I want to share a story about the first time I met Sharon. She was in CVS talking with Kelly. She was saying how she couldn't date a guy with ugly feet! I said "Is that really a deal breaker?" She said yes! Kelly and I still crack up about that!
I was FB chatting with someone who barely knew Sharon in high school but this is the impression she left on everyone.. (I hope you don't mind me sharing)..
"She always had the biggest and brightest smile on her face always.
She was such a delicate little sprite.
She really was like this bright and happy little fairy. Her smile was bigger than her body and I remember her being kind of shy but so nice!
I never knew she was ill… she never carried herself that way.
She carried a one ton smile on a 90lb pound frame.
I wish I had known her better. She was always so sweet to me.
She really was so beautiful."
Yup. That was my kid..
I commissioned Peter H. Reynolds to create a drawing of Sharon a while ago. He met Sharon once, several years ago, but didn't 'know' her other than through my posts here and several photos I sent him with some descriptors. I was imagining a ton of stuff around her .. cupcakes, music, dogs, fashion stuff.. I didn't really know what he would come up with. But Peter, with his amazing ability to express and create, boiled it down to this simple, powerful essence of who she truly was..
This canoe represents her love of Horn Pond, Maine with her grandparents, her 'children', Sadie, Trudie and Chui, her famous green sweatshirt, the tiara and the bling..
This is SO her.. and the entire image shows, to me, that my angel is still on her journey.. These other photos contributed to some of his inspiration LOL .. Perfection.. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.. Donna
"It was truly an honor to bring Sharon to you in this way. It was a special journey, one that I did not take lightly. I had photographs of Sharon in my studio hanging up for over a year. She kept me company while I created my book "Happy Dreamer" and my collaboration with Susan Verde, "I Am Peace" - happiness, dreaming, peace... all beautiful Sharon-ish ways of being. ✨❤️✨
I cannot describe the joy that I felt when I gave this gift to you, Donna, as I hugged you - I felt another hug emerging. I am quite certain it was Sharon giving that extra squeeze. 💛"
Good morning Donna!
I decided to write u to tell u how MUCH Sharon has been in my thoughts lately😁. I looked at posted pics of her (as I have before) and I can't help but smile. She was light, she is light. She was stunningly beautiful, breathtakingly pretty. There was just something about her, little extra stardust perhaps?? I'm sure of it! I can remember her laugh too Donna! Isn't that fabulous? Lol! I moved to Oregon when I was 19 but I remember Sharon Gath's laugh💗 She's on my mind constantly lately .. I wanted u to know and smile knowing that she will never be forgotten. She was a special one😉 u can see it in every photo! I say it's extra stardust!🌠 I hope u are doing well & I hope u have a beautiful day. I'm glad she's in my thoughts so much lately. Makes me smile. "Sharon the Starduster" 💗
(high school photo)
We only had 1 class together freshman year of high school. What I do remember is that I thought she was maybe the happiest person I'd ever seen in HS. Whenever I saw her it always seemed like she was full of sunshine. She really had this unique light around her all the time. She smiled incessantly and was always so spritely, bright and lovely. I always see her in my mind smiling and laughing. I never saw her without a smile.
George and I went to Casa Vallarta last night, a Mexican restaurant in Northboro that we recently discovered. It's a bit of a hike but we had such a miserable day at the jewelry fair (no money, blazing heat) that we decided to treat ourselves. Sharon LOVED the local Mexican restaurant in Wayland that sadly closed not too long after she passed. When we arrived at Casa Vallarta we hit several snags: they were out of fresh avocados for the tableside guacamole, the watermelon margarita was no longer on the menu (it was her favorite), and they were also out of the complimentary bean dip! The waiter was SO nice and extremely professional and personal. Wouldn't you know, he asked the bartender about the watermelon margarita and sure enough, he had enough to make me one :) Next thing we knew, he emerged with the bean dip that he made them make for us!
My meal arrived with refried beans instead of the black beans I ordered. Two minutes later he arrived with a BOWL of black beans topped with cheeses.. Then a Mariachi band started playing to tables in our section. It was such a delight.. George tipped them $20. I said "Wow, that was generous!" to which he replied, "Sharon would have loved this.."
When done, we began to pack up the beans to take home when we decided to ask the waiter for sopapillas for dessert. He returned with the yummy dessert when he said he would like to give us complimentary tequila shots! WOW! I said thank you, but no, I wouldn't but I knew George would! We enjoyed the sopapillas and tequila. We got the bill and noticed the sopapillas were not listed. We called him over to point this out when he replied that the dessert was also on him.. What??
