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April 27, 2009
Salem News

'There's no place like this place, any place'

To the editor:

It has been a year since my husband Bob's sudden death. While the difficult journey through grief is clear to anyone who has experienced a loss, the surprise to me has been how my blessings have become clearer through this experience.

My family has been overwhelmed with the immense support from this community. While one expects that their close friends will circle around them (and their dogs), the compassion shown by so many has been such a surprise and blessing. My best friends and husbands have been a constant in my life this year and have been a circle of support at all times. Their tireless love has touched me to the core.

But the people of this town who may only know my family through name or mere acquaintance have also sustained my family. Please know that every card, phone call, hug and prayer has been appreciated more than words can tell you. The donations that have been received for the concession stand for the high school has truly been a community project of love for my husband during a very difficult economic time. Your generosity has been heartfelt and humbling to my family.

We moved to Salem in 1987. Little did we know at that time what an impact this community would have on our family. We were accepted into this town like part of a large family and we grew to love the people here because of their kind and genuine ways.

We joined a church family at Salem First Christian where many close bonds were formed and our spiritual growth continued. This family has been a strong support, praying for the healing of my family and accepting our way of working through it.

The day Bob passed away, Dr. Matt Yerkey and Dr. Paul Shivers were at my home assuring me they would take care of all dental matters. They continued to call daily and make sure our patients were closely followed. They as well as the other dental practices have been a true compliment to the dental profession, giving so much of their time to cover our practice.

Then there was the immediate concern of the dental office. Dr. Kelly Roth arrived a week later to carry us through the next several months. She cried with us, smiled for us and worked in the office as if she was doing it for years. We were broken, but she started the long process of putting us back together.

Dr. Moody then arrived to assist with the selling of the office. This was a very painful experience for me because the dental practice was the heart of our life. The staff and patients were Bob's extended family. I do believe, in the end, we found the "right" guy. Dr. Gregory Iaderosa has been has been so compassionate, kind and thoughtful to not only me, but the staff and patients as well. He has been respectful of this difficult transition and understood that we were all fragile from the beginning. Together with Dr. Moody, the are working to maintain the high level of integrity and service that Smile Wright has always represented.

Bob always appreciated his staff and realized they were a huge piece of the puzzle to Smile Wright's success. However, the loyalty and love extended by Marcia, Julie, Fran, Tammy and Wendy has surpassed any expectations one could ever hope for. Their love shown toward Bob in the way they have carried on in a most difficult transition and stayed at my side. I call them my sisters, not my staff.

Then there is one who shines above all others, my Michelle. You were the first one I called that horrible morning because I knew you would take care of me. From the moment, you put the practice and me on your wings and have kept us all afloat through sheer unwavering love and dedication. The hours upon hours, meetings upon meetings, tears upon tears has made you not only our office leader, but our hero as well. How lucky are we to have you not only in our office, but in our lives as well.

Finally, the patients. I asked you for patience and you have given support. I asked for time and you have given of yourself. I have asked for loyalty and you have given love. Again, we knew you were special, but the blessing you have been in our lives has been made clearer.

I continue to work on personal notes to each and every person who has reached out to me. I am late with many but I am very sincere in my thanks to all of you in every capacity. Not a day goes by that I wake up thinking of Bob; but also not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the blessings of having such wonderful people around me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

As my dear friend, Rev. Jack Austin has always said, "There is no place like this place, any place." I know Bob is in heaven, with his beautiful smile, tipping his ball cap and saying "Amen."





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