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Words which mean more than you think they do at the time


We've all seen it. Words are spoken, which don't seem that momentous at the time. Then fate steps in, things change in a way we never could have imagined, and now the same words have taken on a powerful new meaning.

Sheri was so exasperated after talking to her Mom. Ethel was planning to go to Orlando, Florida with us on a family trip but had just bailed out. Sheri got off the phone and told me what her mother had said.

"Mom's afraid she'll run into Dad (Hank, who lived in Jacksonville, Florida). What is it going to take to get my parents to grow up!!" Hank was Sheri's father and he and Ethel had divorced when Sheri was sixteen. When Sheri spoke these words, she was venting her frustration and the question was meant to be rhetorical, of course.

Months later, I'm at my daughter Shanti's house, where the whole family is gathered for Sheri's memorial service, to be held later in the day. Ethel and Hank are sitting, together, at a folding table and calmly eating breakfast.

As I stand looking at the two of them, acting like grown-ups, I recall Sheri's words after getting off the phone with her mother and, like a shock wave, it hits me. Now we know what it took. It was a high price indeed.

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