George gave him a very generous tip :) We leave and what do I notice on the ground right next to the driver's side door but a little drink umbrella! I immediately felt Sharon. I felt she was with us, making sure we enjoyed the meal, regardless of the snafus, reminding me to breathe and enjoy each moment in life.. The significance of the umbrella is that I saved another little drink umbrella from one Sharon enjoyed many years ago.. Now I know why..
I knew Sharon when she was a little girl. I used to babysit her and her brother Michael. Sharon was truly an amazing child and had so much talent even at this young age! I enjoyed being with her and her brother. I saved a few of the things that Sharon had made for me (mainly Christmas ornaments). I was devastated finding out that Sharon had passed away. I remember Sharon having a lot of spunk and we really had a lot of fun together! She grew into an amazing, beautiful young woman. She will always be missed. Rest in Peace sweet Sharon. She will always have a special place in my heart.
I worked with Sharon for a short time at Stride Rite in the mall. She was an amazing girl with a contagious smile and a heart of gold. She really was a beautiful girl:-) I went to both NHS and Framingham State too but a year behind. I think she made many connections everywhere, she was so sweet and bubbly that even if you didn't know her, you knew of her, and at the very least she had said hi to you in passing somewhere along the way :-)
It seems like only yesterday Sharon would greet me in the hallways of Natick High School. I miss her. As someone who went through high school without a lot of friends and suffered from Aspergers syndrome, it was difficult when it came to social interaction. I can recount numerous occasions where Sharon would take time out of her day to see how I was doing despite my failing when it came to social pragmatics.
In high school I was never completely forthcoming to the masses with my intellectual disability because I was embarrassed, but, I felt comfortable telling Sharon. She is one of very few peers who knew. I can recount on one occasion I was sitting alone during lunch, and Sharon left her table to come and sit with me! We talked about lots of things, most of all, she was completely accepting.
Our sophomore year I was having a lot of difficulties socially, and time and time again she would stand up for me! Many times, she was the only one! She was the exception. I miss her.
I was in the same class as Mike, not Sharon, but we were friends. Not super close, but she was always a kind girl. It broke my heart to hear of her passing. The one thing that was so great about her was her smile. She was always smiling. You raised a wonderful daughter. All my best to you.
Being a typical teenager, and being a teenager who always thought, my parents were born old, uncool, and had no idea about anything....I had my share of arguments with my mom. After one particular fight, I arrived at school. Upon entering Natick High, I caught up to Sharon in the hallway by the guidance office. She smiled her megawatt smile and asked me why I was so upset. I told her, my mom is literally making me crazy. Cried my eyes out on our way to the girls room. As I sat on the counter, Sharon says to me, "That's the thing with moms, they get mad at us because they love us, and yours must love you a lot".... Looking back now, she was so right, and she knew this because of the example of love that was clearly provided in her own home. For the record, soon after I had my daughter, I saw how brilliant, cool and amazing my mom is..... I purchased a beautiful bracelet from Donna in Sharon's memory as a gift for my teenage daughter. Sharon's words to me that day, will be passed on to her ... Thank you Sharon for being there for me that day, and for being who you were and forever will be to all who knew you.
Roxanne just posted this on Facebook: "Wow, hard to believe it was 4 years ago that I was laid off from Stride Rite. I remember sitting in the car with tears running down my face writing this status. I really used to love that job, before "The Buy Out" ;) That place brought so many amazing people into my life, RIP Sharon, my friend. Thankfully facebook allows us to stay in touch (not as much as I'd like, though). There were so many good times, and great memories!" I thanked Roxanne for remembering Sharon and she replied with "She was such a bright light in that store, always coming in with a smile every day! She would be very hard to forget! Besides, she was the only one who enjoyed singing those kids songs with me! Lol!"
Thank you for continuing to remember her... the gift of such memories is what keeps me going..
Share Bear! I am not brave enough to share often so it is monumental to admit I think of Sharon all the time and when I see her pictures here. My heart jumps like "Oh yay, Sharon" ... And then I remember and I feel soooo sad and lost and grateful for her life and her love all at the same time. And then I think of her pups and her laugh and her wise ass and chocolate cake and her smile and just, man oh man, she made me a better person and she tried to protect me from the inevitable and there was nothing she could do about that. I just miss her and happy that she graced my life with her love. Sometimes I cry when I'm alone and other times I just smile and laugh at her quirks.
I just feel my words are so petty compared to who she was and what she meant to me. I think she still smiles down on me all the time and jokes on me with her mischievous little smirk when she's busting chops or being stubborn and taking risks and I also know she kicks me in the butt from time to time as well.
