Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - December 6, 2008

Dys column showed compassion

I read Andrew Dys' frequent human interest articles in The Herald; they are always written in a manner which evokes emotion, humor, community pride or concern for his current subject.

I am the father of Jeff Watson, subject of a recent column. We never imagined we would be reading about our son in one of his presentations.

Jeff's extended family sincerely appreciates Andrew's interest and the loving way he presented Jeff and his life's accomplishments in that article. Jeff, from his teen-age years, was always concerned with the well-being of others; since his death, neighbors have mentioned many small things he did, even if it was only to walk over and ask if help was needed if he saw a neighbor apparently struggling with some project.

Comments such as these, and the many words of comfort, support and prayers from those persons touched by Jeff's life have gone a long way toward helping us to accept and deal with the shock of this unexpected turn of events. Andrew's article only caps off those comforts, seeing in print a portion of the types of comments we have been hearing from many, many people.

As human beings with loving feelings, we all try to comfort the survivors. We who have lost parents or siblings can feel what others who have also lost those close relations are experiencing, and our words of comfort to them can be honest, true and understanding.

However, the loss of a child generates feelings that would be impossible to explain or for others to comprehend unless they have experienced that loss.

I presume that Lisa or Pastor Larry told Andrew of the passing of 6-week-old Eva Totherow on the Friday night before Jeff died; Jeff and his wife, Lisa, were very good friends with little Eva's parents, and they left our home that Friday night to go directly to the hospital as soon as they received the message to support her parents, and were at the hospital with them past midnight.

This they did even though they were scheduled to leave that Saturday morning early to get the band to Orangeburg for the state finals competition. Jeff did not get a lot of rest, but seemed to be more energized by his activities and accomplishments.

I know I am running on and on, but I am very proud of Jeff, and it is hard to stop once started. The roller coaster of emotions, I guess, creates the feeling of a need to share with people who care.

In fact, when I returned to work yesterday, the many expressions of caring I received from my fellow workers touched me greatly. By mid-day, I was looking to express my appreciation for their outpouring of support, and decided the only way to do that to all was to send a company-wide e-mail of my thanks toward them.

When that message was started, and deleted and started over several times, my emotions again pushed me to make that message more than just a simple thank you. I had to end it with the feelings of concern that Jeff's death had created in me; I asked that they all re-examine their relationships with their children, regardless of age, and assure that all is well, as we do not know what tomorrow may bring.

If that message causes just one parent to re-establish broken communications with a son or daughter, that will just be another feather added to the many already in Jeff's cap.

Again, thanks to Andrew for caring that a good man received the recognition he so grandly deserved.

Pete Watson

Rock Hill