Seven Years Without Shara

“My mother’s death has been the most determining, the most profound, the most influential event of my life. It has become my organizer, the focal point of my identity and the standard to which I compared and contrasted all the other stresses of life.”

“…slowly you learn to live with the loss and not under it, to let it become a companion rather than a guide.”

-Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

Dear Sadie,

Not long after you were born I was driving home with you in the back seat listening to you babble. You were so happy looking outside the window. I was over-joyed at being your Mom as I am many moments throughout my days with you. But at that particular moment, I just wanted to call my Mom, your Nana, and tell her how happy you made me and how wonderful my life was with you in it.

Without hesitation, I picked up my cell phone and dialed my old house number expecting Nana to answer the phone. When the call didn’t go through and it was simply the operator’s voice saying the phone number was no longer in service, it hit me that my Mom was gone. I hung up the phone and was stunned…just like the day she went to heaven. I couldn’t believe I had called her when I should have known she wasn’t going to answer on the other end.

But the thing is that she is there. She’s always there. Just like I will always be there with you, whether I am here on this earth or in heaven. Your Nana isn’t here physically on this earth to watch you grow up or to give me a daily dose of advice or a good chuckle, but she raised me to be able to raise you.  It’s my hope I can be every bit of the amazing Mommy she was to me.

There were a lot of special people in her life. As time passes, it’s hard for me to remember everything about your Nana. The sound of her voice is sometimes faded. I will try to tell you fun tidbits about her as you grow, but I also wanted you to read how she touched other people’s lives too…

I have so many beautiful memories of your Mother and Nana. What a wonderful smile and spirit she had and she readily shared them both. I remember being a young mother with questions about raising my girls and going to your mom, Nana for advice. I would sit in your home- with little girls and boys busy playing – and feel like she was giving me wonderful peace, advice and wisdom about parenting. She was so wise and a great listener!! And there was always something yummy cooking, bread- dinner – good food. One of her recipes is still a favorite in our family and requested by anyone that tries it- Simon and Garfunkle Chicken- Yummy!
I really loved your Mother, Nana- she was a dear friend- so sad to move away from her- and then lose her. She is and always will be in my heart and my life is better from having known her. -Laurie Wronski

I frequently think of your mum and Grandmum with fondness–she was one of the warmest, most genuine women I have ever met. From the time I joined your family by dating (and later marrying) your cousin, she welcomed me into her home like I was one of the family–putting any apprehensions I felt as the “the new kid” soon at bay. We clicked instantly, and although we mostly crossed paths at holidays and family functions, seeing her was always a joy.
Shara gave selflessly and with her whole heart. When anyone was sick or in need of a friend, she was always there with a vat of matzo ball soup and TLC. Even when she was so valiantly struggling with her own health issues, she put her own concerns aside and reached out to others. She was a kind soul and a gentle spirit (who also harbored a deliciously wicked sense of humor!).
I am grateful to have known her, and regret that we did not have more time to know each other better as we aged. She is most assuredly in Heaven watching over you both, and guiding you in your own mother-daughter journey. -Rogena Silverman

Dear Sweet Sadie, First off, as you already know, your Mamma and Daddy love you more than words could ever express (although they do a wonderful job with their “Brown Bag  Blog”).  Your Nana Shara was a “real” person and friend. She wasn’t one to sugar coat things. She told you what you needed to hear, always in love. She was one of the sweetest, most thoughtful and funniest friends a person could ever have. At our congregation, she often had little treats in her pockets to give to the kids. She had an infectious smile (like your Momma), and could turn your worst day upside down into a good one. EVERYONE loved Shara. ….including me.

I’d like to share with you something that I was asked to share at her Memorial service:

“A couple of years ago, Ellen Melnick came to Shuvah on Purim and received a Purim present from Shara. The envelope was labeled “A Purim Present For Ellen ♥ Love, Shara” and decorated with hearts and stickers. Inside the envelope was a delicately embroidered handkerchief. When Ellen thanked her for the present, Shara explained that she loved to collect special handkerchiefs for special people. Today Ellen is honored to own one of these unique handkerchiefs from a very special friend.”
I keep the envelope with the handkerchief on my desk and every time I see it, it reminds me to pray for you, Sweet Sadie, and your family.

My best memory of Shara is the many times she stopped in my room to check on me and see if I was feeling O.K. during the first year after my diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia. I was coming to teach every day, although my body was being assailed by the side effects of my chemotherapy. I lost a staggering amount of weight and eventually wound up at 103 lbs. which made it appear as if I was on death’s door.

