Throughout the year our readers saw stories of endless love that told how the goodness of life trumped adversity.
We also saw stories of human compassion when a loved one unexpectedly died because of a tragic accident.
Life, as we know it, is very fragile. One moment it can be great, the next moment something goes wrong and plunges us headlong into an abyss where there is no quick recovery... just struggles.
Losing a loved one — whether from an accident or old age or even a relationship — tests our mettle. Perhaps time does heal mistakes and wounds and how a person strives to be better. Human frailties depend on understanding and forgiveness because losing a mate is like a death. Forgiveness makes people stronger. Many ask for a second chance because life should not turn into one of crumbled dreams and hopes dashed because of a number of excuses.
Human emotions develop as real outpourings of concern to embrace this spirit of love. We also discover which friends stay to help when cancer or leukemia invades our bodies.
Shelly and Sam Hubbard, whom I have both known for nearly 30 years, embody this spirit of true love.
In a Valentine’s Day story, readers learned how Sam cared for Shelly as she faced the longest odds in her life: To defeat leukemia and have a successful bone marrow transplant to save her life. He stayed by her side day and night whether they were at home in Fallon, at Renown Medical Center in Reno or at the University of California Medical Center.
Christmas came early for the Hubbards as Sam wrote on Facebook:
“We had an appointment with Shelly’s oncologist. He went over the results from the bone marrow biopsy that she had weeks ago. He kept repeating the words ‘perfect’ and ‘normal’ as he showed us the lab results.
‘You have no more leukemia or MDS and your blood cells are all perfectly sized. Your transplant is doing what it was supposed to do because your blood is now that of a boy.’
We looked at him incredulously.
It was so nice to get great news at the doctor’s office for a change.”
Earlier in the year, though tragedy struck two Fallon families.
Rachel Hendrix, a beautiful young lady of 18, died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning that seeped into the living accommodations of the horse trailer. Rachel, a top female cowgirl in Nevada high school rodeo, was attending Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
Annette Hendrix showed me the cellphone screen where she received Rachel’s last text message a day before she died. As Annette began reading the text, tears trickled down her cheek. Clay Hendrix arose, walked over to a table and returned with newspaper clippings written about Rachel’s rodeo seasons. He then spread out the articles, which were given to him at a school board meeting by fellow trustees, on a coffee table.
“It’s coincidental I received these ... articles about my daughter during the last two meetings,” Clay Hendrix said, standing almost motionless. “Now, we’re all going through a transitional period.”
But the love from family and friends kept the family together during those dark day, yet Clay told me every day is still difficult.
Less than two months later, another former Nevada high school rodeo cowboy and current competitor in the Ranch Hand Rodeo Circuit, died in an automobile accident on U.S. Highway 50. Justin Edgemon left behind a wife, Janell, and a child from a previous marriage. At the time of his accident, they were expecting a child of their own. Before they met, though, their courtship had a look of Medieval England in rustic central Nevada.
From our story … “Justin showed a grasp of various subject, a trait that further attracted Janell to her newly discovered Prince Charming.
‘Guess you could say from the moment I met him, I was hooked, and we were literally inseparable after that,’ she explained.”
James “Shag” Cooper also perished in an accident when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed near Virginia City
His daughters grieved for days after the accident, knowing their father would not return.
But what followed next was the outpouring of love and respect from those who knew Shag, a man with two personas. One, he was a fun-loving man in his late 60s who rode motorcycles and had a good time. The other side showed compassion, a trait that both family and friends already knew.
During Shag’s funeral service, mourners crowded into the Smith Family Funeral Home chapel while others in the back stood. Bridgett and her sister, Pam, were shocked.
“We thought nobody really cared or gave a damn, but were we surprised,” Pam said of the packed service.
What they conveyed, however, was the gentle side of a man who was very devoted to his children and grandchildren, and before that his wife of 45 years before she died.
They, like others, saw how love gave them strength during and after adversity.
Steve Ranson is editor of the LVN. He may be reached at email@example.com.