Sherpa People

Robert is a friend from high school.  I’ve always admired Robert for many reasons, but his latest pursuit has reminded me again of my admiration.  Recently I reconnected with Robert, and listened to his accomplishments and experiences of summiting 5 of the 7 world’s highest summits, I was completely enthralled.  This lent to my fascination to follow Robert’s blog, as he and his wife wrote about his pursuit to summit Mount Everest.

While I was captivated by the physical elements of his stories, I most appreciated the emotional component that is apparent in his following post:

“I would be very remiss if I didn’t mention the Sherpa People again. These people are so strong that is embarrassing for the rest of us mere mortals. They carry loads that we can’t imagine, walk and climb at twice our speeds and never seem to tire. They are always cheerful and eager to help with any task big or small and are just fun to be around. There is no doubt that only a very small portion of Everest climbers would have any chance of climbing this enormous mountain without their help. My Sherpa guide is named Nima Nuru and I wish I could take him home with me. One would be hard pressed to find such a patient, kind and competent person. My slow pace must drive him insane, yet he never shows it. He leans down and picks up the rope for me every time I need to clip and unclip (scores of times in the ice fall), reminds me to put on my sunglasses when the sun comes up, insists on carrying anything of mine that he thinks might be heavy, helps me with my equipment such as crampons and checks on me in my tent in case I might need something.  I have asked him to go ahead of me in the particularly dangerous portions of the ice fall, but he refuses saying we are a team. He is awesome!”

Robert held to the hope of summiting Everest, even in the worst of conditions, because of his Sherpa, Nima Nuru.  Nima Nuru became actively involved in Robert’s pursuit and success.

As I read Robert’s blog, I was struck with an appreciation for my own “Sherpa People”.  Those individuals who came alongside me when I started on the difficult journey into widowhood over a decade ago; they helped me hold on to hope.   Some of my “Sherpa People” were so strong they appeared as angels to this mere mortal.  I was blessed with friends who helped me carry and divide the heavy load of grief.  I had people in my life who were always cheerful and eager to help with whatever the task, be it big or small – they made it fun for me when they were around.  I have no doubt that my journey through the valley of death and my climb up the enormous mountain of doubt and fear would never have been accomplished without their support.  When the gray cloud of all consuming grief set in, and I felt as though it would never lift, they reminded me to keep my sunglasses close as brighter days were ahead.  My loved ones and friends’ insisted they help, and became actively engaged in my life and the lives of my children, they eased my burden.  My “Sherpa People” checked on me to see if I needed something or anything.  When my pace slowed, or I wondered into the dangerous caverns of sadness, they refused to move on without me, assuring me, we are a team, we will go together.

My friends, family and sometimes strangers, gave me hope in the midst of my life’s greatest tragedy.  They became involved in my pursuit and success of a “new normalcy”, I am where I am today because of those individuals who cared and still care for me.

To a climber, hope is essential.  To the climber in pursuit of summiting Mount Everest, “Sherpa People” are vital.

To a widow, hope is everything.  To a widow, “Sherpa People” are indispensable.

Beside you,


James 1:27 – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress.



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