I used to go on vacations with one of my "twin sisters." One year, we went up to NW Colorado to visit her uncle and aunt, who raced the Quarter horses that my sis's family raised. They were amazing folks and treated me like I was one of their own.
Years ago, Uncle Terrell died doing just what he would have wanted to: getting a horse ready to race. Recently, even though Facebook can really peeve me, thankfully I got back in touch with Aunt Shirlee. Not only was she one of the most warm-hearted people you could meet, she knew her dogs, and she knew her horses. She was a literal fountain of knowledge.
Not only could she give me horse advice, but she was always there for a supportive comment or suggestion, and heck, she was just fun to talk to! She was a very talented artist as well--I can still see the rodeo posters she drew hanging up at Mom & Dad II's house.
A few days ago, I got word on FB that she and her dogs had been missing since December 22. At a loss for what to do, I called my mom and asked her to activate her church prayer chain. She did me one better--she even called the 700 Club, so now we had a nation praying for Aunt Shirlee. A glimmer of hope came when one of her dogs made it back to her son's house.
This morning, the aerial searches found her in her truck, with her loyal Border Collie at her side. Unfortunately, she didn't make it. I don't have many more details than that yet, but at least her family has started to get some closure.
You will be sorely missed, Aunt Shirlee. You'll always have a very special place in my heart. I want to grow up to be like you--kind, giving, talented, smart, and beautiful. Ride Free.