Sarah Stultz: Daughter’s lessons especially relevant today

Published 8:12 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2020

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Because of COVID-19, I haven’t been over to the splash pad much this summer.

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The last few years, it has been a nice place to go with my son on especially hot days to get some free entertainment, and some days I like to go over to the North Broadway parking lot, overlook the little park and watch other people enjoy the amenity.

As most of you know, the splash pad was built in memory of my daughter, Sophie, who died four years ago after a tragic crash while riding her bike at the intersection of Frank Hall Drive and Eighth Street here in Albert Lea. A group of other community members and myself had banded together to raise money for the project before her death, and it evolved after. Thanks to many of you, that project became a reality.

This week, as we remember the four-year anniversary of Sophie’s death, I was reminded of the lessons she taught us that are printed on the memorial in her honor at the entrance of the splash pad.

Sophie, to me, was a ray of light in a troubled world, and as we go through life, her light still shines as I read these simple, but easy, lessons she taught:

• It’s OK to laugh at yourself

• Be friends to everyone

• Stand up for what you believe

• Play hard

• Don’t be afraid to stand out

• Remember to smile

• Choose joy

Especially these last few months, I’ve come to realize that we overthink life and make it harder than it needs to be. It really is very simple.

Have fun, love your neighbor and be a force for good. It may never be more important to follow this advice learned from the example of this special 8-year-old.

To the parents of all others who have lost a child over the last year, my heart is with you. It is not an easy path that we have been thrown on, but remember, there are others in the community who have walked the same path.

While our heart sinks every time we see another child pass on, we stand ready to walk with you along your journey.

I know there are many who have helped me along my journey, so please let me know if I can help you with yours.


Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.