LOSING A GOOD FRIEND is like losing a close family member. In fact, a good friend is a close family member. Deborah Norman was a good friend. Deborah's husband, Ervin is a good friend. Deborah's passing yesterday touched many heartstrings. It shows how fragile life is and that tomorrow is not promised.
I often ask, "If the Lord calls you Home in the next instance, is this world a better place because you were here?"
Deborah left her indelible heartprint on many lives: the many students she taught; the classmates whose company she enjoyed in the Rev. Matthew William Gilbert class of 1962; the young people she touched in the "I'm a Star" program working its founder, Betty Burney; the counseling, advise, and direction she gave to the many students who attended Raines while she was there; the love for the members and her church, the First Baptist Church of Oakland; ALL, are much better because their paths intersected with the Deborah Norman Highway.
I do not handle death well at all. I certainly do not handle the death of a good friend, who was married to a good friend. In fact, Ervin was a pallbearer at my wife, Ann's Celebration of Life Homegoing.
The tragedy of losing a friend so suddenly is bad enough for me, until you internalize the grief and the heartbreak of Ervin, and their daughter Nicole, and the grief and the heartbreak of Deborah's entire family.
Yet, in the midst of heartfelt pain, I thank God for letting Deborah be a part of my life.
This world, as evil and as racist as it is, became a better place because Deborah Norman Was Here. Sleep well my friend, you have earned your Heavenly Rest.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.