Dear Family of Stuart Scott,
Thank you! Thank you for sharing your son, ex-husband, father, boyfriend and brother with us. I could tell you all the positives I know about him, but you already know those attributes, after all, you knew him personally. I might have lived with him in my house nightly, but you saw him daily. You had him at your side every minute of every day. So really, I don't need to tell you what you already know. Rather, I just feel you need to hear an average Joe thank you for your selfless sharing of the man you knew and loved. Or is it know and loved?
I'd also like to ask a few questions, ones that you have no answer for...at least not one for me. But, there really isn't one you need to offer to me. Actually, these are questions that I have found myself reflecting upon as I look at my own mortality. I had to ask myself these questions once before as I began my battle against cancer. In light of Stuart's passing, I've found the questions resurfacing. Please know, these are from the heart and are meant for nothing more than reliving the joys and triumphs of the life you lived with Stuart.
First, what a roller coaster life you live! What was that like? Seeing him graduate from high school, and then North Carolina, you couldn't have been more proud. What was it like seeing him move south to Florida to work his first gig reporting the news? Did you miss him? Were you able to see many of his reports? Better yet, were you able to take a little vacation yourselves, mom and dad, to sunny Florida to spend time with you son? What kind of a celebration did you have with him when he was offered a position at ESPN?
Former Mrs. Scott and now current life partner, what was it like sharing your husband/other with the world? Was your house always on some sort of sport? How often were you able to enjoy a work trip with him? What was your favorite city to visit? Hearing all the stories of his passion for family, I'm sure he helped around the house, took you to dinner frequently (or even cooked a meal or two during the week) and probably watched your favorite movie with you every so often.
Taelor and Sydni, I'm sure you knew how much your dad loved you. He spoke of it often to his peers, and I'm sure he told you every night. Heck, he even told the world during his ESPY's speech, including hugging you, Syndi, on live TV! Yet, I'm sure you find yourselves asking, "Now what?" and "When will I wake up from this nightmare?" Sure, you certainly had your disagreements on when homework should be done, which friend you could have spend the night, or even which boy you could go out on a date with. Rest assured, as a father to you, he was doing it out of a love that only fathers know. It is that love, that fathers love, that you will hopefully one day understand how deep and unspeakable of a love it was.
Lastly, to Stuarts siblings, how many fights did y'all get in growing up? How much mischief did he cause that somehow got you into trouble? Did he ever blame you for being mom and dads favorite, or was it the other way around - him being the favorite? What about the times you picked on him just because you could?
I say all this to simply say, I can't imagine what you are going through. However, I do know the emotions of cancer. I do know some of the thoughts Stuart had during his battle with cancer. I have faced the prospects of death in my battle with cancer. I struggle daily in accepting my diagnosis despite being in remission for two plus years. I know my cancer can, and probably will return at some point in the future. When faced with death, I asked myself if my kids, my wife, my parents and my brother knew how much I loved them? I'm certain they had emotions that I will never understand, just as you had when watching Stuart stare face to face with both cancer and death. I also wondered what kind of a legacy I would have left behind had I not won my battle? I believe Stuart wondered what he could leave behind for all of you to remember his legacy by.
What now? Words of encouragement fail me. Sure, his colleagues, friends and peers have sent you many cards, flowers, condolences, called and what not. But me, I only have this letter and I'm certain you will never see it. I'm okay with that, maybe it isn't for you to see. Maybe it is only for me to write and other random people to read as an opportunity to cope with their thoughts and grief. It is something therapeutic for me to write these thoughts, and maybe that is all it is. No problem, at least I hope it isn't a problem. I hope and pray that if somehow this reaches you, you can reflect on the many great times you had with Stuart, and that these questions caused you to find solace in one of the memories.
Again, thank you for sharing Stuart with us. Know, that if he never impacted anyone through anything other than his battle with cancer, know that he has encouraged thousands with his attitude and his never give up spirit over the years of fighting this horrible illness. Know that my life is forever impacted by how he continually stared at cancer, spit in it's face and told it to kiss off.
Sincerely and God Bless,
Aaron C Casey
Average Joe America