Shara had already gone through her first time of chemotherapy and was cancer free, so she knew exactly what I was going through. She made homemade soup and when she came to my room with it at lunch, insisted that I eat some. To make sure I did, she stayed with me and chatted while I struggled to get some of her wonderful medicine down into a stomach that cried “I don’t want food…I want you to throw up.” Shara had such a caring and giving heart and I will be always grateful for the warmth she gave me during my cold and dark, dark time. Every day I was comforted by her presence.

If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never understand why people like Shara are taken from us. Shara gave so much to all who knew her and every day tried to make the world a better place. I just don’t get it. -Virginia Garner

I am overwhelmed by such amazing letters to you and now find myself trying to personalize what Shara meant to me!

I had the honor of being “adopted” into the Davis Family during my college days at Biola University. Shara and Ron allowed me to
live with the family for a semester. I can only share that I learned the value of family, trust, fun and having a sincere relationship with G-d.

Having lost my Mom, when I was 13, Shara was a “mom” of my heart. She loved you as if you were her only child; she listened to you and shared “constructively” how to look at things with the right perspective; she made you know that as a Mom you were accountable but as your friend, she loved you just the same!

I miss her smile, her hugs and those one on one moments that spoke to your soul. She was and is still an amazing part of my life.

Jessie: you, too, are so much a part of my life even though I don’t see you often. I think of you as my little sister and always will! -Kim Meltzer

I too have so many great memories of your mom! Both your Dad and your Mom were always there when we needed help! When we moved here from central California they were the first to give us a helping hand, from cleaning the ceilings of popcorn to ripping up carpet to cleaning this very dirty house! Shara was the most encouraging, thoughtful and giving person i know! Our love for recipes and cooking always gave us something to talk about. She taught me how to make charoset and all the other goodies for the holidays! I remember the seder plate assemblies at your house and all the work she put into the holidays, always done with a smile. I remember the Chanukah party we had at our house and all the menorahs were lit and Jamie (Toller) reached to get something at the table and her sweater caught on fire! Shara ripped that sweater off Jamie before we even knew what was going on! Good thing Jamie had something on underneath 🙂 That was Shara, always concerned about the other person and for that she was soooo loved! -Cathy Simpson

Shara was the most hospitable person I’ve ever known. She made everyone feel at home. We laughed together and cried together. She was instrumental in helping me to walk with the Lord again after a very bad adoption experience we had in Hawaii. Shara was loyal and was always there to meet the needs of others. How it saddens me that Shara never got to know her grandchildren. She would have loved them to pieces. -Cathy Wahler

Growing up, Nana Shara was my 2nd mom. She was kind, caring and had the most beautiful smile. Whenever I think of Shara, I think of her gorgeous smile and how she always had one on her face. I never remember a time when she wasn’t smiling. Sadie, your Mommy was my 3rd sister growing up. I was lucky enough to have 2 sisters in my house but your mommy was my best friend. Your Nana Shara really fostered this relationship between your mommy and me and my best memories of my childhoold involve your mom. I remember how your Nana Shara would let us run wild, bobbing for olives and apples in her kitchen, taking baths (this memory makes me giggle), playing in the yard, doing each other’s hair, and just being girls. Your Nana Shara appreciated the special friendship that women have with each other and allowed this to grow between your mommy and I. I remember just being embraced by all of the Davis family, being invited for Shabbat dinner and eating to my little hearts content. The thing I most appreciate about your Nana Shara was the beautiful woman she made your mommy. 20 years later we are still friends, and I know your Nana has so much to do with that. Your Nana Shara taught me that is is ok to be different, that a smile is the best thing you can put on, and to hold your friendships close to your heart because they are some of the most precious things in life. -Alicia Marshall

I remember all the craft days she hosted in your home for the sisterhood table. She always made a point to thank Norm for all his hard work. We made so many fun things. She and I had the same taste and we noticed we always picked out the same items for our homes… She was so sweet and cheery. -Dori Briggs

Where do I begin? I remember when we first met, before Arnie and I were even married. We were at the original Adat which met at the small elementary school in Tustin. You were just a wee little baby – so adorable and the complete apple of her eye – and she embraced me and welcomed me without one ounce of hesitation. I was brand new to California and had New “Yawk” written all over me!!! We clicked immediately based on our love of God, our passion for family, the “Jewish” yente thing, and our love of laughter. The four of us enjoyed each other’s company so much! She gave me my baby shower when Sarah was born, she helped me plan her first birthday party, and then went on to help organize Toni and Red’s 40th anniversary surprise party!! Your mom was sweet, strong, loving, feisty, gutsy, passionate, kind, warm, and a real Proverbs 31 woman. I loved her so very much and continually miss her and think about her. How blessed this world is to have known SHARA DAVIS. -Barbara Kupferberg

