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Sherry Young: Dear friend's loss of a child makes any self-pity vanish

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20 2013 4:50 p.m. MST

Now what do we do for our friends? We serve them. We attend the funeral, send flowers, write notes because we grieve also and this heals us as our friendship helps heal them.

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Life has a way of changing in an instant, taking us rolling along with its twists and turns. Our life can look like the dream we always had of what we wanted and in a moment bring us down to earth with a sudden crash.

My dentist delivered some bad news recently. One of my dinosaur of implants done back in prehistoric 1980 had failed and would need to be taken out.

As Dr. Sims was telling me all the options, I could hear the buzzing noise a wireless phone makes on silent mode coming from my purse. It buzzed to a stop then started up again, stopped, then started once more. After the series of buzzes finished, the click of texts started.

“What in the world was going on,” I wondered as I tried to focus on the choices and information being explained to me — words like, “Taking the implant out would be as painful as putting it in and there is no guarantee the new implant will take.” Just take a big breath kind of words.

Dr. Sims excused himself to check on other information, leaving me to sit back and wallow in some good-old self pity, the rotten-luck-why-me kind of stuff, when I remembered the phone.

Going to the dentist isn’t a crime, and you aren’t handcuffed to the chair, although that is usually how I feel. Planted there, thoughts such as, “If you had brushed more, if you had flossed more, if you hadn’t been born with soft teeth” tend to float through a mind. All the genre of silly excuses we use when we want to keep making ourselves feel miserable.

I climbed out of the chair and picked up the phone. I saw calls from three of my children and some texts, which was most unusual.

The calls and texts apprised me that our dear friend’s 31-year-old son had suffered a heart attack at work and died. He left a wife and four little children.

My self-pity vanished. In its place was a profound sadness for my friends. Life is after all perspective, and when we can put our cares and fears in the right place, we stay healthy.

A loss of a tooth is a trifle compared to the loss of a child.

On an emotional difficulty scale, I have always felt losing a child would be one of the harder emotional challenges to overcome. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the untimeliness of it is what fractures us.

William Shakespeare wrote, “Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
 Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
 Puts on his pretty look, repeats his words,
 Remembers me of his gracious parts,
 Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.”

Although it was 52 years ago, in my mind’s eye I can still picture Grit’s 92-year-old grandmother sobbing as she stood over his 57-year-old father’s casket. She kept repeating over and over, “Oh Rich, it should have been me, it should have been me.”

She was a granddaughter of Brigham Young, and would live a few more years. In her 95-year span, the son’s death was the hardest of them all.

Now what do we do for our friends? We serve them. We attend the funeral, send flowers, write notes because we grieve also, and this heals us as our friendship helps heal them.

We put one foot in front of the other and keep walking, keep hoping, keep praying and keep perspective. We let the waves of life roll out and jump them one at a time.

Email: sasy273@gmail.com

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