By Kathy Kane
While Facebook may have found its way into our lives for the novelty or maybe to just keep in touch with friends and family, the newest trend indicates it is also helping us with our grieving process.
I met with the Sawyer family after I joined a Facebook group dedicated in memory of their dad, Marty Sawyer.
On July 15, Allie Sawyer, Marty’s 11-year-old daughter was talking with her mom, Lisa, about how many people still comment on all the things they miss about her dad. When he passed away suddenly from a seizure three years ago right before school started, their family and the Trenton hockey community were devastated.
Marty had been a Trenton Hockey Association member for 13 years and was just beginning his third season as president. He was all of his kids’ first hockey coach and some seasons he coached two and three teams.
Allie (and her brothers Jeremy and Kyle) wanted the Facebook page to be a place to remember her father and find out from others who knew him how he impacted their lives, too. She called it Angel Day and shared the link with her family and friends.
Players who were coached by Marty, parents and other coaches have all left touching thoughts for the family.
“Marty loved the little kids,” said Lisa Sawyer. “Even when our children were older, and on other teams, he enjoyed coaching the Tim Bits and Beginners.”
And the players enjoyed his enthusiasm as a coach because he had a nickname or a comment for everyone on the team to make them feel special.
Nichollette Holder said, “I love how you always called me nickelback … And i love u!!! Happy Angel Day Marty!!!!!”
For the past few seasons, Marty’s son Jeremy’s travel hockey team had taped their sticks red in his memory and dedicated each game to the coach. The impact on the team was tremendous and they believe his spirit led them into several winning seasons and a shot at districts last year. The Trenton 99 team also dedicated their win to coach Marty at the first Marty Sawyer Invitational last year.
Summarizing the Facebook page it seems that Marty always had a smile and affirming remark for his own children and the countless others he mentored. This venue really seems to help remember the good and ease the pain of dealing with the sadness alone.
Marty was a jolly good guy who would be proud of his family now and you know he is still fiercely protecting his baby girl who is now a pre-teen, but will always be known as his Ali-Gator.
You can ask to add to the conversation by joining In Memory of Marty Sawyer group on Facebook.