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Remembering the Benoits

Benoit01 The murder-suicide of the Benoit family has truly sickened me. The details are bizarre as indicated by law enforcement. We are left to wonder why. What could have been going through Chris Benoit's mind? It's all just too horrible to contemplate.

I must admit that my sympathy may be different from most who know of the wrestling reputation of Chris Benoit. I had no idea who he was when I heard the news of the family's bodies being found. I am not a fan of wrestling. I mean, I like a couple of the wrestlers such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johsnon and that Austin guy. I don't know who most of the wrestlers are because wrestling has become too much of a production.

I'm old school. My favorite wrestlers are Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. That was "real" wrestling to me. Well, you know what I mean. Then it became lights, cameras and a lot of crap. Too much showboating, artificial smoke and music turned me off.

Anyhoo, my heart goes out to the Benoits, not because of Chris Benoit's wrestling fame but because they are people. No one should have endured the horror that must have encapsulated that home. May God have mercy on their souls. Ashe'.

Daddy's Day

J0409157 Today is the day we celebrate fathers in the United States. I am blessed to still have my father with me. He has shaped who I am today and is a mentor to many adults who were once his students, in some capacity, during his career as an educator.

My dad --- he says we only have one Father and he's in heaven --- is not a touchy feely guy. He is a provider. Over the years he has done so not only for the immediate family but for his sisters, brothers and other relatives.

I have never been without food, clothing and shelter. Many of my life decisions have been made because I knew that my Dad would always be there for me. It is likely that I have never remarried because I have yet to meet someone like my Dad. I thought I did when I married but that would prove not to be so.

Good or bad, I've only seen my Dad cry once and that was at my daughter's funeral. As the older offspring, I've taken on that same 'suck it up and don't cry' mentality. My daughter was only person I've seen make my Dad melt. She would hug and kiss him and he'd smile.

When my ex-husband did not live up to his responsibilities, my Dad was there for my daughter and me. He's always been my rock. As my Dad ages and has his health issues, I have to accept that he may not be with us one day. In the meantime, I have learned to cherish each day with my Dad; he is the first man I ever loved.

Happy Father's Day!

Mother Hangs Self and 4 Children; One Child Survives

What must that young mother in Texas have been thinking to hang her four beautiful daughters and herself? Such tragedy causes me to wonder what goes through the minds of many people that we pass in our neighborhoods or at our jobs each day.

Miraculously, the youngest of the girls, 8-month old Evelyn, survived. I pray for a life for her that is filled with peace, love and joy. Let us use our time on Earth to do good and help others; that does not mean that we should not protest but that our actions are always done out of love.

May God have mercy on their souls. Ashe'

Hangings stun women's shelter where woman stayed

World HIV/AIDs Day, December 1

Throughout the world, over 40 million people are living with one of the most deadly diseases --- HIV and AIDS. It is likely that you know someone who has contracted the virus or who has already died from it. Because of the stigma of AIDS, one of my cousins, passed away several years ago in loneliness and isolation from our family. Without giving us an opportunity to say a loving good-bye to him, his mother selfishly had him buried far away from us. No one else, not even his father, knew what happened to him. It is a pain that I still carry and anger that I have yet to overcome with her. Not only did my cousin die a horrible death, he was also ashamed to disclose his homosexuality to the family. While I cannot fully understand how he must have felt, it was just another stupid attempt to conceal the obvious. I so want to say to him, "Hello cousin, tell us something we don’t already know." I would have hugged him and told him that we love all of him even if we don’t agree with his lifestyle. I just can’t imagine the pain and loneliness he must have endured. It was all so unnecessary. I know that my cousin probably wanted to save himself from the attempts to “straighten” him out. You know, he was definitely right about that. His choice would have wrought the same lectures heaped upon the “wayward” relatives whose chose to “live in sin” without the benefit of marriage. I love my family but some of their actions are as predictable as sunrise. All things considered, my cousin forgot how our family always has each other’s back. He forgot that we don’t always agree but we’re always family. What is more ironic is that he could have learned that he was not alone; there are other members of the family that are homosexual. What a sad end to a promising life. Don’t let HIV/AIDS break up your family and remember that no ever has to be alone. I love you, cousin. © 2005 VANESSA BYERS

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