that's what ross' mother said of him in an article found on oregonlive.com. it was a very touching article that gives us a glimpse into the sort of person that ross was. please, read the article here. also, here is a video clip of the family talking about what happened.
the past two days have been quite emotional for me. it is strange to me how deeply this tragedy has affected me. you know, i hear about stories like this all the time on the news, but it is always so far removed from me. whenever i hear one of those stories, it is easy to just think, "that is so sad! i feel sorry for them," and then go on with my day.
but this one hit way too close to home!
since they are a family of all boys (they have one daughter, who is away at school), and we are a family of all girls, i don't interact with them a whole lot. mitch, however, is in the young men's and knows the boys well. i remember the first sunday that i saw them at church, they sat right behind us and i thought, "wow! that is a lot of boys!"
since then, the plaid, thrift store suit ross wore every sunday had become a fixture in our ward. i think that if people didn't know him by name, they definitely knew him by his suit! yesterday when talking with mitch, what little i was able to talk to him because he was at the coast all afternoon and evening, i was asking him about ross. "was he a good kid? he always had a smile on his face. every time i saw him, he was smiling!" and he was! though i didn't know him personally, he seemed to have a way of brightening the room and the people around him.
as a mother, this has been a lot harder on me and more emotional than i thought it would be. it just rips my heart out to think about the difficult days and months and years ahead for his family. we know that they will see him again, we believe that families are eternal, thank goodness for this knowledge, but it still doesn't take away all of the hurt of the here and now without ross. i can't imagine if it were one of our girls!
because i have been thinking about this all day, tonight, we had a little family home evening lesson on eternal families. we talked about ross and his family, and the blessings of being sealed for time and all eternity in the temple. i asked the girls if there was a song that they thought would be good to sing, and lala said, "temple!" (that's what we call i love to see the temple from the children's hymnbook). so, we sang the song together.
then mitch asked the girls, "do you know what ross was doing when he went into that water?"
and nani said, "he was sacrificing his life to try to help someone else. he didn't think about himself, just about the other boy." wow! i was floored, i couldn't have said it any better!
we talked about charity and the example that ross set as he ran out to save that boy, without a thought for his own safety! apparently, that is just who ross was. those who knew him well are not surprised that he did what he did!
i love what his mother said at the end of the article (referencing that his body had not yet been found),
"Ross is not his body. He was that personality. That smile. That suit."
it is still so unreal to me! i just ache for their family. i can't imagine what his brother's are going through! and the parent's!
love up your children every moment that you can! hug them, kiss them, enjoy them, tell them how much you love them! and make sure that they really know it!