in memoriam - Harlene Marshall

Harlene Marshall
Harlene Marshall
1945 - 2008
A Loving Dedicated Mother, Friend and Volunteer

Harlene Died peacefully at home on December 2, 2008, surrounded by her family and friends. She may have lost her battle with cancer but never her fighting spirit, her will to live, her lust for life. Harlene was a "smile in the heart" of those close to her. Generous with her love, her talents, and her courage, she is an inspiration and role model for a life lived to the hilt. Also, she was the best mother a girl could ever have. Her daughter, Rebecca, her brother, Jerry, his wife Maria, her brother-in-law, Jerry, and his wife Gail, their family and many, many friends will miss her incredible spirit and her infectious laughter.

In October 2007, Harlene facilitated with us at the Long Beach POZ Life
Seminar. Photographer Reggie Ige visited us there to do some interviews with
Life Group volunteers. Harlene was the most caring and compassionate person,
left her embrace on many and has left The Life Group LA with this amazing
voice to share with you.

The Life GROUP

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Thoughts and Reflections

TLGLA Mourns the Loss of Harlene Marshall

When we think of the word “Fighter,” it is impossible to not think of Harlene Marshal. For year after year, she fought the ravages of advanced breast cancer, that developed into bone cancer, that developed into a particularly virulent systemic cancer, that finally ended by attacking and defeating Harlene’s liver. To the bitter end this valorous woman fought what would turn out to be an endless fight for her life, but through it all, she never forgot her deep commitment to the service of others. After her husband died, she grieved, but she spent hours volunteering in a community program.

As her cancers were diagnosed and treated, she dealt with sickness, hair loss, depression, and she also gave several hours a week to volunteer for others suffering from breast cancer, mental illness, and AIDS. When she went through the rigorous training to become a POZ Facilitator, she was undergoing a new combination of chemo-therapy drugs that were making her extremely uncomfortable, but her dedication to becoming someone who could help others with the skill of a TLGLA Peer Support Facilitator was very strong. She pushed her illness into a corner,applied herself, and passed through with flying colors. Determination. Strength. Spirit. These were all words with which to describe Harlene, but for all her strengths, and all the challenges that threatened to make her into a hard person, Harlene managed to show people her great compassion, and an empathy that was hard earned by years of pain.

For her struggles, we must always honor Harlene, but we love her because of her need to serve, and for the love she felt for her clients.

A hard year. And yet the honor of watching the lives of our loved ones, as they fought across their own personal battlegrounds and experienced their spiritual destinies, has been a wonderful and painful experience. In our hearts, we will try to keep the memories of these beloved family members abiding, to serve as lessons on the kind of people we would aspire to be. The year has been good – we got Obama for President and Hillary as Secretary of State. The year has been bad – we lost on Prop 8, and Sarah Palin scared us half to death. For us who knew her the loss Harlene and fellow volunteers, Daniel Garcia and Jim McMann made this year decidedly a mixed blessing, and I’m afraid when you look at it in context with the rest of the year, it appears to come out rather negative on the whole. When we take into account the Strength, Wisdom, and Spiritual Awarenes! s of our three absent kindred, however, we are forced to see things through kinder, gentler eyes, and the beliefs they all embodied lead us inevitably toward hope.

- Jim Flood

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