I’m very sad to relay to you that despite early reports that provided much cause for hope and celebration, all but one miner trapped in the West Virginian mine has been found dead. A grim start to the new year, particularly for the twelve families who, after initially being led to believe that their trapped loved ones were alive, are now having to cope with the worst of losses.

It is the kind of event that you don’t expect to hear about here in the United States; a combination of high expectations and complacency. And yet, it has. Ironically, the mine was under new management, and despite over 200 safety violations last year, was supposedly working very hard to bring safety up to scratch.

But there is something to be learned from this. No I’m not going to go into a political rant about workplace regulations. Instead I want to remind everyone of the new year. Of how we all try and take the new year as an opportunity for a new beginning. Unfortunately, new beginnings are meaningless if you don’t learn from the past, and while none of us can feel the pain of the stricken families, we can all learn at least one thing that I think will do us all good in the new year.

Many of us go to work without even understanding all the inherent risks of doing so. We take each other for granted. We expect our wives and our husbands to go out to work in the morning, and if they’re a little bit late, they’re just doing a bit of overtime. We go about our daily lives and we treat each other like crap because we never stop to realize that we may not ever see each other again.

So I’d like everyone, just once in a while, to remember a dozen loved ones who weren’t doing anything special, just going to work, and never came back. Remember that the next time you find yourself on the brink of getting into a fight over something stupid, or when you leave the dishes in the sink because your husband will get them when he gets home from work, or anything for that matter. Make all the predictions you like, try and come up with all the new years resolutions you like that you know you’ll break in a few days. I can think of no better way to honor the new year by remembering my loved ones, and remembering that my time with them is precious, fragile, and never to be taken for granted.

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