I found a feather after the flames

Darlene M. Shores / Memorial Fund - Demolition
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MEMORIAL FUND for Darlene M. Shores September 10, 1955 - April 12, 2019

"I love you more than words. I miss you more than tears."

My mother Darlene M. Shores died tragically in a fire at her home on April 12, 2019. Words do not describe the devastation and heartbreak of losing her.  My family is heartbroken and the world feels a little empty without her. We lost my mother, her home, all her belongings, her pets, as well as 41 years of my father's life (all their shared belongings were in the home). My sister (Kellie Shores) and I are raising funds for removal of debris, and the home by a contractor with all its contents for safety and closure. My intention is to bring some peace to family, friends, her community and first responders she volunteered with who were directly impacted by this calamity (many responded to the fire and knew her personally). 

We are raising funds to clean up the aftermath of the fire. We have raised 13,280.00 due to the graciousness and help of many people. The amount raised will cover the entire cost of demolition and removal of all debris from site. Any additional funds raised will be used to frame and cap the foundation in hopes of rebuilding in the future. All her belongings and personal items were destroyed and will be removed with the home. Sadly, nothing is salvageable. The funds raised will be held in a memorial fund and utilized as above-mentioned. I will post photos and videos as the demolition commences. 

Please remember if you can find it in your heart to act by donating (a small gift goes a long way) as well as sharing my mother's story on social media Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook this would be immeasurable.  “It is possible to move a mountain by carrying away small stones." Much happiness, love, and light to you and yours. My mother's life mattered and I hope that by sharing her story she will not be forgotten. Help us with healing and closure to a tragic situation.

This memorial will be a way to honor her life, her selflessness, her generosity to others, her spirit, her self-determination, and to make a horrific death into a powerful rebirth. My dream is to one day place a small prefabricated home on the land she loved (The Phoenix House) and to make it into a sacred space for family, friends, first responders and veterans to come to find peace, to reflect, relax, and remember Darlene. 

Link to obituary->
https://www.samessenger.com/darlene-m-shores/

Link to news article ->
https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/articles/westfield-therapist-seeks-public-support-after-a-fire-claims-her-mother-s-life

 (Please scroll through pictures if you do not feel like reading. There are more pictures located at  the bottom of  this page. A picture is truly worth a thousand words).
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Sunrise- Sept. 10, 1955 to Dusk-April 12, 2019

Darlene M. Shores was born in Cambridge, Mass. Her father Francis Hakey (deceased) was from Swanton. She is survived by her mother and step-father Gene and John Ellis from Canada,and her stepmother Margaret Hakey from Florida. She was married to Daniel Shores for 41 years and had four children.

She loved God. She loved animals and was an avid gardener. She loved to read, write, research and pursue scholarly activities as well as volunteer. She was creative and artistic and loved to laugh. She completed the Citizens Police Academy for Auburn, Maine in 2012. She volunteered at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine and received recognition for 2000 hours of service. She attended courses at Southern Maine Community College Satellite Campus in Biddeford, Maine. She volunteered for the York County Search and Rescue in Maine. She was a naturalist. She loved the ocean and the feeling of her feet touching the earth. She loved walking in the woods and with her dogs. She liked traveling in her earlier life. She was an adventurer. She was determined. She had perseverance and grit. She was a registered Abenaki Indian and her indigenous culture was very important to her. She enjoyed Native American drumming and playing her recorder.

She is survived by her three children Misty, Elijah and Kellie; her daughter Danielle went on before her. She is also survived by her sister Dawna and her brother Glenn; her beloved friends Jessica and Ed Lizotte and their three children Hunter, Parker and Peyton; and by many kind neighbors and persons unnamed who aided her along her journey.

Darlene, you are missed profusely. You left an indelible mark on those who knew you, and you lived your life as you wished full of self-determination. You were devoted to faith, and your spirit will live on for eternity. May you be wrapped in His loving arms, free from harm.

As per the Indo-Tibetan hermeneutical tradition, “It’s time to fly the expanse of the sky of Spacious Mother,” from The Sky Dragon’s Profound Roar. The nature of being is without words; in our minds, your insight, luminosity, and spirit are irreplaceable and will be missed inordinately.

If one lives life with intention, faith, and an indomitable will, nothing is lost as life is impermanent in nature and death marks the transition to the next life or rebirth and the end of suffering.

(Please continue reading below - "I found a feather in the aftermath of flames." - By Misty A. Shores)

39057648_1559407094396983_r.jpegMy mother volunteered for the police department and walked 7 miles each day (one way) because she believed in giving back to others and serving her community. This is a letter from the police department noting her dedication to others and her determination. #Her Life Mattered 
39057648_1558271349284232_r.jpegDarlene M. Shores - Forever in our hearts.
39057648_1558701804910216_r.jpeg My sister Kellie with our mother and father before she left to Jamaica with Teen Missions.
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 I found a feather in the aftermath of the flames. – By Misty A. Shores, 

 My mother loved spring as well as planting, growing herbs, and flowers and she will not be here to see it this year. She died at the end of winter before the warmth of the sun returned. Fire investigators believe she was lighting her wood stove to stay warm. At this time her cause of death is still pending. I have spent my whole life helping others but I was unable to help my own mother. This year was the year I was finally set up to help her and she was coming to live with me in New Jersey. She passed one day before I could bring her to come live with me. I had time off from work. It was Spring break. I did too little, too late. I feel like time has not passed since her death. I scroll through her pictures online and reread her obituary repetitively but words do not describe the loss. I try to find comfort but there seems to be little to none. My mother died alone in a fire. Her life was as complicated as her death. First responders were unable to reach her and they had conflicting reports initially as to whether she was inside her home. Unfortunately, she was inside as were the pets she loved.

