We lost Dad, we eight, in 2011; our beloved Mother, in 2015. They were 87, and 90, respectively, at the time they left us.
The other day, I read yet another tragic story of family abuse, of a father who abused his wife in front of their children.
Today, I want to say a very special and specific thank you for having been raised by a loving Dad, who never failed to show respect and love to his wife, our Mother, in front of us. Their love was constant, sprinkled with wonderful humor, cemented in respect and faith.
Our Mother was singularly devoted to Dad, and we grew in strength and faith through her example when he passed.
Thank you, Dad; thank you, Mother. We all know you are together again. We miss you, here, on Earth.
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
For those of you who take no special joy, or pleasure, in the world of sports, this gratitude to you may seem shallow. For me, however, one who finds much microcosm comparison in sports to life, I’m always thankful when we have sports figures who rise to lead by example and strength of character.
In that light, I’m thankful to have had the privilege to participate, at whatever distance, in the lives of two great sports figures, Muhammad Ali, three-time heavyweight boxing champion, and LeBron James, basketball player extraordinaire. The two topped June news lines in 2016 and reopened conversations about “greatness in sports”, “giving back”, “being role models”, and numerous other thoughts on life.
Both achieved greatness in their chosen careers, both gave back extraordinarily, both suffered setbacks of enormous challenges, both persevered. Both have spoken volumes to us on living life the right way.
Since attacked by Parkinson’s Disease in 1984, Ali fought on, bringing awareness to that disease, as well as continuing to fight the disease of racism. He has found his deserved final rest.
After feeling two years of pressure cooker anticipation in the city of Cleveland, James has reached the top of the mountain he promised Cleveland he would climb with them upon his return to that city. He and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the city’s first ever NBA championship.
I’m grateful, as a normal human being, to have lived in their time and to have witnessed their individual greatness in the sports arena and in the sport of life.
It’s a kick to write sports stories, as well, for sportsmen truly have all the life experiences necessary to breed great tales!
Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg