Beloved former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie lost both his parents this week on the same day. After his father, who’d been ill, died of a heart attack, his mother suffered a fatal heart attack an hour later. Flutie’s parents were married for 56 years and as he put it eloquently: “They say you can die of a broken heart and I believe it.” Flutie was gracious and generous in sharing the news with his fans on Facebook. He wrote that he would “like to honor my parents for all that they did throughout my and my brothers’ and my sister’s lives. My parents were always there for their children… They were incredible parents and grandparents and my family and I will miss them both.”
Flutie’s Facebook post has already drawn an astonishing 33,000+ comments — a powerful symphony of sympathy from people who are virtual strangers to Flutie. Besides the fact of his celebrity, the main reason for the widespread response seems to be the plainspoken love and simple explanation of what his parents gave him: “the were always there for their children.” All who have experienced that — or its lack — know that power.