A letter to our very special Watson Calhoun

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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It has been hard to find the words — words to describe our sorrow over the passing of a sweet, brave boy from the Miss-Lou, Watson Calhoun, who won his heavenly victory over cancer last week at the age of four.

In a very short time, Watson captured the hearts of so many, not only here at home but across the country.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the parents and family of Watson. Words of comfort are truly hard to find, but we can easily turn to God’s word from Psalms, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

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In sharing words about Watson, and struggling to find words, I have been inspired to share “A Letter to Watson,” written by a young man from Natchez, Michael Wilson, and shared with me just last week.

Michael, like so many of us, was deeply touched by Watson’s story, and he encouraged me to share these words as my own. But they are too beautiful — and I must give Michael the credit.

“Dear Watson: Though you’re no longer with us, you’re far from gone. There is no doubt in my mind, or my heart, that this message will find it’s way to you.

“I want to thank you for what you’ve done for our community.

“Throughout your journey, you’ve touched the hearts of nearly everyone in the Miss-Lou. We fell in love with your unbreakable spirit.

“But you did more than touch hearts: you opened them.

“As we adults went about our lives, bickering about politics, seeking out new reasons to upset and divide ourselves — something began to happen: A little boy with a smile that could light up the world, did, in-fact, light up ours.

“You unified us. You inspired us. You gave us perspective. You spread hope and love throughout our community during a time when our nation was deeply divided.

“You became an ambassador for love and compassion, you brought people together, and you reminded us what is important in this world.

“In your short time with us you accomplished what the noblest of men spend their entire lives pursuing — you changed our hearts for the better.

“Watson, you are an inspiration, and we can never begin to fully articulate just how much you’ve done for us. We love you, and you’ll always be with us. Now more than ever, because of you, we are all #watsonstrong.”

May we always remember Watson. And may we aspire to have, like him, a childlike faith — and love. Because Natchez Deserves More.

Dan M. Gibson is mayor of Natchez.