I used to write her poems and tell her how special she was and she would laugh at me and tell me not to be stupid but she'd be grinning ear to ear .. haha .. somehow my words say so little about the magnitude of who she still is to me.
This was from our Sigur Ros concert pregame.... The little shit wouldn't look away during the crazy strobe light show but she let me cover her eyes without fighting it ... such a little shit :)
This is a Facebook chat from Colleen Winchester, the older sister of Michael Winchester and classmate of Sharon's. Michael passed away tragically in July of 2014, just 11 months after losing Sharon. Since then Colleen and I have become Facebook friends finding comfort in the shared grief. Sharon and Colleen did not know each other but Colleen shared this with me last night:
"I had a dream about Sharon the other night! She was just flying around like a butterfly and so full of energy and happiness! She kept pointing at her feet and saying something about shoes! My brother appeared behind her all calm and cool and Just gave me a beautiful smile! She was just flying around but soooooo full of energy and life it was amazing!!! All in white! Literally like an angel!
I swear I saw her and felt her presence! So bubbly!! So much energy and happiness! But the shoes were weird! LOL. Must be some kid of psychic connection I swear!
Maybe she wanted me to tell you and show you how AWESOME heaven is and how she is full of pure joy and happiness! It was like she was dancing and bopping around.. and if heaven is THAT amazing, I am at peace.
I can't wait to see you Donna (we're meeting for dinner) to tell you how amazing my dream was.. and it was the FIRST time I ever saw Michael in a dream! I woke up smiling..."
Billy stopped by on Christmas Eve day to say hello. He brought a lovely box of Godiva chocolates and simply wanted to connect and check in. Our love for Sharon was apparent but we talked about all kinds of things 'routine'. I was so glad to catch up on what his life is like these days but it was obvious that the absence of Sharon was looming over us. You have no idea how much these visits and remembrances mean to me. Friends and family who keep her in their hearts help keep me going. Thank you Billy.. And so I texted him to say thanks the next day and he responded with: "You're welcome.. It was good to see you and catch up. It's amazing how much I see her in you.. it's awesome :).. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year."
What a beautiful Christmas gift ...
You and everyone else ... We’re getting together for Christmas again this year. Because of you and everyone else in the family Christmas has always been a special time for us together. We played the card game of Fact or Crap last night as you know. You laughed along with us and at us. You liked playing the card version of that better than the board version. But things have changed, as you know, and it is different. Katrina is driving herself to Christmas now. It is different, but still special because of you and everyone else. You are deeply missed and never forgotten. You are deeply loved and always present. Merry Christmas.
Sharon's friend Kelly Davis texted me this morning to see how I was doing.. She's missing her dad and I'm missing my little girl. We talked about how Thanksgiving was one of Sharon's favorite holidays when Kelly said "I know it was her favorite! I remember us all going out the night before Thanksgiving and she was always like "I can't go.. I'm helping my mom bake pies. She would have rathered spent time with you baking.." Thank you Kelly.. this was the best gift on such a sad day for me ..
We have this neighbor who's son loves to play basketball at 10pm or later. One day Sharon posted that she didn't think she was that old but this kid was playing basketball late at night. I posted to her, "I thought it was just me." We would talk back and forth about this kid. The winter after Sharon passed, that kid was back playing basketball. One night, I was fed up & confronted the kid and talked to his father. No more basketball after 10pm. As I walked back to my house, I looked up in the sky and said "Sharon, that's for you and smiled."
My favorite memories of Sharon are how close she was to her family. Her relationship with you reminds me of mine with my Mom. We are best friends as well as family. I’m sure that was how you two were. I also loved her fondness for her furry children. I remember when she got her 1st puppy (after Chui). She had her in work (Jordan's Furniture) with her and she was a good little mother to it. It says a lot about her kindness and caring. This is how I will always remember her. She was a sweet person who ironically loved her sweets. I think of you often and ask Peter how you are doing. I know it’s not easy, but Sharon would not want you to be sad. You were so lucky to have such a close relationship with her and she was lucky too to have a Mom and friend who loved her so much. God bless.
It's been a year now since Sharon's passing and the void in our family is still overwhelming. She was the star at all of our family get togethers. I will always admire her enthusiasm for everything relating to the day's event. Her love for family get togethers on holidays was infectious. I would sit with my family and just admire her joy in every moment that a family get together brought. We miss her terribly.
This blog was created by Donna Gath Criswell, Sharon's mom. This space is for sharing stories or telling us about Sharon in order to keep the life of this amazing young woman alive. I thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.