I am not even sure how to begin this post. I have so many strange feelings and thoughts all swimming around, and I am at a complete loss as to how to express all of these things. I do, however, feel that if I don't attempt to find a way, the weight of all of these things may crush me. It seems that every day for the last week or so has brought to our family word of a different tragedy. None of these tragedies were with people that I am close to or have regular contact with, and yet each one has struck me with great force. I'm not sure why- but I can't seem to suppress the sadness that each event introduced to me. Two bits of news in particular have been especially shocking.
The first of these was the news that Ross's uncle had committed suicide. I don't have all the details, and the ones I did get were fairly vague. Syd was a troubled man who had just had a major life change, and he was too unstable to be able to face the new stage in his life. He left behind a wife and children who will miss him terribly.
The other most startling news was that Paul Lemen, my high school band director and friend, lost his father yesterday. He was murdered. He was helping his daughter repair some damaged flooring when the house was broken into. He was shot and a circular saw he was using was stolen. He was 69 years old, and left behind 4 grown children, and a wife- all of who are devastated by this shocking event.
There have been other sad reports- but those are the two that have struck deep chords in my heart. I have had a heavy and pained feeling all week about it. The strange thing is that I met both men once in my life. I was not close to either of them, and would never have been able to recognize them off the street.
Syd was present at my temple sealing to Ross. He was a sweet man who was teary eyed as he gave me the tightest embrace of anyone on Ross's side of the family. I met Gordon Lemen when Paul married his wife Debbie. I found him to be the source of Paul's sense of humor. He was a nice man with kind eyes, and a visible heart of gold.
Once. I met these men once. And yet, their deaths are so tragic to me. I feel blown away. I can't put my finger on just why, but I have some ideas. First of all- I feel a little bit guilty. How often do I hear stories like these? How often do I watch television programs centered around events just like these. How many times have I flipped by the stories of homicides to find the movie listings, the comics, or the latest celebrity gossip? Why is it that these stories of ended lives don't touch me until they are connected in some way to me? How have I come to be so apathetic? There were comments made about both events that showed me this plague of apathy is widespread. I have been shocked, dissappointed, and offended by some people who see these events as inconvenient, inappropriate subject matter, or grossly overexagerated.
The other thing that weighs on me is the incredible loss the families of these men must be feeling. As I type here through tears in my eyes, I find it hard to even begin fathoming how the wives and children of these good men are feeling. If I am taking it this hard- I can not even imagine how these people are feeling. Their lives have just changed forever. Their identies now include a dark and awful piece of humanity. They are a member of that unfortunate club of people who had someone they love taken from them by force.
I was able to talk with Paul a little bit tonight with my friend Carrie. I was amazed by him. The sadness in his home was tangible, and yet his strength was apparent. He has suffered a great loss, and his mind is reeling with the disgust and confusion of it all- and yet he is strong. He radiates strength. His main concerns were all for his mother and siblings, who are all dependant on their murdered father and husband. He spoke of the fact that he would now most likely be expected to take charge of all financial details in his mother and sister's lives. The news of this atrocity came in the wake of an injury to his foot requiring surgery, and some major projects for his masters degree. Of anyone I know right now, this man has the right to balk at the pressure and break down. But he hasn't. He is strong. He is faithful. He is an amazing man.
I know this is a strange post on a strange subject. I am sorry to present such a heavy idea. I am not even sure what my purpose in this post was for except to express some of these thoughts and emotions that have been swirling around inside me. I am looking for peace for myself, and praying for strength and comfort to abound in the homes of the real victims of these two horrible tragedies. Please keep them in your prayers.