In February, I wrote a blog about the shootings in Kalamazoo, my hometown. On June 7th, my town suffered another major tragedy. A group of bicyclists, called, “The Chain Gang,” were struck by a man driving a truck. Nine people were injured, and five of them were killed at the scene. One of them, Debbie Bradley, was my mother’s friend. One of my friends lost two dear friends. I know one of the first responders. Although I didn’t know them personally, as it happens so often in our town, we are all interconnected somehow; and we are all grieving. I have been numb, in shock. I haven’t written about it, because I have been so upset. Then, the tragedy in Orlando. That hit me hard, as well. I cannot imagine what that was like for anyone involved! Horrific. How does this happen to anyone-these people were just out to have fun, and then to be shot and killed?!? This happens all over the world, every day. Innocent people hurt. No warning, just living their lives, unaware that their worlds are about to change forever.
The cyclists were obeying traffic laws, and out for fun and some exercise. The driver was acting erratically, and was just charged with driving under the influence. A large group of cyclists did a silent ride through downtown, and Lance Armstrong came to Kalamazoo to finish the original ride The Chain Gang never finished, due to the tragedy. I cannot tell you how much that meant, and it is a huge part of the healing process. Thank you, Lance. Kalamazoo appreciates you!
I cannot tell you how this has affected me. I have been crying, depressed, overwhelmed, and hopeless. Our town has been struggling as it is, and this is just a double whammy. My heart just aches, and it is so hard to stay hopeful and cheerful. It has put me in a blue mood for weeks. I am just now starting to feel like there are rays of hope, moments where it is okay to go on and to keep living, when there is so much sadness in the world.
Our town is not free of crime, but this is so hard to understand. Why did this happen? How can anyone feel happy and hopeful? When it is going to feel normal? Some children were asking me some questions, and I tried to answer them as well as I could; but how do I answer them, when I don’t know the answers myself?
What I do know is that life should never be taken for granted, treated lightly, or wasted. Please be kind to one another. Blessings, Mary