By Jonathan Davis, Health Alliance
No doubt like many of us in the past few years, my family attended a funeral of a close friend not too long ago. And once again the mind of my 10-year-old surprised me and taught me something to remember.
As we sat down at this small intimate gathering of family and friends—some laughing, some crying, others sitting quietly in disbelief—my son sat quietly between my wife and I taking it all in. He sees one of his friends playing and giggling with her cousin on one side of the room. He sees close relatives comforting one another toward the front of the room. And he sees the open casket of a man he had known and loved for many years laying there too. As I prepare myself to answer any question he may ask, my son leans over and—gesturing toward the casket—says, “Dad, why isn’t he smiling?” Of all the things to notice, it was the lack of a smile that was missed most.
Friends, please remember to smile. Here we are at the beginning of a new year. New possibilities and new plans. Smile when you make eye contact with that stranger. Smile when you see a loved one. Smile when you speak with your doctor or care coordinator. Smile when you’re on the phone with a friend. Smile when it’s hard to smile. Because if a 10-year-old boy has learned to look for that reassuring smile, imagine how encouraged the rest of the world feels when they see yours.
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