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Sad news in the Ohio Valley

May 11, 2010 - Betsy Bethel

On the heels of a St. Clairsville boy's death last week, two more sets of local parents will have to bury children this week. The latest two incidents of children losing their lives on Mother's Day were horrific, unthinkable.

To the parents of 23-month-old Savannah, I am so sorry for your loss. No words can convey my sympathy or do justice to the precious life that was lost amid the smoke and flames. To older sister Elizabeth, 12, you are a hero for trying to save your sister. You will always ache for her and what might have been, but know that you did your best and be grateful you are alive! To the 4-year-old sibling who admitted to starting the fire, know that you are precious, too, and you are loved. I pray that resources in Jefferson County will be made available to this family that is reeling in a hurricane of emotions. I pray each member gets the help he or she needs to make it through this difficult time.

To the family of the 17-year-old girl who lost her life in rural Wetzel County, you are in my thoughts and prayers. A senior in high school, Ariel was on the cusp of commencement, ready to launch her adult life. Police report that the 54-year-old driver of the truck in which Ariel was riding allegedly was high on alcohol, Xanax and hydrocodone when the crash occurred. Her premature death sounds a warning to us all, especially as graduation season begins. Drugs kill. Alcohol abuse destroys lives, families. Mix the two, and hop behind the wheel, and you not only might be committing suicide, you also could end up murdering a friend, family member or innocent stranger.

To all of us, I hope we learn to embrace and treasure every moment with our children, while still allowing them enough air and sunlight to blossom and flourish. It can take a lifetime to achieve this delicate balance, and we all will falter on the way. Stick out your arms, steady yourself, chin up, eyes straight. Put one foot in front of the other, and teach your children to do the same. Eventually, God willing, you'll be doing cartwheels and back handsprings together.





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