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Things That Never Come Back

September 13, 2011 - Michael Palmer
The death of 15-year-old sophomore Jimmy Cameron at Harrison Central brings back memories from high school. We had a classmate who died of Leukemia.

As I recall he had a rough way to go with lots of painful treatments and transfusions. Now that I look back on it with some perspective, as a parent and a grand parent, it has more impact.

I do not think many teenagers have a good grasp on the whole picture of life, however some do. While many of the high school tough guys were avoiding any circumstances where we might be shedding tears, there were some who genuinely mourned, now I would call them “old souls.” They understood what many of us did not, or preferred not to about the possibility of a short life.

I interviewed the Band Perry and asked them why a group of three young people riding a wave of popularity to fame in the Country Music world would write such a melancholy song. They gave me the impression that they were also, “old souls,” with wisdom and insight beyond their young age.

So why were we so calloused?

It do not think it was not because we were cold-hearted friends, I believe we were avoiding the issue. We drove too fast, made irrational decisions, acted like we were immortal. That would have been a hard act to keep up if we paused to reflect on our mortality.

I recall sitting in a class room and hearing about the year 2000 and thinking about it as if it were far and distant, wondering if I would ever make it into my 40’s to see all the wonders of the new age, flying cars and such. Looking back, I wonder how I ever made it this far.

Life is indeed fragile. Our co-worker Trish Graham gave us a reminder when she was so quickly taken from us.

Just this week, I came home and my two grandchildren met me, asking for a snack. I went and grabbed a brownie off the kitchen table and split it between them. Xander, just 13 months, began choking and turning red. He had prior to my arrival picked up a small yellow tab off a bread bag and placed it into his mouth. It was now between the prized brownie and his stomach, lodged in his throat.

I knew something was wrong and reached in with my pinky to dislodge whatever it was. He began gagging and it came loose, along with some brownie bits it fell out onto the floor, much to my relief.

The fear of losing a child is a constant when you have young children, because there are so many dangers. It really does not ease much as they get older, but I think we have to find ways to deal with it to prevent from going completely insane from constant worry.

My wife and I had a rude awakening one night when the sheriff’s office called the house and asked if we owned a car, which they had found upside down in a swamp. They informed us that they could not locate the driver, which was our 16 year old daughter.

You fear the worst and hope for the best. It turned out that they had just walked for help and both were uninjured, but what might have happened still haunts me.

I feel for the parents of Jimmy Cameron, and other parents who lose a child, no matter what age. I can only offer my condolences and sympathy, but I realize that nothing I can do or say will comfort them or help to ease their pain. There world was changed forever and so profoundly by the birth of their baby and now by the death of that same precious child.

This was a recent post on Facebook and it seemed appropriate:

Three Things That Never Come Back

There are three things in life that, once gone, never come back. They are

1. Time

2. Opportunity

3. Words

No matter how rich or clever we are, we can never move the clock back and regain time already past.

An opportunity lost will never come back in the same form. Of course we can either slump into regrets and self-hatred or try to gain solace by reasoning that this was not to be and an even better opportunity will come.

Words, which have left our mouth, can never be taken back. There is no magical “undo” button as on computer keyboards.

You don’t have to be a politician to know that promises made and not kept or angry words spoken without control cause hurtful feelings or resentment. You can apologize, make amends and blame it on others but rather often, once the wrong words have left our mouths and have been heard, the damage is done.

Therefore, I resolve we all enjoy each day, for it may be our last.

God Bless.


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