May 25, 2024

Shelley’s Hands

The other day, as I sat holding Aunt Shelley’s hand, just as many of you did over the last few weeks, I realized how much love has passed through her hands over the years.  

I stopped to think about how her hands served her through her life. Her hands in that moment were wrinkled, bruised, shriveled and weak – but they were the tools she used to reach out and grab and embrace life.

They braced and caught her falls when she was a toddler and learning to walk. They put food in her mouth and clothes on her back.  As a child she was taught how to fold her hands in prayer. They tied her shoes and pulled on her boots. They played, swam, boated and teased – her hands created fun and carefree memories throwing balls and swinging bats.

Her hands were decorated with a wedding band that showed the world that she was married and loved someone special. They held her love as she twirled and disco’ed the dancefloors. They held Uncle Brian and wiped her tears when things were tough. They trembled and shook when she buried her husband.

They were uneasy and clumsy when Shelley first held Chad as a tiny infant. They were strong and confident when she held his hand as he took his first steps and they were guards as he learned to swim and play sports. They were white-knuckled when teaching Chad how to drive. They bathed, calmed and hugged him. They held him even until her final days in an embrace that only a mother can give.

They were the hands that held Chad and Chantel’s hands on their wedding day as she claimed the bride’s beauty and welcomed her to the family. The hands that gripped in solidarity as she offered marital advice and congratulations.

They were rugged and yet gentle as she worked with her horses, dogs and cats. They pointed, petted, trained and calmed the many animals and pets she loved over the years.

They have been dirty, scraped, swollen and bent. They have laboured and worked to garden, bake, cook, stitch and craft. Her hands wrote letters, signed cards, sketched and created. Her hands washed, scrubbed, combed, styled, up-do’ed, dyed, trimmed and cut countless heads of hair with precision and care.

Her hands held her nieces and nephews, consoled her sisters and family, neighbours and friends in gentleness and understanding. They clapped and cheered for every victory and celebration. 

They covered her face, combed her hair, washed and cleansed and cared for her body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And even until the end, when not much of anything else would work, they were the hands that held her up, that laid her down, that clenched in pain and also folded in prayer. They were the hands that consoled us as we said our final goodbyes.

Her hands were the mark of where she had been, the ruggedness of her life and ultimately were the hands that God reached out and took when he led her home to the Angels and to her beloved Brian in time for their 44th Wedding Anniversary.

Take a moment now, and look at your own hands and thank them for the life and service they have been to you – the joy they have brought, the love they have shared, the touch and the feel of all the precious moments in life.  What a gift our hands are and have been, a gift we often take for granted – a gift Shelley was grateful for every day.  When you look at your hands when they ache or are sore, when you stroke the face of your own children and loved ones, when you hold the hand of your beloved, when you serve others with your love and compassion, when you swing a bat or catch a ball, may you remember Shelley and her good work and be inspired to live as she lived, with both a fierceness and a zest for life, with grace and care and kindness. 

Her’s was a love that was so deep, so well-spread, that it now lives on and through each of us in all we do, all we say and all we be. Feel her love now course through your hands as a gift to you for we are each a vessel of love for one another, just as she was a vessel of love for each of us. Family, friends, may we find comfort and gratitude for all the meaningful and precious ways that Shelley has touched each of us and may we go forward knowing that her love lives on through each of us. We are all blessed for having known and loved an incredible woman, let us honor her as we let go knowing that her touch and impact on each of us, will last forever.

Thank you Shelley, for touching us all with your presence and love.

XO Juli

Shelley Isabel Carmichael, 65 of Lindsay was welcomed to her heavenly home on May 16, 2024. Reunited with her beloved husband Brian Carmichael in time for their 44th Wedding Anniversary. Although Shelley fought for her health for many years, it never stopped her from living her best life.

Shelley was born on August 18, 1958 to Alvin and Alberta Mark (deceased) in Lindsay. As a young girl, she loved boating and spending time at the cottage with her siblings Keith (Isabel) Mark (deceased), Anne Linton, Faye (Don) Myers, Sharon (Barry) Patterson, Marion (Dave) McMullen.

Shelley married the love of her life, Brian on May 17, 1980 and they welcomed their son Chad to complete their family on January 9, 1992.

Shelley was a dedicated mother first and foremost. She treasured her family, friends and had a deep love for all animals. An avid sports fan, baker, crafter, Shelley loved great music and dancing. Shelley’s smile, laugh and love will be missed by her many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and family.

Through small gestures, huge favors, kind words and a quiet strength, Shelley was always there when we needed her. She taught us that Love is the way to live life everyday. In her final days, Shelley blessed Chad and Chantel (nee Richardson) as they were married at her bedside. Welcoming Chantel officially to the family with a big smile on what she called a “perfect day.”

We would like to thank all the staff at Ross Memorial Hospital for all of their love and care of Shelley in her final days.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Ross Memorial Hospital Foundation or Kawartha Lakes Humane Society.

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