In Memory of my friend Lesley Swirhun
When Lesley said the word Kale, I instantly wanted to go out, buy some, and chow down. You know what? I absolutely hate Kale! I’ve actually tried it three times, just because Lesley would say the word and explain how she prepared it. Kale is bitter, super good for you and makes you strong.
She had the same effect on me when she said the word Lovely. It literally made me happier. Rather than a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down, she was able to say Kale and it sounded lovely enough to convince you it really is good for you.
Just like Kale, there are some pretty bitter things we all have to work through, whether it’s at work, in life or as a parent. Lesley was able to show the silver lining and the holes in any situation. By working through the situation with her, it was Lovely, you were stronger and a better person.
I can only hope that I can continue her legacy of being thorough at work and an awesome mom. When I first met her when working on a design for the County, I would think, “She’s so frustrating with all her details, but she is sooo right.” She certainly made me a better engineer and I can confidently say we were partners in crime when it came to ruffling feathers. She thought through nearly every angle and I’m not too far behind her.
When it came to parenting, she was just as thoughtful and I will cherish her words of advice; Put big red shirts on for easy cleanup on spaghetti night, stand like a starfish and let someone else pull your child off you when they have a death grip hold and establish family only time. Lesley said that doing the unpredictable can help get a kids’ attention; leave a full grocery cart at the store if they become screaming monsters or walk home (if within a reasonable distance) when they won’t keep buckled up in the car. It leaves your kids in shock and thinking, I can’t believe she did that.
Lesley was my best friend, dad, mom, sister, coworker, confidant and counselor all wrapped into one Lovely package. I think there are hundreds of people that felt this same way. She made my life and so many others’ lives better simply by her presence.
Kale may be bitter but it can be made Lovely with a little bit of heart, ruffling of feathers and little bit of unpredictability.
Lesley, I told you a quote once, “You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang.” You’ll always be “Pest 1” to my “Pest 2”. Thank you for letting me know it’s okay to rock the boat. I will miss you.