Back in the late nineties when I started hanging out in the "Christian 50 plus" chat room, one of the first people I warmed up to was Sprkl. When a person entered an AOL chat room, the name that showed up on the chat screen was her AOL screen name, and many of us ended up being called by some shortened form of that "screen name" when we met in person. It's how I became "Mo", and later, "Mosie".
Sparkle was an upbeat, positive lady who loved to talk about her past life, her children, and time spent as a Navy wife. Her husband, whose name was Cliff just like my husband, made a career in the military; he died after retiring, at a relatively young age. Sparkle had been a widow for a long time already when we met at the very first chat reunion I attended in Texas; was it 1999?
Through so much silliness and childishness and backbiting that went on later in the chat room, Shirlie remained the peacemaker, always a calming influence. I remember one mentally troubled man turning against almost everyone in the group, lashing out verbally, viciously. The one person who kept in touch with him through email after that was Sparkle; she met with him in person later on, when she was in his part of the country... the only member of our group who ever met the man in person.
It was her Internet friends who first realized she was having a stroke and contacted a family member: She had always been an excellent speller, and one day the words she was typing onto the screen became garbled and nonsensical. I'm telling you, folks, we were a family!
Our group would not have been the same without Sparkle; we are all better for having known her.
Rest in peace, sweet Shirlie Thorsen. You loved the state of Washington, but I think you'll love your new state even more.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! Matthew 13:43