Growing the seeds of love

November 9, 2010

By Laura Geggel

Neighborhood plants daffodils to remember a friend

Cheryl Sherburne

The women remembered Cheryl Sherburne as a woman with a sunny disposition. And they remembered the friend who volunteered at Sunset Elementary School, prayed with them during Moms in Touch meetings and helped carpool their children to sports practices.

Sherburne died after an 11-year battle with cancer Oct. 9 at age 52, and even after her neighbors delivered meals and had given their condolences to Sherburne’s husband and two boys, they wanted to do more.

They decided to plant daffodils.

“It will add a little bit of brightness to their garden,” Karen Foremski said.

About 20 women from the South Cove neighborhood in Issaquah banded together for the daffodil project Oct. 29. The Issaquah Home Depot donated 500 daffodil bulbs and two bags of fertilizer for the effort.

“They should blossom in the spring, probably around March,” Assistant Store Manager John Delacour said. “They should be pretty. They come up every year.”

Every time the daffodils blossom in the Sherburnes’ yard, her friends hope the family will see it as a reminder of how much they cared for her.

Planting daffodil bulbs around the edge of Cheryl Sherburne’s rose and strawberry garden are (from left) Bernice Speckhardt, Karen Foremski, Gretchen Dowling and Cari Schutzler. By Greg Farrar

“I think in the springtime, it will be a happy memory for her kids,” Sue Martin said. “They will know people love their mom and people love them.”

Many of the women are part of Moms in Touch, a group that gets together every Friday morning after the school bus picks up their children.

Having Sherburne there was a real asset to the prayer group, said Jan Domek, who helped spearhead the daffodil project.

“If you had met Cheryl, she was such a warm, giving spirit,” she said.

Others nodded their heads, remembering their personal stories with Sherburne.

Eileen Hotchkiss volunteered to drive Sherburne to chemotherapy appointments and helped the family with meals and housework. When Sherburne wasn’t feeling her best, she wouldn’t let it show, Hotchkiss said.

“Even when she was undergoing chemo, it wasn’t about her,” she said. “It was about friendships and what she could give.”

Gretchen Dowling met Sherburne when they were both pregnant in baby class together. She remembered how her friend had decided to take a summer off chemotherapy so her boys could have a real family vacation in Montana together.

Lisa Bus recalled how Sherburne babysat her son, now 11, and how he loved it when she let him play football in the backyard and cooked him delicious meals.

“She just personified courage,” Blythe Meigs said. “Her death, I take very personally, because I prayed for a miracle for years.”

Around her, women wearing yellow — Sherburne’s favorite color — dug holes in the ground for the daffodil bulbs.

“We should have done this when she was alive,” Meigs said, turning her face toward the sun.

Kent Sherburne said the flowers would remind him and his sons of his wife. He thanked the neighborhood for stepping up during this critical time.

“They’re amazing,” he said. “My wife was an incredibly loving and caring person, so she had a lot of relationships.”

The neighborhood plans to form a group called Cheryl’s Garden Angels that will serve families in need, during illnesses, death or hard times, in the South Cove area. Domek said the group is planning to get matching yellow T-shirts, and said anyone interested in sponsoring them could contact her at

Each of the women who helped plant the daffodils agreed to plant some in their own yards, so all of the houses would be connected with bursts of yellow this spring.

“During the couple of weeks that the daffodils are out, I’ll say a little prayer for her,” Gerrie Hendrickson said.

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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One Response to “Growing the seeds of love”

  1. Irene Gehring on November 16th, 2010 10:36 am

    I never met Cheryl but know her parents, Omar and Pearl, and her brothers, Alan, Loren and Neal and Neal’s and Loren’s wives and their children. Thanks be to God for the Christrian training and example in the Sommer home. I see the same gentleness in Cheryl’s smile as I see in Pearl’s smile. The Sommer family has always been a blessing to the Gehring family. And now, even in death, even though I never met Cheryl, she is a blessing to me. Thanks be to God! Some day I’ll meet Cheryl – face to face – at Jesus’s feet in heaven. Hallelujah!!!!!!!

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