Letter to the Editor submitted to the Ortonville Independent and published on 2/23/16:
One of the greatest lessons in life is simply to show up.
When things are going well and those around you need a pat on the back and also when things aren’t going so well and they need a shoulder to cry on. But there are so many everyday things that are just as important to show up for. I don’t think anybody could argue that Ron Thomas, my father-in-law, showed up. He showed up to almost every ball game he could, regardless if it was the ROX or Trojans playing. He showed up to birthday parties despite how he was feeling or how long the drive. He showed up at the hospital when his first grandson decided to be born “a little” early. He showed up with Lynn when Jim and I went on a date night and needed somebody to watch the kids. He showed up at Grandparent’s Day at school. He showed up at his granddaughter’s dance recital. He showed up weekly to express his opinion on the radio (a sacrifice, I’m sure!). He showed up for board meetings and city council meetings and any other meeting that had any significance to him or his town. If it was the slightest bit important to him, he showed up. And I will always love and admire that about him.
But I write this letter to point out that when things with his health took a turn for the worse and he returned home on January 15 on hospice care, somebody else showed up: the entire community of Ortonville. I am not from Ortonville and honestly, don’t know all that many people who live here. But Ron was and did. He gave his heart and soul to this community and when he and his family needed it most, the community gave it right back, in spades.
I have NEVER in my entire life experienced anything like I have in the last month. People brought over meals every single day. We had so many baked goods, we could have stocked the grocery store for a week. So many people stopped by for a chat or just popped in to see if there was anything that we needed. If I had a dollar for each time I heard, “if you need anything at all, just let me know,” I would have a fat wallet, for sure. But even more amazing than just the offer, was the sincerity with which it was said. These people of Ortonville and the surrounding area showed up in such an amazing and heartfelt way.
We’ve said thank you as much as we could but it just doesn’t seem enough. If you showed your support in any way to the Ron Thomas family over the last month (and well, let’s face it…since even longer than that!), it was felt in a very deep way and means more than words can express. I said to Lynn, “you live in the best community on the planet!” and truly believe that. Until Ron’s passing, I didn’t really feel like I was part of this community probably because I wasn’t born here, raised here or ever lived here. But after such an amazing outpouring of kindness, support, and love, I’ve never felt more like I belong. I consider each of you part of my family.
In closing, take to heart this very important life lesson from Ron; no matter how busy you are or how stressed out you may be or how crappy you may feel, take the time to look around and show up. When all's said and done, THAT is what really matters. Again, thank you from his entire family.
With deepest regards,
Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.