Whitesburg KY
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Mostly cloudy

Comforting words, deeds mean much

When we sat down with funeral director Robbie Campbell the day after Tom Gish died last month after publishing The Mountain Eagle for nearly 52 years, he told us this: “You’ve never been to a funeral until you’ve sat in the front row.” Truer words were never spoken.

The past month has taught us much about the good people of Letcher County and Mountain Eagle readers everywhere. We know that Tom would have been tickled – and probably a bit surprised – at all the nice things so many people have said about him over these past few weeks. And we want our readers to know how much it has meant to our family.

We continue to be comforted by generous expressions of support from friends and neighbors both near and far. We admit that we had not realized just how necessary it is to hear from friends in times of such grief. We have taken that lesson to heart, and we urge our readers to do the same.

The next time you know that a family has lost a loved one, let them know that you care. Visit them if you can, even if only for a little while. Shake some hands, give some hugs, and share some stories. Maybe you could deliver a favorite cake or casserole to the family, for whom feeding themselves will certainly be the last thing on their minds. Or just make a phone call, or send a card or even an e-mail. A simple “hello” in the store or a nod on the street might mean much more than you know. It all adds up.

We still are utterly sad about Tom’s death. Christmas was his favorite time of the year, so this week will surely not be easy for us. We imagine that every future holiday will be tinged with sadness for our family, as it is for countless others. Tom’s passing has left us with a big hole in our hearts, and with even bigger shoes to fill. But we will make it through, because we must.

A more detailed “Card of Thanks” appears on Page 14 in this week’s Eagle, but on this page we want to share with you some of Tom’s comments from Christmases past. We hope his words will mean as much to you as they have to us. We also hope that you will have a fine holiday, and a healthy and prosperous new year.

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