A very heartfelt thank you to Diane of Dglassme’s Blog  for nominating me for a Very Inspiring Blog Award. It must have been that belly button scar photo I posted the other day that put me over the top! Seriously, I have followed Diane’s blog for quite some months now. She is brave, no nonsense woman with an interesting and honest perspective on her breast cancer treatment. Diane also writes joyously about what her relationships with her gorgeous Golden Retrievers add to her life.

I am writing about someone who inspires me and that is my friend, Shirley Enebrad and her son, Cory. I met Shirley through her husband Steve Geller, a fellow psychologist and friend, with whom I share an office. He is the one who is moving to Hawaii in about a month and has inspired a frenzy of furniture shopping to replace the stuff he is taking.

I’ve never met her son, Cory. He died about 20 years ago at age 9 of pediatric leukemia. Steve knew him (Cory was a child from Shirley’s first marriage) because he was working as a grief counselor conducting kids’ groups. Cory was in his group. This is also how Shirley and Steve met each other. Cory was an extraordinary boy with an extraordinary mom. Shirley wrote a quite moving book about her life with her son called, Over the Rainbow Bridge. It is an amazing and inspiring story. Cory’s life transformed the lives of those around him. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true.

Here’s a quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D., the pioneering psychiatrist who wrote, On Death and Dying:

Cory was my favorite patient ever, and he taught me more than I could ever teach him. His lessons about the afterlife were profound, and his drawings of what he saw “over the Rainbow Bridge” helped thousands of people get in touch with their long-buried emotions.

I can only imagine the shattering trauma of losing a child. I know that Shirley’s heart still aches for her son, who if he had lived, would be near 30 now and perhaps have children of his own. Shirley became a tireless worker on behalf of children with cancer. Prior to her moving to Hawaii, she was the person who put together every one of the educational baskets that families of newly diagnosed cancer patients receive at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. That hospital serves a six state area. Shirley has organized fundraisers, written grief materials for children, and provided grief counseling to others. That’s just the tip of the ice berg of her service to families and children. On top of it all, Shirley and Steve have served as foster parents to a number of children over the years in addition to raising two children of their own, who are now both adults. In addition to being incredibly generous and skilled with very challenging children (with trauma histories of their own) for Shirley to take on foster children, who typically end up leaving your family, is incredibly courageous for one who has lost a child in the past.

Shirley has just published a new book, Six Word Lessons on Coping with Grief: 100 Lessons to Help You and Your Loved Ones Deal with Loss. It is downloaded onto my Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading it. She did not ask me to publicize her books on my blog. I love celebrating my friends’ accomplishments and sharing resources with people who might appreciate them.