Imagine a Life Without [Your Loved One]

This isn’t your typical, seasonal message to our guests that offers special thanks for the favor of your business. This is a note that I never imagined I would write. If I’m being honest, it was not my intention to be posting this piece. Up until today, when we were planning on sending out our newsletter, I had drafted another piece that we felt would be of interest. However, instead of sharing information about some common exercises that you were likely doing wrong. I find myself overwhelmed with emotions that warrant sharing at a time when we are all open to listening, acceptance and giving.

This past Thursday, a close family friend of mine and of The Boston Bodyworker, was suddenly taken from her beautiful family at the tender age of 36. At a routine half marathon in Newton the previous Sunday, she suffered a heart attack at mile 5. Laura was one of the fittest people I knew. She had run multiple marathons, countless 5K and half’s, previously. This race was more of a “fun run” than anything else. There were no indications that her health was in jeopardy. No pre-existing conditions. Nothing. As a matter of fact, she was the poster child for wellness. Her extraordinary level of health was only outdone by her kindness, beauty and intelligence. She leaves behind a loving husband and two incredibly talented and kind little girls. The parallels that our families share are eerie. Our wives, at different times, grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Syracuse. Kevin and I, at different times, grew up north of Boston and lost our moms to Multiple Sclerosis within a year of each other. We met through our girls, who attend the same elementary school, dance classes and softball leagues and we live just steps from each other. So, upon hearing this news, the question that pops into any rationale person’s head is, why? Why her? Why them? Why now? Why not us? Why this family and not ours?

So after several days of contemplation and sadness, I chose to use my resources to reach out to an audience of others like me, like Laura, like YOU, who strive for wellness, but blossom from the joy they receive by helping and being kind to others. Like so many of you, she ran for charity. Her greatest joy was helping others and teaching her girls what it means to be kind to all through actions, not just words.

Over the past several days, I have seen a community rally behind a family that is dealing with a loss too large for any of us to ever quantify. In the months and years to follow, they will need continued support. The old adage, it takes a village is fitting. We are fortunate to be residents of Newton, which is home to 13 of them. They will need support from all of them and many more. The father’s priority, of course is to the welfare of his girls. He is an amazing, kind and charismatic man in his own right and will rise to the occasion and do whatever it takes to continue to instill upon them the values they have learned. However, he is also a proud man who will never ask for anything, so, as I know he would do for me, I am reaching out as far as my network can reach to ask for the help we all would welcome, but never ask for.

This Thanksgiving, as you look around your table and share the smiles, laughter and pure joys of family, give thanks for what you have. Cherish the fragility of life and how quickly it can be taken from us. Embrace the love that surrounds you and remind one another that THIS holiday above all others is the truest of all holidays. A holiday that regardless of race, creed, color, sexual orientation or religious belief, each and every one of us celebrate. There is no pressure of buying the right gift. There is no pressure to dress your family for the community to see. This is a singular holiday, shared privately in the comfort of the cradle of home, yet simultaneously up and down our streets and neighborhoods.

Laura’s sister has established an educational fund for the girls through a GoFundMe page. Ideally, they would prefer to do a direct share to a 529 plan, but such means do not exist yet for this to be done at the level of ease that would be best to garner the most support. This family is NOT a charity case. Those of us with children or those of us who have had to repay student loans can appreciate the financial weight of a college education. The money raised will be moved directly into a 529 for the girls. This world needs more families like them and this is the best way we can support them through such a terrible time.

I am respectfully asking that you take a moment to give thanks for what you have by helping this family. Think for a brief moment what your life would be like if your loved one was ripped from you. It’s easier to justify loss when someone’s health has been poor or they have been stricken with a horrible disease. This woman was the poster child of health. There is no rhyme or reason for her sudden departure from her family.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading this and supporting this family. I pass along well wishes to all of you this season. I thank you for your support and allowing me this platform to share with you.

May love shine upon all of your families.

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