Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for July 8th, 2011

Discussing Two Deaths: Betty Ford and Shannon Stone

with 4 comments

Tonight, I mourn.

In baseball, a 39 year old fan, Shannon Stone, passed away at a Texas Rangers game after he fell over a railing trying to grab a ball flipped to him by Rangers OF Josh Hamilton in order to give to his six year old son, Cooper Stone.  Conor Jackson of the A’s had just hit a foul ball, and Hamilton had flipped the ball into the crowd.  However, the toss was a bit short, and Stone fell, head first, twenty feet to the ground. 

I have no words for this, but the closest I can come to my feelings have already been expressed by sports columnist Greg Couch here:

I don’t even know what to say. I can’t stomach this. It makes me want to call my dad, hug my son. This is the prototypical father-son moment in this country, and it ended with Stone falling over the railing.

But what was even worse was what happened next:

They put (Stone) on a stretcher and, according to A’s pitcher Brad Ziegler who saw it all, Stone was telling the paramedics “Please, someone please get my son. Please check on my son. He’s up there all by himself.”

Ziegler, on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show in the morning, said, “One of the paramedics was right there, said, ‘Sir, we’ll get your son. Your son’s going to be OK. Don’t worry about your son.’ ”

A few minutes later in the ambulance, Stone died.

This reminds me ever so much of my husband Michael’s last few conscious minutes (after the first heart attack, he fell into a coma before we ever got to the hospital, and he died ten hours later).  Michael’s words were for me — the person he cared about the most in the world.  While Stone’s words were for his six-year-old son — one of the people he cared the most about.  In the world.

Stone was only 39.  He was a firefighter for 18 years, one of mankind’s unsung heroes.  He is survived by his thirty-six year old wife Jenny, his mother, Suzann, and of course his young son.  He will be greatly missed. 

Compared to that, the passing of former First Lady Betty Ford at age 93 was both more somber and more understandable.  Ford’s life was remarkable; she crusaded for the Equal Rights Amendment (and yes, she was a Republican).  She was a feminist who believed that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare (in Hillary R. Clinton’s famous words).  Ford was relentlessly honest about herself, from her breast cancer to her issues with substance abuse, and she helped to found the Betty Ford Center (which later spread into more than one, helping numerous people overcome substance abuse addiction).  And she was a very good wife who loved her husband, very much, something I empathize with a great deal.

Betty Ford was 93.  She lived a life filled with great, and public, meaning.   Many are left behind to honor her memory in and out of her family, and she, too, will be greatly missed.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm