I’ll never forget Sharon’s 30th birthday. I got her something pretty nice, ironically I don’t remember! Haha! I mention this because as I was running out to get a card the day before, I thought it would be a funny joke to get her a tiara from the little kids section of the store. Little did I know that this would be her favorite gift, one she loved and one she kept on top of her dresser for as long as I knew her. Just showed her fun side … she was a princess at heart, no matter what age.
I first met Sharon at the Woodtrail Day camp in Natick. My older brother was her counselor and I was a thirteen year old counselor in training. I'll never forget seeing her for the first time. I was walking into the auditorium at Kennedy Junior High along with the rest of the camp, but one tiny little blond haired girl (she couldn't have been older than six or seven at the time) was walking out with tears in her eyes. My brother was attempting to cheer her up, so I walked over to see if I could help. After a while she confessed that she was afraid of the dark, and the dimly lit auditorium made her very uncomfortable. This presented us with a small problem, because the camp would convene in the auditorium at least once a day. From then on, my brother and I would take turns sitting outside the auditorium with her during this part of the day. Sometimes we would play UNO or other card games, and on other days we would read stories or work on art projects. It was during this time a bond was formed and Sharon became our favorite camper. She was the type of kid who could light up a room with her smile and we took pride in making sure she felt safe and happy at all times. Since Sharon and I were six years apart in age we didn't cross paths very often, but whenever we ran into each other it was like connecting with a long lost member of the family. The little girl I knew grew up to be a beautiful, kind, creative woman who could still make the sunshine brighter by flashing her million dollar smile. I am so glad that I knew Sharon and I'm thankful for the time we spent together.
I came to know Sharon through my best friend Kelly Davis and as time went on, I realized what an awesome person Sharon was. A little weird perhaps, but none the less, pretty awesome. She had this thing about her that just made you realize how human we all are. She would just make you laugh at all our silly, yet true, stupid idiosyncrasies. Over the years, when Sharon wasn't playing travel agent for one of our many trips, tour guide when we got to our many destinations, or navigator on one of our many road trips up north, she would be so much fun to just hang out with. I remember when Kelly had her foot surgery and Sharon was just so delighted to come and spend time at the house playing nurse to Kelly and also figuring out a way to hang a picture that I had painted. Sharon worked diligently on the wiring in order to hang that picture before I got home from work. And to this day, every time I walk by that painting, which is pretty often, I think of Sharon. Donna, I can't possibly know the pain of losing a daughter so dear, I only know that losing a friend as dear stings none the less. RIP Sharon, may your smile and laughter brighten all of heaven. What I wouldn't give to be on one of our infamous road trips now. Love always, Moe.
Sharon was such a beautiful woman. We grew up together and worked together when we were teenagers. Over the years we lost touch but thanks to Facebook we reconnected. We always played games and commented on pics and stuff.
Watching how everyone came together in June and was reunited for her fundraiser was priceless. She will forever be missed and touched so many lives. There's no doubt in my mind she's an angel now! You will be loved and never forgotten Sharon!! Xoxoxox!
I was recently divorced and had been doing girls nights with Kelly Davis, Kim Collari and Danielle Goode every week. Once August came around Sharon was able to come with us a few times. There was a boy I had a crush on forever and was trying to get him out with us. The first time Sharon was with us she was as disappointed as I was that he couldn't make it. I tried one more time the following week and he wasn't sure. We decided no big deal and were having fun just the 3 of us .. me, Kelly and Sharon. Well then I got a text from HIM...asking where I was sitting! I was beside myself! Sharon and I ran to the girls room so I could check myself. He came and we chatted for a while. I needed to run to the girls room again and without words... Sharon knew what she had to do ...get the scoop! She chatted him up to find out what his deal was...such a great "wing girl"! I came back and was told ...."Wow, your friend must have read your mind...she asked me a million questions!" .. "and did you know she has a pocket knife in her bag?" Hahaha I thought that was hilarious! I didn't, however, I wasn't surprised ... prepared for anything ! This was August 23rd 2012. Bo and I have been together since that night and we will always remember that crazy night. Sharon was an amazing person, her laugh and smile would light up a room! She will be missed every day. Stay strong!
I was never close with Sharon, but we traveled in the same circles, being another Cole School kid. I was beyond nerdy and socially unskilled, but she was one of those rare people that was always nice to me. I think I got in trouble once at Cole for staring at her at lunch. She was so pretty! I didn't see much of her until I worked at Roches in the courtesy booth. When she came to cash her checks, it was always a relief to take a break from the more demanding customers and chat with her for a bit.
I totally lost it at her wake, because you are living my absolute nightmare. I have a child with medical issues, and it scares me that even if I take him to the best doctors, give his meds, and take care of him as best I can, he might still be torn away from me. Losing Sharon has motivated me to fight harder for his doctors to treat more proactively and has made me advocate for him harder and without any guilt for being "that mom." I no longer beat myself up for renting because I spend all of my money on keeping him healthy and comfortable. I sincerely want to say thank you for being so open with Sharon's story and your grief, because you and Sharon have motivated me to be a better mother and caregiver.
She is so missed.
Kiki was one of my closest friends. A best friend. Since the beginning we knew we would be the best of friends, and we were right. We just had a connection, we just got each other. To be friends with Sharon meant that you had a true friend in your life. A friend I knew I would have forever. And although she is not here with us, she is still with me and by my side. I feel her supporting me and I can hear her laugh in the back of my mind when I need it. She will always be with me because she gave so much when she was here that she is a part of me. I take with me what she taught me, how she inspired me, how she supported me.
All of us who were this close to her have been fortunate. Fortunate to have had her in our lives. Sharon was very particular with the people she let into her heart and called A Friend. We all had our own special relationship with her, she was herself with each of us and we loved her for it. She enriched our lives, she was good for us. Sharon was pure and genuine with her love for her close friends. She embraced everything about you, celebrated the uniqueness of you and encouraged you to be real and honest and supportively called you out when you weren't. She loved and stood by you with no prejudice. We were very blessed to have had such a loving and loyal friend. You will be so unbelievably missed but your memory will live on through us.
you are my friend forever
love you always.
I have so many wonderful memories of Sharon:) She was most definitely a big part of my childhood of growing up...piano lessons, Canadian bacon & pineapple pizzas, swimming, skateboard ramps, listening to music in Sharon's room, sleepover birthday parties and --- LOL! --- watching "Tales From the Crypt" late at night. Sharon was always bubbly, and her laugh was infectious. What a beautiful spirit! What a beautiful woman! She was taken too soon, but she will never be forgotten.
I can still remember the first time I saw Sharon.. it was at a football practice. I knew she was younger than me and back then it seemed to be worlds apart being in different schools, especially when you're young. Anyways, I, like others, that smile just drew you in. It wasn't until junior year that I saw her again and followed her into an art class of hers to her knowledge at the time I had that class too. I managed to sit at her table and from then on was hooked. The following year, as luck would have it, we actually had the same art class again! I was always so intimidated by her beauty and always wanting to ask her out but figured she was way out of my league which is funny because she could have cared less about that kind of thing. Now that the year was over I was about to ask her to prom but a jealous friend convinced me she had already been asked so like a fool I didn't want to take a chance. We ended up talking all night at the after-prom party though. I told her I wanted to ask her to the actual prom and she told me I should have .. she would have gone with me! I almost crumbled.. the night came to an end.. we said goodbye. I thought after, "oh no, I probably should have got her number!." Much time and many relationships passed by we then started talking again online - "thank you Facebook" - because It gave me the chance I've regretted for the last fifteen years, and I finally asked her on a date. The first date was the best date I had ever been on. I knew it was going well because it was the only 12 hr date I had ever been on.. The next few weeks were as a dream to me. We both regained hope from each other, and that is what she had brought to everyone she had ever met. We decided to hang out by the fire pit out back of her place one night and she tells me "I kind of had a crush on you in high school too you know".. and my face lit up .. "who knows where things would have gone" as she took my hand In hers. I said simply "I'm just glad to be here now." Sharon gave hope, happiness and beauty to everyone around her and I will truly miss and think about her for the rest of my life and never forget the hope that she has given me.
