Loretta Mae Sharp lived a beautiful life. She provided a great deal of beauty for herself and for others through her framed artwork, hand-painted Christmas and birthday cards, and in the decorating of her home. However, a greater beauty was observed in the way Loretta treated others. She was a loving, caring, giving person to her family, friends, neighbors, business associates, pets, and stray animals.
Early in her life, Loretta took her baby sister Catherine (“Sissy”) and her baby brother Michael (“Mouse”) under her wing, and even shared her home with them for some time. This love and compassion for her siblings continued throughout her whole life as she was always there when they needed assistance and guidance.
When Loretta’s mother fell ill due to complications of her own diagnosed MPD (Polycythemia vera, diagnosed in the early 1990s), Loretta arranged for her ailing mother to live with her family in Florida and Cincinnati, Ohio, along with spending time with her brother Lemuel (“Bud”) in Rhode Island, and with her sister Catherine (“Sissy”) in Milford, Ohio. The love between the siblings and mother became stronger over time and through the battling against grandma’s MPD.
Loretta was a very successful business leader as the manager of a Cincinnati restaurant and then later as the owner-operator of her very own Beauty Salon. Throughout all of her professional endeavors, Loretta practiced effective servant leadership, loving those around her more than herself in way that people remember decades later. Her employees, neighbors, and friends all knew that Loretta was always someone they could turn to for love and support. And her love for others went beyond people. Over the years, Loretta provided a loving a caring home for many stray dogs and cats, and they too knew that she was always someone that they could count on.
Loretta was inspired by what love can do when one strives to make it come alive, and she taught that lesson well and often. She was talented, big-hearted, and generous person, someone who had a great sense of humor, even when she was sick, and was one of the most fun people you could hope to be around.
To her husband, Kenneth, she was a trusted friend and lover. She constantly encouraged Kenneth as a family man and in his professional endeavors as a schoolteacher and principal. To her sons. Michael and Brian, and their wives (whom she considered daughters), Jennifer and Neringa, Loretta was perhaps their most influential teacher of compassion, truth, and patience. She constantly encouraged Michael and Brian in their schooling, work, spirituality, and family life. To her siblings, “Bud,” “Sis,” and “Mouse,” she was a confidant and protector. And to her parents, Lem and Suzie, she was a loving daughter, even when it was difficult. Within her familial relationships, as with her friendships and other professional relationships, Loretta lived by the belief that Love Wins.
Loretta Mae Sharp passed away on January 24th 2010. She fought courageously for years after being diagnosed with her an MPD, Myelofibrosis, in 2004. Loretta was known as “Meemaw” to her beloved grandchildren, Ethan and Riley (her maiden name), as “Mom” to her sons and their wives, as “My Beautiful Bride,” to her husband, as “Sis” to her loving siblings, and as “friend” to the rest. But to the monster of a disease that tried so hard, unsuccessfully, to deplete her beautiful life, she is known as “Warrior.”
Mom, you fought hard while you were here, and we know that you are now helping us fight for the other MPD sufferers in the world.
Click here to make a donation in memory of Loretta Mae Sharp
Contributed by Jennifer Acker
These represent first person accounts of real people living with Essential Thrombocythemia, Polycythemia Vera and Myelofibrosis. It does not represent the views or opinions of anyone associated with the MPN Research Foundation. Please consult your doctor before taking any action to manage your health.