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Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

Tragic accident puts thoughts of big game on hold

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The week started well enough, but as the days passed we were once again reminded of just how quick things can change.

The good news was the fact that today the Redskins and Cowboys will play a very important contest as far as the NFL goes. A lifelong fan of the Redskins, the rivalry with the Cowboys is one of those that make sports great.

The game, to be played later today, is for all the marbles in the NFC East. On Monday I began to look back on past games involving the two squads. Man, there have sure been some classics along the way and the storied rivalry is among the best in sports.

Every morning I woke up was another day closer to the matchup. I was excited to say the least. As anyone that truly knows me will tell you, I'm a diehard fan of the boys in burgundy, and I loathe the sight of anyone wearing the Cowboy blue.

However, on Wednesday afternoon my wife called and asked if I had talked to our son. A normal question she asks frequently, but this time her tone was just a bit different.

I told her I had talked to him a bit earlier.

Then, my wife told me the news involving the tragic accident that claimed the life of Taylor Stahlman.

All of a sudden, the game I had so looked forward to on Sunday really didn't matter anymore.

I knew that Adam and Taylor knew each other and had been spending time together during the holidays. I knew this because of seeing a picture of the two posted on Facebook. Man, it was a great picture taken just two days before the accident. They both were smiling as if they didn't have a care in the world.

As is normal for me to do, once I saw the picture I asked Adam in my usual cool daddy way of doing so ... what's up with that?

He smiled and said, "oh we're just friends but she's really nice and fun to be around."

Being honest, I think when our children tell us that 'we're just friends', in most cases there's a little more to it.

I began to try and remember Taylor. I remembered a homecoming photo in 2010 I had taken at DCHS during football season. Taylor was a senior maid that year.

Not to show any disrespect to any of the other young ladies in the picture, but when I looked at the photo on Friday, Taylor's smile was the prettiest one in the picture.

A beautiful, vibrant young lady that I have come to understand had an immediate impact on anyone she met. In a flash, at just 19 years old though, she was gone.

It's very sad that terrible things happen to even the best of people, but they do.

On Saturday afternoon at DCHS during visitation, I was amazed on one hand and in awe on the other at just how much Taylor was thought of by the people in this community.

There are no words that can comfort her family at a time like this. Though they will continue to live life, the loss is one they will deal with but never get over.

Life will go on, but it will never be the same for those closest to Taylor.

I know a little about losing someone close at a young age, but I never prepared myself to talk to my own child about losing someone close to him at his age.

It's a sad day, and one most will never forget, nor should we.

However, when bad things happen in this community, we bond together like brothers and sisters. It's one of the things I love the most about Dyer County. We will be there for the family, standing together when we are needed.

Today, I can only tell you to hug your children. Let them know that they are loved and talk to them about how quick things can change.

May you rest in peace Taylor Stahlman. May your smile in heaven help to dry the tears of the many people you touched during your short time on earth.

Your comments are welcome at msmith@stategazette.com

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