One of my favorite memories of Shara is from when I first started attending Shuvah thirteen years ago. I think I had been there about three weeks when your Mom was hosting one of those “cooking demonstration” luncheons at your house. I knew no one when I got there, but she was so warm, open, and welcoming that I immediately felt at home. I think of her often and remember her as warm, funny and direct. She would be so proud of you today. -Aviva Dobrenky

One of my favorite memories of your mom is the day we spent together in LA before Jim and I renewed our wedding vows. She went with me to the Mikveh and was one of the witnesses. Afterwords we went to a Deli in Beverly Hills and shopped for some wedding items. It was my best alone time with Shara...

Her tacos and chicken enchiladas!!! -Dvorah Toller

How loved your Nana Shara was! I worked with her at Diamond Bar High School where she is still remembered with love and affection.

Shara was a wonderful woman with an “old soul”. She had a way of calming and soothing the most difficult of times, and she always knew just the right thing to say. Your Nana Shara always looked for the best in everyone, and she loved your mama and your Uncle Steve and Uncle Matt more than anything in the world. I know she’s watching over you every day, and that she’s very proud of all of you. -Susan Craig

Dear Sadie Bug,
Hard to believe it has been 7 years since your Nana has passed. I have a lot of fun memories of her and each year that passes I see your mom(Jessie) acting more and more like her. Sometimes when she looks at me and cocks one eye brow and tilts her head or she throws her head back in laughter, I can see Nana Shara. Its a blessing in disguise for me because I do miss her too. My best memories from her are from High School.(About 1999-2001) I was in the Academy at DBHS and she was the administrative assistant to the entire academy. Whenever I was in art class she would come walking into the class room and just look around at what everyone was drawing or painting. She’d come stand above me and smile and watch and ask how I was, or what Garrett and I were up to. (My now husband) I loved it because I felt like she was my own mother, drilling me, but in a non-argumentative, non-direct, slightly sneaky way. HAHA. Which is ironic because that is how I would sum up your mom in a nut-shell. (Loooove you Jess) Anyway, she was so motherly to everyone who knew her. She had the brightest aura that always seemed to radiate from her. She was a woman of God and outstanding mother. She was an amazing woman who I know would just be ecstatic to hold and know you. You can trust that even though she is not with us she loves you more then you will ever understand. I hope this helps you to know her better! I love you Sadie Bug! If you ever need anything, you’ve always got me. Even if your 50 and reading this!-Jessica Jones

Where do I begin? I met your mom and Nana Shara two days after accepting Yeshua in to my life when I lived in Southern California in March 1986. Your mom, Sadie, was 3 years old and soo cute. She always use to run and “hop” around the room that we met in for hours! Nana Shara and I became great friends so fast!! She was such an amazing person. So involved with all of her kids. I always remember her constantly hemming your uncles uniforms for their school band, or fixing your mom’s costumes for school plays. Plus, schlepping all of her kids all over the place, all the time!! She was a tough cookie at times, but only because she wanted the best for everyone!

She always loved to get foot massages, so I would always give her one when I came over to her house.I got married in Philadelphia, so she couldn’t come to my wedding, but David and I flew out to California and she gave me the greatest wedding party ever!! We were such good friends that when my first child was born, David and I asked her, and your grandfather to be Nina’s Godmother and Godfather and they said yes!! Distance never got in the way of our friendship or love for each other.

Your Nana had a huge stash of greeting cards for all occasions that she would send to everyone. She loved doing that. And she was defiantly the “coupon queen”!!!! My goodness that woman would go to the market and get 2-3 carts full of groceries and only pay a few dollars!! She loved a good deal! She loved making matzoh ball soup for people when they got sick too, and was great cook.

Her passion was for her family first and then her friends. She was always doing things for others. I was so happy when your grandparents put the addition on to the house, and she finally had her get-a-way bathroom. She loved the jacuzzi and I was so glad that she finally did something for herself.

Your mom/Nana was a fighter, and when she was diagnosed with cancer, she fought with every ounce of her being. She even shared the Lord with people in the waiting room. It broke my heart to be so far away from her when she was going through her treatments, because I def would have been there for her 24/7. I wanted to go and see her when she was in the hospital for the last time, but I was sick, so I talked to her on the phone. A tleast I was able to be with you, Jessie and Matt and Stephen and your dad for her funeral.

