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Kevin Henry was formerly the group editorial director for Advanstar Dental Media and has more than 15 years of experience in the dental publications field. You can follow him on Twitter (@kgh23).
There are times in life when you realize the things that you think are so earth-shattering and important really aren’t and moments that truly put your life into perspective. This morning was one of those mornings for me.
Doing some errands and enjoying a sunny day, I popped on Facebook to get caught up with the events of my friends and colleagues. A food shot here. A check-in there. Life was normal on a Saturday morning until a post from my dear friend Lisa Marie Spradley stopped me cold in my tracks as I read her announcement that her daughter, Elaina, had been killed in an accident earlier that morning. A smiling picture of a young bride (seen above) accompanied the post. Honestly, I had to read it twice to make sure my eyes hadn’t deceived me. I hoped I had read that wrong, but I hadn’t. My heart broke for my friend and I wished that the miles between the Pacific Northwest and Mississippi were much fewer so I could wrap my arms around her and give her a hug.
To give you an idea of what kind of quality person Lisa Marie is, in the same post where she told the world her daughter had passed away, she asked people to be praying for the others involved in the accident. I can’t imagine the strength it took to type those words or be thinking of others at a time when your world had completely changed in an instant â¦ but that’s Lisa Marie. She is one of those people in the industry who always has a smile on her face and a kind word to say. I have been honored to work with her through the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) over the years and have seen her grow her business and her reputation in the industry. She’s worked hard to become a fellow in AADOM. I’m very proud to call her a friend.
In September, I saw her at the AADOM annual meeting and asked her to be a member of the editorial advisory board for Dental Products Report and Dental Practice Management. I asked her as a friend, but also because I admire her work ethic and knowledge of the dental practice and how the relationship between the office manager and the dentist should work in an ideal setting. I’ll never forget the look of shock and joy that came over her face when I asked her to join the board. She gave me that smile and with her typical Southern charm said, “I’d be honored.”
I’m not sure if she knew it or not, but, no Lisa Marie, I am the one who was honored that you would join the board.
Six months later, I sit here and type this with a heavy heart as I think of my friend. I can’t imagine what her family is going through at this time. As a dad, I can’t fathom a world without my daughter in it. It’s a thought that puts a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat.
Many of you may not know Lisa Marie, but I know the dental industry is like a small town that rallies around those who are hurting. If you believe in a higher power, I would ask you hold Lisa Marie and her family in your prayers. If you don’t, send her thoughts of love and encouragement to help her and her family through this darkest of hours.
If you’re a parent, take a few moments to give your child a hug or tell him or her how much he or she means to you. Life can change in an instant. That fact was reinforced to me this morning.
God bless you and your family, Lisa Marie. I have a bear hug waiting for you the next time our paths cross.