Meet Julie Hays, KWTX News Anchor
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With a new school year comes children starting kindergarten, some driving themselves to school for the first time, and some heading off to college with their parents now empty nesters. The older I get, the more quickly time seems to pass. I got married at 27, started having babies at 30, and the last 11 years almost seem like they happened in months. I looked up and my newborns were walking, my toddlers were starting school, and my first kindergarten grad was marching into junior high. I am very familiar with the feeling of wanting time to stop. But, my perspective shifted when I developed a deep friendship with Lorna Hering, a local high school teacher who lost her son Rhett in a UTV accident in her driveway in 2015. He was only 15 years old.
She said something that made me pause, and I’ve never forgotten it. She expressed to me how much it frustrated her to hear parents almost complain how milestones were sad to experience, because Lorna would never have them again. I can’t say what it’s like to walk in Lorna’s shoes, but I can say that what she said to me that day changed my perspective forever. Time marches on, no matter what. It didn’t stop on December 28 when she lost her beloved middle child, but the memories she’d be able to make with Rhett did.
I always think of Rhett Hering when I feel sad about time. I may still cry, but those tears now tend to be tears of gratitude and thanksgiving that I was able to experience that moment with my child.
I did get to watch kindergarten graduation.
I did get to walk them into school for the start of 3rd grade.
I did get to wave from the car as my oldest left me behind for 6th grade.
I have learned so much from Lorna about life, loss and hope. She has taken her shattered heart and helped create two nonprofits, including The Rhett Revolution, to spread acts of kindness, and Archway of Hope, to assist those who have lost someone too soon. Lorna has taken the difficulty she has been through to give others perspective, including me. Because of Lorna, today I’m thankful for graduations, new school years, maturity, changes, and the greatest gift I have with my family now that is never promised – time.
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