As I write this I still can’t quite believe that it’s true: our dear friend Shannon “Chevy” Timmerman has died. Chevy is someone who has been on death’s door any number of times, but we’ve usually been right there with her. I don’t even know how many times I’ve said goodbye to her, thinking it was the last time. The fact that she died suddenly last night is just so jarring.
Chevy has been part of my life for as long as I’ve been at The Dale. She had an uncanny way of worming her way deep into people’s hearts, while simultaneously being frustrating to no end. She loved animals with a passion, especially her dog Jacob who was with her until the very end. At one point she owned seven or eight cats, the oldest of which (Terry) had been with her for about 20 years. She was known to walk with through Parkdale pushing a mesh cage/stroller containing at least one of her beloved feline friends.
Chevy was no stranger to pain. She lived through more difficulty that you would think anyone could, and somehow always seemed to bounce back. Like her cats, she seemed to have nine lives (at least). Despite all that struggle, she somehow maintained an openness to life and love that was quite extraordinary. She was generous and very hospitable (sometimes to her own detriment). Having experienced many years of life on the street, she was always eager to offer a place for people to stay when she was housed.
Chevy was an artist, and one of the things that cemented our friendship was a shared love of the Art Gallery of Ontario. We went there on a number of excursions over the years, and this past Monday (just three days ago) we talked on the phone about our plans to go back, as soon as COVID would allow. I treasure those memories, along with the painting of a ladybug that she gave to us back in 2013 with this message written on the back: “I know I’m a bug, but I’m your guys’ bug now!”
Chevy was a person of deep, raw faith. She would show up to our church services, sitting right at the front with Jacob. She would sometimes toss a ball down the aisle for Jacob to fetch. She often helped Erinn to serve communion, passing the cup of wine to each person saying “the blood of Christ. Get it into ya!” During our communal prayer time she would offer up her heart to God in a way that was vulnerable, trusting, sometimes pissed off, and usually very grateful. The one thing that brings me joy today is knowing that Chevy is safe in the arms of the One who loved her; the One who has now given her the peace of mind and heart that she so often struggled to experience while she was here with us.
There’s a lot more than I could say about Chevy, but I feel like nothing I write can do her justice, or fully explain the unique place that she holds in my heart and the hearts of many. So I’ll end this post with a few photos that I hope can show you a bit more of the sassy, loving, dramatic, creative person that she was. Rest well, Chevy. We love you.