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Eulogy Delivered At Shelley's Memorial Service, 19 October 2001
By Brett Chappell, Long-Time Friend Of Shelley And Donn Marshall

The Silken Tent
Robert Frost

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when a sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

After September 11 and losing Shelley, I am slowly waking from disbelief and losing my loss for words. Like a child just learning to speak, I want to talk incessantly about my friend, for I hope at some point, a happenstance of words will fall just right to make me understand what has happened.

I delude myself, however, and, again, like a child stand before God asking why. He only replies because. Now I know how a three year old feels.

So, I'm left to myself to sort this out. As a grief counselor told some of us, we have to find a meaning in all of this for ourselves. I am not up to understanding the events of Sept. 11, but I'll hold that a portrait of Shelley parallels Paul's words to the Corinthians.

Shelley was here to show us love.

Shelley was patient, when patience was called for. She always took the time to teach Drake and Chandler what she could. It was not enough for them to do the right thing; she tried to make them understand for she knew that one day they would have to stand solidly for what they knew was right. We must practice that patience now.

Shelley was kind. She and Donn collected strays. Just ask Jason, Howie or me. We all shared their house in Marbury, MD at some point. How a relatively newlywed couple could so easily open there home and hearts always amazed me.

Shelley did not envy. Someone else may have shown her what she wanted, but as those who worked with her knew, that just gave Shelley a goal. She was a go-getter, one who set her sights and attained her reward, fairly. With what she achieved, she made the world a better place.

Shelley was never puffed up. She was humble. She looked not for the spotlight, for she shone like the sun. Her mission was to make others shine from within. Donn, my friend, you never looked as beautiful as you did in her presence, and, now, she shines through you and your children.

Shelley was not rude, easy to provoke, nor was she easily slighted. She was the true Victorian lady. She looked past all, or into all to see the beauty. That was her special gift. She loved tea and tea parties, truly an archaic and almost useless meal, but a time for people to commune -- a time for best manners, hats, and courtesies -- the beginnings, and height, of civilization.

Shelley bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things and endured all things. She was a loyal friend who saw past our fault, knew we could and would do better, and waited for that day.

Shelly never failed or fails for here we are today, to celebrate what she meant to us. She'll burn on in our hearts. We'll think of her when we sip tea, when we put on our best clothes, when we say hi to a stranger, when we see the sun, when we smell shortbread, when we look at Drake and Chandler, when we look at Donn.

Let us not fail Shelley. Her body has passed away. For a while, we saw her in that mirror dimly. Now with nothing to obscure our sight we begin to understand.

Take what she was, everyday, with you in your heart, and share it with the world. God's abundance is boundless, there is plenty for all people, and it can only grow.

When we have been made complete, like Shelley, the need for the inadequate will come to an end and will disappear -- and we will see that the greatest of all things is love.

Copyright 2005 © The Shelley A. Marshall Foundation
P.O. Box 1685
Shepherdstown , WV 25443

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