“Before I Forget to Say Thank You . . . .” column for Feb. 12, 2013


This is a long-overdue response to so many of you who have written recently at surprising length to say, well, all sorts of things.

I’ll begin with the thanks.

Thank you to the kind woman who sent me a handmade quilt (designed with Scottie dogs and titled “Bowser and Friends”) for my most recent grandchild.

And belated thanks, as well, to that same kind woman for three equally beautiful quilts she made for my three other equally beautiful grandchildren.

A special thanks to all of you who’ve written to tell me all about your grandchildren (who are clearly above average) and to welcome me to the club.

Thank you to the countless numbers of readers who have written to say that you sincerely hope I will write always and only about being a grandparent.

And thank you just as much to those of you who’ve said, that as much as you like reading about my grandchildren, you’d like on occasion to read about something else, anything at all.

I would love to grant both requests. Or one of them, at least. But believe it or not, I don’t, as a rule, get to choose what I write about. Truth is, it chooses me. I write about life and whatever comes along.

Like it or not — and believe me, I don’t always like it — I have little control over that.

Years ago, when my first husband was battling cancer, it seemed to me (and no doubt to some of you) that I all too often wrote about cancer.

It got so bad that, at times, I would have a little talk with myself. It went like this:

“You are sick and tired of writing about cancer. You don’t want to write about it. And nobody wants to read about it. So today you are not going to write about cancer. You are going to write about … dogs.”

Then I’d sit down to write a column about dogs, all the dogs I’d ever known, how much they had taught me and how very much they had meant to me. It would be a pretty good column at the start. But pretty soon, as the column progressed, the dogs would end up getting cancer.

Which not only defeated the purpose of writing about something different, but seemed a bit unfair to the dogs.

The point of that is to say this: If you try to write with honesty about what’s in your heart, you can run, but you can’t hide.

I run on occasion. But I’m not good at hiding. I just write about who I am. With any luck, I hope it’s about who you are, as well. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

More thanks.

To those who’ve written to say that you, too, have lost someone you loved, a loss that will never leave you, and yet you are trying, with the help of God, to move forward with your life.

Thank you for writing. I am sorry for your loss. And I am proud of you for honoring the memory of your loved one by choosing to be alive. May God bless you and grant you peace.

To the woman who wrote to say that reading about things I write about in my life has helped her somehow to deal with her own life — or to feel less alone or, at least, to laugh on occasion.

Thank you. Imagine that.

And to the man — quite a few of you, actually — who wrote to say you read my column in the bathroom behind a locked door so your wife won’t see you cry?

Thanks, buddy. Your secret is safe with me.

Finally, I want to say this: So many of you have written to tell me that you are convinced absolutely that this year, 2013, is going to be a great year.

Not just a pretty good year, but a truly great one.

I want to believe you.

OK, I do believe you.

What do you say?

Let’s believe it together.


  1. Rebecca Bishop says

    I never tired of reading about Coach Randall’s battle with cancer and I am glad that you still mention him because it’s only right that he continue to be a part of your life and ours. He was a good and caring teacher, after all, and a student’s appreciation lasts a lifetime. That can’t end with death. It was an honor to be allowed into the inner circle of your family during those difficult years. You never get morose when you write about sad times; you never lose your faith or sense of humor. As you continue forward, you take us with you, so that we, your readers, don’t feel weighed down. Your columns are a gift to us; thank you for sharing your life, the difficult parts, the joyful parts and all in between!

    Yours truly,

    • Sharon Randall says

      Thank you, Rebecca, for that absolutely lovely note! My birthday is tomorrow, and your kind words are a perfect gift!
      All the best to you and yours,

  2. Sharon,

    Can I please have your permission to simply copy this column word for word and put my name on it for my next column? 🙂 We all appreciate your many “thanks.” But the real “thanks” goes to you. Keep writing what finds you, and I’ll do my best to do the same.



  3. Susan Dudek says

    There are only a few writers that I look for with great anticipation. You are one of them. It has amazed me to read your stories because, oddly enough, they have often been so much like my own that I wonder how you could know my story so well. Last year when my mother died, you wrote about your mother-in-law’s passing, and it was almost the same. In less than 3 months from now, I will become a first time grandma, so all of your grandma articles have been read and relished. Keep the life stories coming. You speak for many.

  4. You write so often about your children, now as adults and when they were young. I discovered that my 35 year old Army Captain son continues to need me. He was wounded during a deployment in 2006 to Iraq. He was blessed that he wasn’t severely injured as so many were and continue to be, but his injury has caused him much pain over the past 6 years. After many doctors visits, steriod injections, physical therapy, constant pain meds. the doctors determined it was time to repair the damage done to his back. He called me in January and asked me if I would accompany him to Walter Reed Hospital for his surgery in February. He has a 15 month old son and his wife felt she could not leave the baby for an extended period of time. I didn’t hesitate, I said of course I would go with him and do whatever needed to be done. I returned home yesterday after spending a week with him in DC at the hospital and almost a week at his home. I felt so blessed to be asked to do this for him, the time together was precious. I saw him as a man, a soldier, a husband, a father, a brother but he’s still my son and continues to need me. Our children will always need us but as they mature and their lives change those needs change. It’s important that we’re available to say yes to those requests whenever possible.
    Continue to write about whatever is laid on your heart and I’ll always look forward to reading your work. Thank you for what you do.

    Sharlene Martin

    • Sharon Randall says

      I’m so glad you could spend that time with your son. I hope everyone who reads this will pray along with me for his healing. Thank you for writing, Sharlene. And please give my thanks to your son for his service. Bless you and your family.

  5. Five years ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I started blogging to let everyone know how he was doing and how to pray. Writing, was my therapy. This was around the same time I became an avid reader of your column.
    Stay true to yourself — it’s what we love most about the stories! Keep writing about your past experiences, those grandkids, your family; that God-forsaken city you live in, and whatever else your “big” heart desires! Remember — you can’t please everybody all the time. 🙂

  6. I love u Aunt Sharon, you never cease to amaze me….Wen

  7. Speak your Mind…….I wonder from time to time about the youngster you wrote about who found enjoyment in waiting for and watching the truck and personnel who picked up the trash on your street. I’ll bet he is still finding enjoyment in most places and during most times.


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