There will never be another Shara and I know that you, Sadie, would be the apple of her eye. May you be blessed with all of the wonderful qualities of your Nana and more! -Terri Rosen

I have such fond, loving memories of your Mom, and I am so glad you are collecting these memories for that utterly beautiful baby of yours. She was wonderful, and she was challenging as well. She did not suffer fools gladly, and brooked no nonsense, such phrases as, “I can’t” or “I don’t know how to…” were not in her vocabulary, hence they should not be in mine either. She challenged me to be the best person I could be, and loved me through both good and bad times. It was a good challenge, not one that made me feel bad about myself. Sometimes she had more “faith” in me than I had in myself, and since I didn’t want to disappoint her, I did things I never thought I could do!

Your Mom loved hosting parties. Our favorites were the Sisterhood tea parties. Since I was the one with the 30 teacups, I’d bring them. Other people would bring the things they were best at, like baking scones, or cooking desserts, or setting a beautiful table, or bringing flowers they had arranged. Shara brought out the best in people and we were at our best around her. I remember one party where she was walkiing around with that brilliant smile on her face, acknowledging and loving each and every one of her guests and enjoying every moment of the time we spent together. She would lovingly speak of home, not just the pieces of furniture, but the memories of family and loved ones they brought to her mind. She surrounded herself with precious memories of the ones she loved and basked in that love.

She was also open about her cancer struggles and hopeful she could beat it. It was such a deep blow to us all when we lost her. I often think of where she is now, perfect in health, no tears, and fully realized as the true Daughter of the King that she is. She was one-of-a-kind, and I know she is clothed in radiance in the presence of her King Messiah Yeshua in heaven.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His countenance to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may he lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you Shalom. -Madelyn Lenard

No matter how long you knew Shara, she had a way of making you feel like you were her own. Everyone of us can tell a story about how she touched us. I have mine, you have yours. Her life and our pieces of it are like a beautiful mosaic. And, if you put all of our stories together, what a mosaic it would make!

My little piece of the mosaic is the connection to her character. Shortly after I accepted Yeshua, I met the Davis family. From the very beginning, I knew that, even though little in stature, this woman was big in heart. I called her the Little Lion.

She just had a way of communicating and telling it like it is. Ron and I were talking one day after Shara had bowled us over with some quiet, incredible pearl of wisdom. He looked at me, (somewhat annoyed, I might add), and said, “You know, I went to school for 8 years of graduate school, have 2 masters, 3 credentials to learn what she knows naturally.” Yep, that was Shara—a truly wise and sage woman. In fact, I’ve said this for a long time—I love and revere my wife but I absolutely feared Shara’s disapproval. If Shara approved, then life was good. If not, you might wish to consider another option.

So, today, how do we remember her? I remember the Davis family visit to Nancy, me, and Shayna at Hoag Hospital, the day after Shayna was born. It was an honor to have them be the first to see Shayna. And, over the years, how special she grew to Shayna—as she did for all the children she touched at the congregation, at school, and at home. In fact, a thousand band pant legs stand and salute her today!!

So, think of all your favorite Shara stories and share one with others today. For in the stories you will find life…sweet, rich, and – uniquely — SHARA. -Schwartz Family

The first time I met your mom at Shuvah she was wearing fake teeth that were really nasty looking. She gave someone the sweetest smile and bared these hideous teeth. I didn’t know they were not hers until someone reacted to them. It was hilarious. Wish I had the chance to know her better. -Dana Nassau

These are just a few of the many…I’ll keep adding them as they come. Just like your Mommy’s Mommy loved her, I too love you Sadie Rae.

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8 thoughts on “Seven Years Without Shara

  1. Darling Sadie…oh how your Nana would have enjoyed spoiling you. She spoiled all of us…at every holiday, every Feast Day, every chance to make an occasion special…that was your Nana’s gift. Our memories of Shara are filled with smiles, laughter, warm authentic hugs, great food. Shara had a way of making you feel like you were the only person in the room when she spoke with you…a focused intentional giving of herself to her friends…what an example to follow. We miss her, still get a lump in our throats when we see pictures of her…we will never forget her…ever. You have BIG shoes to fill and I know you will grow into them with the wonderful Mother that you have…she’s so much like your Nana…
    Blessings to you little Sadie…you have a rich righteous legacy…Jac & Janna

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