Sharon and I hit it off right away as I'm sure most people did. We became friends when she started working at Great Feet in the Natick Mall. Sharon, Jaime, Kelly and myself began to hang out and there are a few times that stick in my head and one that makes me laugh every time I think about it. The first fun time was my birthday. I rented a room at the Anchorage Inn in York ME for the weekend. I invited some guys that I had met one which I liked. Next thing I knew he was hitting on Sharon..!! Was a little jealous but knew it would likely happen cause of Sharon's bubbly personality and infectious smile. Ah that smile.... But my favorite story was my parents went out of town for a weekend so I decided to have a pool party. The gang and I made Jello shots with enough vodka to probably serve a shot to all of MA! My fridge smelled like vodka for weeks (that's how my parents found out)! That was a crazy night... I thought that wearing a Victoria Secret long nighty would be cute... What was I thinking??? Sharon disappeared for a few minutes then appeared all changed.. Crazy girl instead of going in the house to change she went up the hill in the back yard!!!! OMG!! the laughs we had! Between just hanging out and being silly to going out and just having a drink or two it was always a good time.. I remember when Sharon was redoing her room and was so excited about the glass blocks she found... or buying her car, or our crazy times closing at Great Feet!! She was an amazing person with a personality like no other.. I am blessed that she was part of my life and will always laugh at our little times together!!!!
The Steel Wheels were playing a festival in Chattanooga, TN a few years ago. We weren't a big deal in Chattanooga. I'm not sure we had ever played there before. We had just pulled up to the rear of our stage and unloaded when I noticed a young woman waving at us from across the backstage fence. I looked around to see if there was anyone standing behind us that she might be waving to, but realized that she was in fact waving at us. I walked towards her, still thinking in the back of my mind that she had us mistaken with someone else. When we finally talked to her, she assured us it was The Steel Wheels she was looking for and she had traveled quite far from home to see us. I looked around to see if someone was playing a practical joke on us. Then, during our set, while the rest of the crowd listened politely or shuffled through to the next stage or the concession stands, I looked down at the front row to see that same young woman singing along to every word to our songs. Not some cover song that most people knew, but every word of every song I had written was coming out of this young stranger's mouth. It made the night for me. Sharon's smile and her attentive presence in a faraway land transformed her from a surprising stranger to friend of the band very quickly.
That wasn't the only time Sharon surprised us with her presence. It seemed our shows were a regular occasion for her to travel long distances. Over time we learned more about her condition through email and Facebook and we were even more grateful and proud to have Sharon as a friend. When the band had to cancel a show that Sharon had planned to attend due to a band member's illness, we recorded a special video to tell her Merry Christmas. We miss Sharon dearly and are glad for the time we had with her and the role she played in our band's life.
I met Sharon in middle school....I think 6th grade. She was the 'it' girl. She could win anyone over with that smile, and her bubbly personality. Everyone was just drawn to her and I'm not sure she even noticed half the time. Her beauty inside and out was just effortless. I didn't grow up with Sharon, Kelly, Tina, and Melissa. They all became close friends of mine but I didn't have the deepness they did. They knew each other better than anyone. Sharon always welcomed me in. One thing I learned from watching Sharon was that she was fiercely protective of her friends. She loved them to the core, no matter what. She always was never afraid to tell it like it is. No holds barred. I have endless memories of hanging out....pretty much doing nothing but being silly and carefree. Funny a lot of my memories with her revolve around food....french fries, cupcakes, dessert. And that laugh....oh that laugh! You'd never expect that to come out of petite little Sharon. She did struggle with her epilepsy but she didn't let it define her. I remember her seizure on the way to Framingham State. I was away at college, but I remember thinking what now? She was determined to graduate, and she did. I remember a seizure at the mall but she still worked. She never gave up. I remember new medicine she was on that made her gain weight, but she still tried it. I remember the treatment in the hospital with all those lovely sensors and wires hoping that she'd get some answers. And her sneaking out to smoke a butt hahahaaa and no one ever noticed! Sharon was caring, loving, determined, spunky, effortless, loyal, and most of all she is missed.
"Sharon" is not enough. She needs a "the _______" after her name like Alexander had. Sharon the Great. Sharon the Sunny. Sharon the Potent. Sharon the Optimist.
I'm sure Sharon had dark moments. I'm sure she cried and feared and felt depressed and/or defeated. But the predominant impression I have of her looking back on her life is that she was, quite simply, better than those emotions. If those emotions were mosquitoes, she was natural DEET. Only the really adventurous and powerful mosquitoes could get through. Me? I get eaten alive.
