Today is a sad day for our family. My father, William Reese Guillebeau, would have turned 80. He never was much for celebrations, so a typical birthday was phone calls and long-distance gifts from his girls and maybe dinner out with his wife. This year, though, I imagine my siblings and I would have planned something special and come in from our various locations for his big milestone. (My sister, Julie, planned a terrific gathering for his 60th at the historic family home, the Guillebeau House at Hickory Knob State Park in South Carolina.) Tragiclly, Dad died on April 10 of carbon monoxide poisoning, so there will be no celebration this year.

I’ve heard people say that the “year of firsts” (first birthday, first Christmas, etc.) is the hardest. After that, the pain does not go away, but recedes into your memories of the deceased where you can occasionally visit and reminisce. Over time, the visits are supposed to bring more smiles than tears. I sure hope that is true.

Dad was always willing to help in life and that didn’t change in death. He has helped more people than we can possibly know. We all started sharing his story and making sure our family and friends have working carbon monoxide detectors. I can’t possibly remember how many people have told me they added detectors in their homes or checked to ensure the ones they had are operational after finding out about Dad. Through the power of his story, I feel certain that thousands of people have been reached. That is the one shining light to come out of this senseless death.

I’m linking the original blog post, Tragedy and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide, with the hope that we can reach even more people. Please, please, please share this with your friends and family. Put it on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media outlet to help reach as many folks as possible. Call your family and friends and ask them about their detectors. Do anything to keep someone else from walking into the tragic chaos that I did this spring.

Thank you for sharing.