“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: ‘There, she is gone!’
Gone from my sight - that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: ‘There, she is gone!’ there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the shout: ‘Here she comes!’
And that is dying.
~ Henry Van Dyke
Norma Virginia Murray “Sis” Ayers, 70, passed away on Thursday, October 28, 2010.
Sis was a very special woman - a devoted mother, grandmother, and selfless friend who was loved by all who knew her. Her easy going attitude and generous nature defined her character and endeared her to everyone she met.
She was born September 26th, 1940 on her family’s dairy farm in Goode, VA. She graduated from New London Academy in Bedford County, VA as valedictorian and then attended the College of William & Mary where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned her BA in Business Administration focused in Accounting in 1962.
She retired in 1995 after a 27 year career with the Federal Government as a budget analyst. She and her husband spent time travelling around the US seeing the sights and visiting friends after her retirement and eventually became “snowbirds” and spent their summers in Fredericksburg, VA and winters in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
Sis is survived by her loving husband of 45 years Robert A. “Bob” Ayers, son Robert Ayers and his wife Megan, and two grandchildren; Michaela and Nicholas.
Sis clipped this poem out of an obituary long ago and set it aside as an example of her thoughts and as a message to her friends and loved ones left behind:
“Don’t stand by my grave and weep for I’m not there
I do not sleep
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond’s glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn’s rain
When you awaken in morning’s rush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circle flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand by my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.” Finally, and in character, Sis wished that no funeral or memorial service be held. Any memorial donations should be made to the National Cancer Society in her name.