share the sorrow of Sherrie’s passing, I was shaken by her response. Yes, my own response had been instant tears, but I mourned for Shanon. No one should lose their mom at 26. I ache as I consider the ramifications. But, Cyn’s instant tears were for Sherrie…the girl who coaxed her out of shyness, accompanied their mutual love of musicals, shared a penetrating example of gospel living.
At the funeral yesterday I felt that I finally had my proper introduction to Sherrie. The stories helped. As a young child, she was once nearly late for school, so prayed to be on time. Amen was said and a dog appeared, chasing her into speediness that got her there on time. One year the bank account didn't allow for a true vacation, so, undaunted, she made her own by transforming their home into a Hawaiian paradise for the weekend. On days that scripture study didn’t happen in the morning, she sat in the hall outside her children’s rooms at night reading aloud so all could hear. She honestly didn’t let her husband see her without make-up for the entire first year of marriage. And she always freshened up with make-up & perfume when he was on his way home from work. Yes, the stories were priceless. The legend melted from stone to skin & bones.
But it was more than the stories that told me who she was…it was the feeling. It was watching Shanon and her family mourn & Remember & Love. I know that Sherrie Decker loved her children fiercely. They all spoke at the funeral, and I knew she had given them the greatest gift possible – strong faith in God & in themselves.
No, I didn’t personally know her, but this woman did personally influence my life. She helped shape my Cyndee...who shaped me. And she hugely shaped the Shanon who is now my family. I am grateful for her life that rippled to reach even me.