Some stories are worth the telling

Published 7:09 pm Friday, January 6, 2023

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Some years ago, I was walking away from a suspected crime scene.  A murder, perhaps.

I turned to Pike County Coroner Jerry Williams.

“I don’t know how you can do this,” I said. “How can you be so close to death so often.”

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I could not imagine what it would be like to have to get up in the night and go to a car accident where people were killed. To go to a home where a family member had died unexpectedly. To the site of a gruesome gunshot wound or a farm accident.

“How can you do it?” How can you be the person you are and be around so much grief, when people are so broken hearted?’

I have asked Jerry Williams that question more than once. And, his answer was that we are all called to a purpose. The role of coroner was his calling.

“But, how?”

How could he, Jerry Williams, be the person he is in the midst of so much loss, so much pain and suffering.

He said that one day, he would tell me the story of just when he knew that he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do with his life. “But, not until I retire,” he said, with a smile.

When I got the invitation to Jerry Williams’ retirement celebration, I picked up the phone. ‘It’s story time.”

Jerry shared with me the story as he had said it would. But, it’s Jerry Williams’ story to tell. Not mine.

But for the individuals, the families, the thousands who have been in Jerry Williams’ care in times of sorrow, anguish and unimaginable heartbreak, surely, there are no adequate words of appreciation for the kindnesses he has shown over the last 40 years. Those are the stories that will be long remembered, deeply appreciated and always worth the telling.