Thinking about Sharon initially makes me sad but, almost immediately after tears well up in my eyes (as they are doing right now), I remember what she taught me: Be happy, Tom. Be grateful, Tom. Put a smile on your face, Tom. This life is a gift. These are the lessons I have learned from Sharon Marie Gath. They resonate here at the one-year anniversary of her death and, I'm sure, they will resonate to my dying day. And I am very grateful for these lessons.
I know that there are people in this world far closer to Sharon than I was fortunate to be. My sister, Julee, and Sharon were fierce friends. Of course, Sharon's mother: Donna. What do you say to those left behind? How do you comfort the inconsolable? How do you convey your hopes for those left in pain: that they might somehow find the strength to overcome? There simply is nothing to say. Sharon's absence remains and will remain an open wound. What we must do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, slap a bandage on, put a smile on our faces (not nearly as beautiful as Sharon's smile but whose could be?!) and soldier on. Sharon would want us to live and love and celebrate this existence with a gargantuan, indelible smile on our faces. May we do it half as well as she did.
With love always, Tom Antonellis
She is truly amazing. Such a vibrant light. I know people say the nicest things when we pass on, but Sharon really was one of the genuinely kindest people I have EVER known. I was truly heartbroken when she left us.
It was the consistency. She was as nice when I first met her as when I last saw her. Always kind, always aware. No matter how little or often I saw her I always came away feeling loved and appreciated. It's interesting to be thinking of my friend Simon, who passed just recently, because they're like souls! Selfless, genuine, kind people who brighten the world around them even in spite of their aliments they always rose above.
I haven't had many interactions with Sharon over the years, but the few we had were always meaningful. I remember meeting her with my brother, and our cousin Chris. She had a cousin Cheryl who would visit from the Cape. We'd all hang out together for many years. Sharon was always sweet, polite, and upbeat. I always thought she was wise beyond her years as she had a kindness and maturity you didn't see in most people never mind a kid her age.
Once they got out of high school I didn't see Sharon for many years. When Facebook came out we got in touch and would say hello from time to time. She would talk with me and my brother and leave nice comments about pictures of myself and my brother and his family. I would keep up on reports of her epilepsy which up until there I didn't realize she suffered from. I would silently cheer her on!
It always struck me as odd that she wasn't married, or had children. I wondered how such a cool lady like her hadn't been snatched up long ago, lol! Christmas of 2011 I took my annual Xmas job at Newbury Comics - they had just moved over to the Natick Mall. I was at the end of a long, and unfortunately toxic relationship. I was having a particularly bad day. I mean Donna I was loooowwww that day. All of a sudden Sharon walked up to me and said hello. We hadn't seen each other in years, but it was like it was 91 all over again - cool, comfortable, relaxed! We chatted for a couple minutes. I didn't get a chance to say hello to you, you were in shopping mode! She gave me a hug, and we said we'd catch up soon. It was great to see her and though I didn't know it at the time she planted a bug on me.
That would also be the last time I saw Sharon. We still would chat on FB from time to time. The last time we talked she had put up a post about having these really vivid, lucid dreams. That's a favorite subject of mine as I've always had very vivid, lucid dreams - which means when you dream you are aware that you're dreaming and therefore can recall a lot of detail and have control/ full awareness of your actions.
Between my last visit with her and chat on Facebook I thought about Sharon a lot. About how seeing her and how simply being in her presence made me feel better, the things I knew that were important to her, I always thought she was very beautiful, funny, smart, an old soul. I had been trying to work up the courage to ask her out on a date! I didn't think you could have a sweeter partner than Sharon, and I was very interested in her. I had gotten out of that toxic relationship, but needed time to know myself again, to be sure I was ready. She would deserve nothing but my absolute best. I thought I'd have time.
Much like Camarah already stated. I, too, was enamored the first time I laid eyes on Sharon. Her soul and beauty were just breathtaking every time you would lay your eyes upon her. I knew in 5th grade I wanted to be her boyfriend. How could one accomplish such a task, I pondered. I'm sure I chased her around Cole School during our breaks and recesses, celebrating my wins over Camarah in races, and relays :-) . I believe I won Newsweek Citizen of the Year award and looked to her for recognition. Nothing. As Jason Gell screamed and cried, "I didn't deserve it"! It wasn't until 6th grade when my plan to grab this amazing woman came into fruition. I became best friends with her brother. I would spend countless days over the Gath's house in hope that Sharon would see me! When Mike found out he put it simply, "this is my hammer, it will gladly meet your face." All in good fun, till this day he is my brother. From 6th grade on I was a part of the Gath's, sometimes against Donna's wishes ;-) , and though I never got to date Sharon I was blessed to have her in and around my life and those she brought with her. My heart sinks with all of you and rises with all of you at the thought of Sharon and what an amazing and beautiful woman she was.