I learned more about my mother in her death then in her life. She was lovely and kind. She loved animals. She was a registered Abenaki Indian. She had little but gave a lot to others. She never wanted to be burden to anyone. She volunteered at the hospital, completed civilian police academy, and trained for search and rescue. In the end, no one was able to rescue her.


I began to think about loss in reference to those who lose someone suddenly, tragically, and when there is literally nothing left but the haunting of a burned house staring back at you. Nothing to make sense of, no words to describe the absence of someone, nothing to claim, all ruins, all rubble, her prized possessions charred, burned, and unrecognizable. I walked through the house looking at charred bible verses and the books she loved unsalvageable at best.

I look for signs of her presence. My beautiful sister finds hearts everywhere. I doubt her presence. I hear a deafening silence. I wanted to write this for others like me who didn’t get to say goodbye, who weren’t there for their loved ones, who had a fight, who have regrets, who go over in their minds the scenario (what if? or why?), who will never speak to their loved one again. My mother’s life was complicated and she often shut others out and I perhaps did the same. I was busy building my life and failed at being present. We became distant and lost touch. I believed she never loved me or approved of me. Now I know only my perceptions kept us separated.

As I was sorting through remnants of the fire, I axed open a desk drawer and among the smoldered remains I found an intact picture of me graduating from Fordham University. I am not even sure how she had this but it made me both happy and sad. I couldn’t bear to look at it. I felt numb because I knew then in that moment that she loved me.

I believe in human agency and resiliency. I believe that we are energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed it just is, it changes forms. In some ways this does not bring peace but in other ways I wonder if I carry her with me each day. My mother loved to walk in the woods. She spent time at the ocean. She knew a freedom I will never know. In the ruins of the fire, I found feathers she collected mostly from hawks and other birds. She believed they were aspirations acquired, wishes granted, or prayers answered. She would be overjoyed when she found them. To me this is reminiscent of the image on my prayer flags, the Lungta warrior, one who carries prayers and positive aspirations to the heavens in Buddhism.

I decided to tell my story to help others find a voice when they lose someone to a shooting, a fire, in other tragedies, when there are no answers and peace is hard to find. When they said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing, when they lost time, when they wished things were different. When they cannot breathe, when anger comes swiftly.

I think the secret is to tell your story, to be better than you were before, to look at the sunlight, to understand that grief is just love bottled up. The journey is: to forgive yourself, to find meaning in ashes, to keep going when it feels like you can’t even when dark thoughts come. For me, I am going to raise funds and knock down the skeleton of a house that torments me. She loved her land and wanted to stay there. I am not going to be bitter, or have a chip on my shoulder. I will swallow the darkness that seeps deep down into my soul and breathe out light, hope, and life. I am here with you, we have something in common, please don’t give up. Don’t let the darkness overwhelm you and seek help if needed. You are important, you are loved you are pure potentiality and spaciousness, do not dissolve your gift use it.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I choke down tears, air escapes me and I feel like I cannot breathe, but I won’t let hope be extinguished. I am eternally optimistic that I will find more feathers because I found a feather in the aftermath of flames.

Please consider donating to help her family, friends, and first responders find peace and some closure by removing building and debris from property.

I believe it is possible, probable and I am hopeful that human kindness, goodness, and love will
prevail. "No matter how tall the mountain is it cannot block the sun." - Chinese Proverb. 

39057648_1560816155972907_r.jpegMy sister found this feather when she was hiking with her husband - June 2019.
39057648_1557249677280151_r.jpegMy mother loved the ocean and she loved serving others. Her dogs were trained in search and rescue as well as registered therapy dogs. 
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39057648_1557286094633764_r.jpegOur mother and her friend Jessica L.  "I only miss you when I breathe."

39057648_1557283142507661_r.jpegMy mother - a beautiful soul. 

39057648_155728481331679_r.jpegHeartbreak and solace. My father Dan after reuniting with Darlene's cat who survived the fire. They were married for 41 years. (Her other animals perished in the fire.) We call her the miracle cat.
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 Noriah Rose - our mother's cat who survived the fire. All of her other animals perished in the fire. Her name means gift from God.

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"Do not lose hope, please believe that there are a thousand beautiful things waiting for you. Sunshine comes to all who feel rain." R.M. Drake

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My mother volunteered for the police department, did search and rescue for the fire department, and volunteered at the hospital. I found this in a picture frame it somehow survived the fire. I wish she had survived the fire. 

39057648_1557338595864394_r.jpegAvalokiteshvara - The Bodhisattva of Compassion - "he or she who hears the cries of the world and works to alleviate suffering." Om Mani Padme Hum

May you rest in peace. In loving memory of Darlene M. Shores. 

Please consider giving as well as reading or sharing. I know Darlene would be smiling due to an outpouring of love.

We thank you deeply and sincerely for any gifts you find in your heart to make no matter how little or how large the amount is. Please be advised that due to IRS regulations/codes regarding charitable gifts or donations to a memorial fund that these gifts may not be tax-deductible. If you could please share and ask others if they can give as well as share my mother's story. Love you all. Thanks for bringing so much faith and kindness to action. I am forever grateful.  Please help us make this happen.

39057648_1560371129397690_r.jpegMy mother was a registered Abenaki Indian and had a certificate of Indian Status & Citizenship - Sovereign Abenaki Nation - Republic of Missisquoi - Band No. 1116

Donations (0)

  • Melody Landis 
    • $100 
    • 21 d
  • Sandy Sherwill 
    • $100 
    • 28 d
  • Danielle Tedesco  
    • $25 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $55 
    • 1 mo
  • Mesha Wells 
    • $300 
    • 1 mo

Organizer and beneficiary 

Misty A. Shores 
Organizer
Highland Park, NJ
Kellie Shores 
Beneficiary
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