I came home from Myrtle Beach to some sad news. Emily Davis, a dear sister, surrogate mother, and friend from the Philadelphia 1st ward passed away on Saturday. Emily has struggled with health problems for many years and has always managed to stay ahead of the game. I think all of us expected her to pull through this time as well.
I met Emily when John and I moved into the ward in 2001. She was a sweet African American sister with kids about my age. She had a warmth and kindness to her that radiated from her to everyone around. She also gave the best hugs ever!
Emily passionately loved to read. She was the force of nature behind organizing our book club and keeping it going all of these years. Although mystery novels were her favorites, she was willing to read every book we sent her way and was not abashed at sharing her opinion. She shared her own favorites which were eye opening to a group of white girls from Utah. We were able to have many open and honest discussions on race and poverty with Emily. She had overcome so much in her life and was willing to share her experiences and reach out to help others with their own difficulties.
Emily was the most faithful member of the ward choir when I was ward choir director. She loved to sing! She was there and ready to sing every single week- which is saying something since we had practice at 8:30 on Sunday mornings. In fact, frequently she asked me to pick her up so she wouldn't be late. During our drives into church we talked a little about everything. She didn't know it but those little talks helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. She talked me through parenting, being kind to myself when I was overwhelmed and she offered her support when I became a church widow (John was called into the bishopric) and had to struggle with the kids on my own. Her understanding meant the world to me!
Emily had a smile and a laugh that were contagious. You couldn't help but want to be around her. I miss her already and although I know her kids, Brandy and Jared, have got to be devastated, at least they know that their mom loved them more than life itself. She was incredibly proud of them; she would practically burst with pride when she talked about them. And she will be waiting for them- and us- on the other side with arms wide open. I for one am looking forward to that hug!