The one word that comes to mind when I see pics of her is "SPARKLE"!!! She just sparkled with happiness!! I also know how much she loved her family...there was one time, we must have been in Jr. High...and Mike a and I started "going out"...then we broke up like 2 days later and Sharon was very angry with me about it. Of course she got over it...but that's the strongest memory I have of her. She cared so much about everyone around her.
I remember being a kid and coming over to play with Sharon. We always played Barbies. I remember wanting to live on Pilgrim Rd because she had so many great friends all next to each other. Sharon was a beautiful girl, her smile was contagious. She was a lucky girl to have such great friends.. I know she will be missed and never forgotten.
There are so many stories and memories I have about Sharon I would be writing forever. Sharon and I were so much alike, we grew up 3 houses from each other and stayed best friends for 25 years. 7th grade sticks out for me, we had all the same classes and were dubbed "the Bobbsey Twins" we got in so much trouble that year it was so much fun! My partner in crime. We went on endless vacations together, and could always count on her to do all the reservations and take care of everything. Some of my favorite vacations were with her. She always had so much spunk and would tell you like it is. I knew if I ever needed to know the truth about anything at all she would tell me. We went through some hard times together and were always there for each other. When one of us were down the other was right there to pick us up. She was the first one to volunteer to help me when I had my foot surgery. She stayed with me and helped me through it all, and kept me sane while I was out of work for 8 weeks. Even kept me from gaining weight while being laid up. We went through so many boyfriends together and would let the other know what exactly we thought about them! (She had quite a few winners) When my dad died she knew exactly what to do and how to make things better. She was one of the few people who understood what I was going through, and did the same for my whole family. When I think about Sharon it makes me sad that I will never see her or hear that contagious, deep, strong laugh that came from her toes. But it also makes me happy that I had someone like her in my life and could call my best friend for so many years. I'm a better person for having known her and growing up with her. And Donna you should take great pride in knowing that you brought up such a wonderful and caring person... She was so beautiful and full of life, she tried so hard to not let things get her down. I love and miss you so much Sharon Marie Gath not a minute goes by that I don't think about you.
I went to high school and part of college with Sharon. I remember hanging out with her, Jaime and Kelly. I always remember Sharon smiling and laughing and having a good time. Her laughter would light up a room. She was always such a kind hearted and loving girl. Donna, my mom and I think of you often. Stay strong in the weeks to come and more after that. They say the first year is always the hardest but it does get a little easier and better with time. I know that Sharon is looking down from above and sending you her love everyday.
How I remember Sharon: Fun-loving, hilarious, tell it like it is, generous and a dedicated friend. I had the pleasure of growing up with her in my life as my sister Kelly's best friend. I truly appreciated her humor and wit as I got older and hung out with them more often. Sharon always gave good advice and you knew you were always getting her honest opinion, she was never fake and was true to herself. I have several fond memories of Sharon, but one that particularly stands out is her kindness to my family and I after my dad's passing. She just got it. She had been there and she knew what to say and when to listen. She came to my parent's house one day (before all the services) in her pj's and hung out with Kelly all morning. Just comfortably being there for us while we were grieving. She helped us look through photo albums, but the most touching thing she did was bring us all journals (Kelly, myself and my mom). It was a beautiful gesture that really meant a lot to me... In the midst of hundreds of flowers and an enormous amount of food she managed to nail it on the head with the journals. Telling us it helped her a lot to write things down when she lost her own father and was very therapeutic. Sharon had a huge heart. Miss her very much. So happy her and Kelly got to experience a genuine friendship that some people never get. I consider myself lucky to have known Sharon and I will always fondly remember her. Much love to you Donna and the rest of your family as you endure this painful first anniversary. I hope these memories and words bring you some comfort. I hope she continues to bless you with beautiful signs showing you she's in a wonderful place. Xoxo
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.