For most people, Christmas is a time of happiness and joy, however, this year, due to the sudden and unexpected death of his mother, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston spent the holidays grieving.

When Alston returned to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners fold at the board’s Thursday, Dec. 21 meeting, he gave thanks to all those who had shown their love and support through letters, emails, texts, donations and flowers.

At the Thursday, Dec. 7 meeting, Alston was expected to be reelected for a ninth time to a year-long term as the board’s chairman – and he was.  However, for the first time, Alston, wasn’t there to witness his victory or even to vote for himself, since his mother had died two days prior.

At that meeting it wasn’t clear how she had died, however most county officials and employees did know it was unexpected.  At the December 21 meeting, Alston said his mother had passed away in her sleep.

“Thank you all for the tremendous support of this board in the wake of the passing of my mom,” he said at the televised meeting.  “It’s difficult, but we’re getting through it.”

He also thanked all the county departments that had sent cards and flowers in support, as well as those in the business community who had also reached out to him to share their concern and prayers.

“I really, really, really appreciate that,” he said. “It helped us get through it.  It was unexpected, so it was a shock. She was 87 years old and she lived an excellent life.  She passed that Wednesday morning in her sleep and I always say, if you’re going to go, that’s the way you want to go.”

An emotional Alston added that he knew many others watching understand how it feels.

“I lost my father seven years ago,” he said. “It was hard. I lost my mother. It was hard.  Anyone who has lost a parent knows what it’s like to go through.”