When you lose a child due to a violent act, life is never the same from that moment on. No time for goodbye; in an instant, life ends. The family dynamic changes, milestones of graduation, college and marriage for that child are gone. Picking up the pieces of a shattered life is far from simple or easy. For Jennifer Smitherman, the loss of her daughter, Norah, at 17 years old, in November 2021, devastated her family but showed her the love and support of family and friends she never thought she would need to the degree she did. Since that day of loss, Jennifer has founded Live Like Norah Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) 3, offering scholarships to Yadkin County high school seniors. To say thank you to those women who reached out to Jennifer and her family since Norah’s loss, Jennifer wanted to celebrate her friends with a Galentine Gala and bring awareness to the foundation.
A Celebration of Friends
The Live Like Norah Galentine Gala, to Jennifer, was her way of putting all the people in one room who carried her through the most devastating time of her life.
“The scripture that kept coming to mind as I planned the gala, was Proverbs 3:15 – ‘for she is more precious than rubies,’ which each attendee is to me. Our theme of the TV show ‘Friends’ set the tone, with a focus on what friends do for us and how they get us through the good and bad times of life. So many people volunteered to help with the event, and my husband’s friends were the servers for the night. Boonville UMC was gracious to rent the building to the foundation and every detail came together. Each table featured a China pattern, provided by a lady at the individual tables, with one set of China dating back to the 1800s. Our speaker, Beverly Burton, shared what our friends mean to us throughout our lives and the music for the evening was provided by Lauren Willard, Darlene Caudle, Amy Williams and Riley Reece. At the end of the evening, numbers were drawn, and those called were asked to identify the charity of their choice, and the foundation would make a donation on their behalf. We gave away $2,100 to various charities,” said Jennifer.
Beyond the message of the bonds of friends, Jennifer wanted to share her testimony and that of her family, especially Norah’s. “Grief is an emotional journey; sometimes I feel like I can’t go on, but then I am reminded in ways that I am Chosen and belong to Christ. I will continue to trust in Him for the rest of my days. It was important to share that salvation is for all, and it begins the moment one accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Our foundation strives to center all outreach and ministries by sharing that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. Too much is taken for granted each day, trust me; I took much for granted, and I wanted to remind everyone to take time to use the good China, have dinner with your family and friends, pray before your meals, giving thanks for His many blessings. Losing Norah pauses me, daily, to really give thanks, for she too was far more precious than rubies,” Jennifer commented.
For more information on the Live Like Norah Foundation, visit livelikenorah.org.