May 15, 1963 - November 5, 2017
If you are reading this, it means that I have moved on. Not by choice. Let me be clear on that. I will begin by saying that I have had an awesome life.
I was the first child born to Claire and Jerome on May 15, 1963. Twenty-six months later my little (shoodenvinkle) sister showed up, and the struggle for supremacy began.
Summers at Clear Lake, playing on Borebank Street, matching dresses our mother would make, and Ramah Hebrew School were some of the highlights of that time.
Then my real-life baby doll arrived. Nine-and-a-half years old, and I had a real live baby attached to my left hip. Curtis was the cutest, happiest baby ever. While later I would sometimes resent the free babysitting I was required to do, it was worth it. I mean, who better than I to explain the facts of life to this impressionable little curly blond?
My teen years were tough, to say the least. JB Mitchell and Grant Park schools broadened my life. Experiences travelling to Trinidad, Texas, Portugal and Quebec with my schools were fantastic, and I highly recommend them. Living on my own and attending the University of Winnipeg Collegiate brought new challenges and new friends. Good times, right? Good times.
Graduating from the University of Winnipeg was a milestone. If only I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
The year 1984 brought two grand families together, when my paternal grandfather Harry Breslaw (Deeda to us) married Esther and the Tessler family, so Shelley, Susan and Curtis added Shelley, Debbie and Susan et al to our family tree.
A variety of jobs, learning to live with Crohn's disease, led me to my calling, publicity. This led me to Toronto, which led me to Kevin. We moved from Toronto to Winnipeg in 1992, and then the fun began. Marriage in 1994, and then the arrival of the light of our lives, Sophie Beatrice, on August 17, 1999.
The year before, in 1998, two other grand families joined together, and welcomed our brotha and sista from another motha, Sharon and Stephen, and their growing families, when our mom Claire married their dad, Paul Granovsky.
Life was good, and life was challenging. I had many jobs. Some were good, and some were meh. Being a mom to Sophie was the most life-affirming best job ever.
Motherhood brought even more blessings into my life. My Montessori mamas, my Brock Corydon families, the wonderful families of Sophie's friends.
And then I got cancer, and had surgery. And then I got cancer again, and had surgery. And then I got cancer again, and life changed for all of us. More travel, never enough family, and learning to surrender.
When you are my age and have such a large extended family, and so many friends, you leave behind more than those who went before you:
Kevin, my husband, and my beloved daughter Sophie, mom Claire Breslaw (Paul), dad Jerome Breslaw, sister Susan Robson (Tom), brother Curtis Breslaw (Sara), my nephews Ethan, Malcolm and Sam, my sister and brother by choice Sharon and Stephen, aunts and uncles too numerous to mention, and my friend Lesley O'Hara; Kevin's sister Laurel and the Rogers family in Ontario.
I have been blessed with many friends in my life, but more recently I have come to call these people my family: Sarah, Flynn, Dona, Cindy, Mandy, Lois, Angie, Pam, Tanya, Tracey, Brenda, Sonya, Elaine, and Kelly, and all of the other wonderful women in my life. You too, Philip.
Thanks to the amazing people at CancerCare St. Boniface: my nurses, my doctors and all of the people who tried to keep me alive and comfortable.
I'm trying to think of my legacy, or what I will leave behind. There are no buildings or monuments in my name. But if I was able to impart anything, I hope it would be this: be kind, be generous of spirit, be compassionate, help people and be humble, and love, love, love.
Children should never die before their parents, or leave young children. Yes, Sophie, you are young.
I'm off on another adventure, and I will always be with you. Have fun, make new memories and celebrate life.
Shelley passed on Sunday, November 5, 2017, and her funeral service was held at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue in Winnipeg on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Pallbearers were Murray Elfenbaum, Stephen Granovsky, Andy McKiel, Bradley Swartz, Steven Schwartz and Philip Shore. The service was officiated by Rabbi Alan Green.
She was preceded by her maternal grandparents Samuel and Chassie Nelko, her paternal grandparents Harry (Deeda) and Sadie Breslaw, and her step-grandmother, Esther Tessler Breslaw.
For those wishing to commemorate Shelley's life, a contribution can be made to the Family Navigation program, in memory of Reid Bricker, at the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. Contact Ro-Jean Anstett at (204) 786-0987.
Additionally, in honour of Shelley, either a volunteer commitment or a donation can be provided to CancerCare Manitoba. Contact (204) 787-2197.
The family would like to thank Dr. Krahn and the staff at CancerCare St. Boniface as well as the staff at 5E in St. Boniface Hospital for all their care.
May her memory be a blessing.