Letter: Humbled by strength of those suffering the most

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

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Humbled by strength of those suffering the most

To the Editor:

I have been blessed to know mentally and physically strong men throughout my life. My father, uncles, scoutmasters, male teachers, community leaders, coaches, several of the 17-0 World Champion Miami Dolphins, and even Derby’s Bob Skoronski, a member of the first Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.

Many provided me with sage advice and examples I use every day. And during college I became acquainted with the poem "IF" by Rudyard Kipling which I read each night before I studied for a test or got ready for a sporting event along with a prayer or two to St. Mary. I hope you will take the time to print a copy of the poem and keep it on the fridge door for all to enjoy.

However, in the past two weeks I believe I truly met the two strongest men in the world. In a way I was luckier than the fan who caught two home run balls in one inning in Boston. But the reality is that I witnessed their strength at what was a very difficult time in their lives, not just having to decide whether to drop a beer or hot dog to catch a ball.

Over the last two weeks I attended the ceremonies of two 17-year-old young men who recently passed. The young men did not know each other, they were diverse physically and mentally, and their families had no direct connection that I am aware of. At both ceremonies, which were in separate towns and settings, a grave site at St. Peters Cemetery and Shelton High’s Finn Stadium to be exact, I was surprised to be sorrowfully greeted by persons I had only met briefly at the first venue in Derby as I stood on the fence line at the stadium.

At each of the ceremonies the fathers took the mantle of speaking for their families. They spoke when really nothing had to be said, we all knew we were present in support of the family and friends who were devastated by the loss of two very much-loved young men. I witnessed, as did so many others, as these fathers spoke graciously and thankfully for having a child who had positively impacted family, friends, neighbors and others even though they lived for only a fraction of a normal lifetime.

The silence at both venues made their measured words even more meaningful. They were quick to recognize the loss was scarring and that each young man would be sorrowfully missed. Those who knew the young men understood how demanding that would be on the close family members, schoolmates and friends. Each of them spoke eloquently and with a vibrant compassion while the pain in their bodies and sole was easy to detect when loved ones nearby sobbed and cried.

These men stood tall and spoke of their sons wonderful hopes and dreams, accomplishments and the joyful parts of their sons lives. They found the strength, for which there is no device to gauge, to literally lift and support each person whom came to mourn at one of life's most terrible consequences, that of a parent loosing a child.

They transformed the mindset and emotions of many to realize that the love that transcended from these passings was making a terrible situation more bearable for all concerned. They each gave thanks for the out pouring of love and made it very clear that they loved all who were supporting them.

We can all recognize the strength of an Olympic weight lifter, but it is the inner strength these men showed, without reflecting on the tragedy that took the lives of their sons that was so awe inspiring. The strength from within will always win over any adversity. I hope each of you will pray for those you have lost in the past and the families who I spoke of above. I thank these fathers for showing me the true meaning of being a leader by showing they love and will make every effort to continue living when giving up would be so easy and understandable.

Emotional fortitude is something we must teach every child at home and have it emboldened in our schools, they need to be able to make choices which are about caring for and doing for others.

Anthony F. Simonetti

First Ward Alderman